It seemed like a plot from the “Jaws” movies last weekend along the North Carolina coast.
A large great white shark was swimming through the inshore waters of Pamlico Sound near popular tourist sites.
The Ocearch Shark Tracking Program revealed in a bulletin Sunday that Katherine, a 14-foot, 2,300-pound great white, pinged her location via satellite from inside the sound southwest of Oregon Inlet at 8:45 Friday night. The next ping came at 11 a.m. Saturday near the mouth of the Pamlico River, southeast of Belhaven, one of the western-most points in the sound.
Later Saturday afternoon Katherine, originally tagged in 2013 and one of Ocearch’s most famous participants, was back in the ocean near Hatteras Island. She had spent 18 hours in the sound, which has a deep point of 26 feet but much of which is only 15 feet deep with very shallow flats along the periphery.
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In summertime, the sound attracts anglers by the hundreds, sailing enthusiasts, wind-boarders, swimmers and others seeking fun on the water. It would be very disconcerting – and probably dangerous – if a great white entered the sound in warm weather.
The Ocearch statement speculates that based on her past, the great shark will continue southward, “cruising along the Florida coast until spring.”
Those interested can trace Katherine’s movements on the Ocearch Shark Tracker website. Tom Higgins
Winter fishing surges at Fontana Lake
During past winters, the expansive marina operated by Fontana Village Resort on Fontana Lake in the Great Smoky Mountains usually looked like a ghost facility.
No one was around, especially anglers.
That has changed. This winter quite a few people are fishing, especially on weekends.
“Some Saturdays and Sundays we’ll have 20 to 25 boats launched at our ramp,” says Ronnie Crisp, the marina manager.
It’s because the lake’s smallmouth and spotted bass continue to strike and be caught in good numbers.
“The action hasn’t slowed down a bit from the fall,” Crisp said this week. “In fact, it may have gotten better. I’ve had several fellows tell me they caught and released limits. As usual when fish are biting, the word has spread, and several fishermen are coming to try their luck despite the cold weather.”
The fish are hitting live shiners, small crankbaits, skirted spinnerbaits and soft plastic lures cast to the shoreline and retrieved out to a depth of about 10 feet. T.H.
Catches of the week
• A 30-pound blackfin tuna off Hatteras Village by Tim Hagerich of Hatteras.
• Limits of stripers and hybrids, plus plentiful white perch, at Lake Norman by David Club of Mooresville. He released all but a few perch for the table. The fish struck trolled Alabama rigs and umbrella rigs.
• Four stripers weighing up to 9 pounds and two hybrids in 70 minutes of fishing at Lake Norman by Mac Byrum of Denver, N.C. He caught the fish drifting with live baits around the periphery of where gulls were diving to feed on shad chased to the surface by the game fish. Byrum released all six fish.