SOUTH PADRE ISLAND, Texas - Six and seven foot sharks are migrating through the waters of South Padre Island.
News Center 23 met with a local professional shark fisherman, David Woods, to learn more about the apex predators.
“Stay away from the business at the end with all the teeth,” Woods said while chuckling.
He said black tip and sand bar sharks are the major species in the spring migration, “they are headed towards Galveston and Louisiana into warmer waters from the summer.”
He said most of the sharks are “generally not aggressive.” He caught large sharks during the last week of February less than 100 yards from the shore.
“Do not swim where there's feeding fish, [or] around the jetties… There’s large sharks in the jetties, I wouldn't swim at night or in remote locations,” Woods said.
Sharks typically bite humans because they mistake them for fish. While sharks generally pose no danger to swimmers, Woods said to get out of the water if you see one.
“I've only heard of a handful of bites here at South Padre Island and it's usually been fisherman,” he said. Stingrays, however, are the sea creatures that beach goers should beware of, “I think they cause the most number of emergency room visits from the beach here, and the most severe injuries.”
Woods said people and stingrays occupy the same location, “we have multiple species the two that have dangerous barbs are the Atlantic stingray and the southern stingray.” The southern stingray can weigh 70 or 80 pounds and can be the size of the hood of the truck.
Woods said sharks maintain a balance in the ecosystem at South Padre Island, and without sharks, there would be less fish and more stingrays. To prevent getting stung by a stingray, Woods said to shuffle your feet in the water.