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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have been interested in hearing about shark catches/sightings in LI Sound. As many of us know, sand tiger sharks are a fairly common species found in the Sound, as are dogfish...both the smooth and spiny varieties. I have read that the sand sharks can reach lengths of 10 feet in the water of the Sound and that they rank number 4 in unprovoked attacks worldwide(LI Sound newsletter). It is also fairly common knowledge that brown sharks are resident to the Sound. I was surprised to learn that blue, mako, thresher and hammerheads make an occassional appearance in the more easterly regions of the Sound. I'd enjoy hearing any personal experiences! While I think us waders and boaters have more to fear from getting nailed by a bluefish, sharks in the Sound are quite intriguing to me. I often think that if bluefish ever reached 100 pounds no one would ever be able to go in the water!!!
 

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I was fishing on the North Shore catching small bluefish. I saw something out of the corner of my eye. I looked in the direction of what I thought I saw, and there it was, about thirty feet in front of me, the fin. It looked like a porpoise to me, but I kept watching, and it never resurfaced. Needless to say, I didn't go swimming that night!:)
 

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We touch upon this topic at least once a year. I will try to post links to the other discussions and bring them back to the frontline. Not sure where you are getting your info from but "sharks can reach lengths of 10 feet in the water of the Sound"??

Not in the past forty or fifty years...

The Long Island Sound we know and love today is not and will probably never be the same healthy ecosystem that once sustained an occasional shark population.
 

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This is a reprint of a post I made on this subject in the past;

There are two major problems for sharks in the sound (and very big problems)...

SALINITY and HYPOXIA

Like it or not, the Sound is actually one big estuary. Most people on Long Island don't realize the amount of freshwater that enters the Sound because all the major rivers are on the CT side. As a matter of fact, most New Yorkers can't even name the major rivers that feed the Long Island Sound.

The millions of gallons of fresh water that enter the Sound each and every day cause two problems for pelagics;

The most obvious is the decrease in salinity. The Atlantic Ocean averages just under 35% salinity. However, even in the Easternmost part of the Sound closest to the ocean where the Sound's salinity levels are the highest, the water is still only around 30% brine. In the Western Sound the levels are around 22%. As far East as Miller Place the salinity is still less than 25%.

On the CT side near and around the mouths of the rivers the levels are as low as 15%.

Yes, there are some species of sharks such as Bull Sharks, Sand Tigers, Brown Sharks, etc... that can survive without the salinity of the ocean. But for the most part, our pelagic sharks cannot handle the "Green" water.

The other problem with the Sound is Hypoxia (decreased levels of disolved oxygen). Even without a full-blown "brown tide", the Sound often suffers from hypoxia as a result of increased nitrogen levels from runoff that is swept into the sound through the rivers.

I agree that the healthy bait population here in the Sound is more than capable of supporting an even healthier shark population. From time to time many anglers attempt to release a smooth dogfish only to discover that it is actually a small brown shark (true sand shark) with a full mouth of sharp teeth. Other anglers are lucky enough to encounter baby sand tigers (the sharks you often see at large aquariums with mako-like teeth). These fish have been and always will be residents of the sound along with their counterparts the smooth dogfish, the skates and the RAYS.

Any hopes or dreams of someday battling blue sharks, hammerheads, threshers & makos in the deep canyons of the Sound are highly unlikely to ever come true. I suspect that many of the stories of monster fish that spool large reels are infact very large 100+ lb stingrays that are drawn to the Sound every year by the lobster population (one of their favorite foods).

By the way, as healthy as you might think the bait population is today in the Sound, it is only a small fraction of what it once was. Oldtimers here can tell you stories about the massive Boston Mackeral schools that moved through here twice a year. They can also tell you about the miles of herring and shad schools that once dominated the Sound.

