Angry shark bites captain after being pulled aboard charter boat off Outer Banks

The moment Rick Caton says he was bitten by a shark off the Outer Banks this week. He needed stitches.
The moment Rick Caton says he was bitten by a shark off the Outer Banks this week. He needed stitches. Facebook screenshot

A chaotic video posted to Facebook this week proves Outer Banks sharks are still dangerous even out of the water.

Charter boat Capt. Rick Caton learned that Tuesday, when he pulled a shark aboard his boat off Cape Hatteras, only to watch it instantly clamp down on his calf.

The video captures the moment vividly, showing the stoic Caton going from seasoned angler to screaming bite victim in a split second. “It got me, it got me,” he screams. “Get me a knife. Get me a knife.”

Four men are seen scrambling to help, and one quickly finds a knife. Caton then uses it to stab the flopping shark.

That distracted the predator just long enough to get his leg free. However, Caton is then heard screaming yet again, when a seasoned sailor aboard hands him a bottle of Clorox bleach to pour over the bleeding wound.

“If I had had a gun I would have shot him,” Caton said in response to ongoing ribbing on Facebook. “This is what NOT to do when gaffing a shark...The Clorox was the right thing to do.”

Photos on Facebook reveal Caton went to a clinic... with the wound wrapped in heavy duty Gorilla tape. Close ups of the wound show teeth marks, but no missing flesh.

Caton got seven stitches and was out on the water the next day, according to the Virginian-Pilot.

He did not say what type of shark bit him, but “Blacktip and Spinner Sharks were all over the area,” he told the web site Free Agent Sportfishing. Reporter Sam Walker with OBX Today news site says it was “five-foot-long blacktip.”

“I was pushing its head against the corner (of the boat) so it couldn’t shake,” Caton told the Virginian-Pilot. “He had his mouth all around my leg, and that probably was good because he would have taken a big chunk out of me.”

In something of a reversal, Caton told the Charlotte Observer the shark was later “eaten.”

He appears to have kept his sense of humor about the bite, even sharing photos on Facebook of a coastal store that had a “Shark Week Special” on Clorox, advertising it as “excellent for cleaning Shark Bite wounds too!”

There have been three confirmed shark bites off North Carolina this year, including one that cost a teenager a leg and some fingers. All the victims survived the bites.

Related stories from Charlotte Observer

Mark Price has been a reporter for The Charlotte Observer since 1991, covering beats including schools, crime, immigration, the LGBTQ issues, homelessness and nonprofits. He graduated from the University of Memphis with majors in journalism and art history, and a minor in geology.