Angler hauls in bull shark from Calliope River

An unsuspecting fisherman hauled this juvenile shark from the Calliope River on December 28.
An unsuspecting fisherman hauled this juvenile shark from the Calliope River on December 28. Contributed

REELING in a juvenile bull shark from the Calliope River might raise a few eyebrows, but according to shark expert Colin Stadderd, the sharks are probably more common in local waterways than we realise.

The fisherman who caught the shark was hoping for a mangrove jack or even a decent barra when he cast a line in over the Christmas break.

But what he reeled in was a little more ferocious.

"It wasn't what I was expecting to see," he said.

"I saw its head pop out of the water and I thought, 'Hang on, what do I have here?'

"It must have been hanging around for a while because we were fishing for about two hours and kept getting bitten off."

The angler was using an unconventional bait just after lunch when he felt a mammoth tug at the end of his line.

"Fish will eat about anything but the shark loved a little bit of cabanossi," he laughed.

"There's no way I'd go swimming in there."

Although the fish was caught 16km from the mouth of the river, Mr Stadderd said the migration upstream was common, particularly for the bull shark.

The bull shark is also referred to as a river whaler or a freshwater whaler, and swims upstream to seek protected areas to breed.

"Bull sharks are quite prominent in both fresh and saltwater systems for most of the northern half of Australia," Mr Stadderd said.

"While many people would have no idea, bull sharks are one of the more common species humans share the water with."

Fisheries Queensland permits a possession limit of one for most shark species.

Grey nurses, great whites, sawfish, manta rays and speartooth sharks are the exception.

Bull sharks:

  • Size: 55cm to at least 340cm
  • Distribution: Inshore, including in estuaries and rivers, and offshore
  • Other names: River whaler, freshwater whaler, Swan River whaler, Zambezi shark

Topics:  bull shark calliope river fishing outdoor-living

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