Bring back those populations of fish and then we might see some real shark action
 

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I'm one of those oldtimers who clearly remember the massive schools of macs that would invade L.I.Sound, usually as the flounder (what are they?) were waning in May. Very frequently, there were large schools of porpoises that would roam the Sound throughout the warm Summer months. I was often inquisitive (35 - 40 years ago) like soundflyguy, and asked the old salts about the possibility of other sharks besides the ever-present sandies. I was told there were some brown sharks. I also recall that there was a shark scare near Oyster Bay area in the mid-'70's. Some Montauk charter captain friends of mine were considering fishing for them. My honest opinion was that it was a whole bunch of post "Jaws" hype.
Regarding fins, it's most likely the fin sightings are those belonging to ocean sun fish (mola molas). I have senn quite a few of those while fishing the L.I.Sound through the years. Most often, fishermen who only fish the inshore ares will mistake them for sharks. If the fin is flapping from side to side and not cutting through the H2O, for sure it is a sunfish.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Why thank you for those two very comprehensive responses...they are much appreciated. The source for my comments is the, "Long Island Sound Study". It did indicate that the "10 foot sand tiger" was an occurrence that took place around 1960. The report also referenced one unprovoked attack that occurred around that time. But you are right, time and timde and human intervention have altered the Sound in ways that are only now beginning to be rectified. AS far as "pelagics"- all inclusive term- we are seeing a significant return of false albacore and bonito in the waters of the Sound...our most prominent pelagic, seasonal visitors. Yes, it is true that they are appearing in areas where the hypoxia is at a minimum but, nonetheless, they have made a big return and in quite significant numbers. As a matter of fact, in 2003 the Sound had the single biggest appearance of Atlantic Bonito(Sarda Sarda) on the entire northeast coast, and that includes Montauk! Reason...an incredible showing of large spearing that stayed put for an extended period due to perfect environmental conditions. I'm, straying from the topic a bit but none of what has been done to the waters of the Sound can't be undone! Back to the sharks...I have been fishing the Sound since the early 70s and have only personally witnessed sand and small brown sharks. I have seen the "mola mola" mid-sound and that was a great experience.
I guess the real sign of the "old times" would be the return of the dolphin. But I don't think in my lifetime.
By the way, 90% of the freshwater that enters the Sound does come from CT and in answer to your question the rivers are the Connecticut, the Housatonic and the Thames. I give a digital slide presentation on fly fishing LI Sound and setting the stage with the facts about the estuary is an important element! Thanks again for the input.
 

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quote:
I'm, straying from the topic a bit but none of what has been done to the waters of the Sound can't be undone!
I agree. And glad to hear that there are Long Islanders out there who can name the three major rivers.

Fixing the waters of the Long Island Sound starts with the local villages and towns along its coast. Street and sewer runoff is still a major problem.

Take the Nissequogue river in front of my house for instance. The sediment deposits from the runoff have been steadily growing the sandbars and decreasing the overall depths of this once prominent river. Will the DEC and Army Corps of Engineers ever even consider dredging the river to bring it back to where it once was???
 

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Sharks in the Sound

When I moved to Stony Brook area 25 years ago, I was an active SCUBA diver. Though I have never personally seen sharks while diving, two long-time divers told me of separate encounters with relatively large (approx 8-ft) sharks in close proximity to the beach -- one was just outside of the Port Jeff Harbor inlet, and the other was in Smithtown Bay...along the beach south of Crane Neck point.
 

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I've been living in Huntington since '94 and have heard from Baymen in HH of Brown Sharks in Lloyd Harbor. I remember reading of Duskies caught of Eatons in the mid 80's. That species has taken a real hit around the Island. They use to be the most frequent "Big Shark" off Montauk. No more. We also had a 40' Fin Back Whale just outside HH in '97? Photos made the cover of The Long Islander. The old Mill Dam deli had photos from the 50's of a local baymen who took three brown sharks to 300lbs just off Duck Island.
 

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Browns were occaisionally sited in Oyster Bay. (West Harbor area). If I remember right it was in the late 70's early 80's. It was also claimed that it was a breeding area. I doubt there were Dusky's in the sound. They are often misidentified Browns.
 

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i hate to admit it but i guess at 58 i'm considered an old timer.i remember sitting on top of the cliffs off Rocky Point smoking cigarretes and watching very large ,i means miles long ,herds of porpoise go by.they were as far as you could see east to west on a clear day.as i recall they were always traveling from the east going west.I ALSO REMEMBER,AS IF IT WERE YESTERDAY,snorkeling with my best buddy, at the time Jerry,he became a marine biologist and a diver with jacque gausteau now a vet in malibu.i remember saying to Jerry that i was going to dive a rock off Haggermans landing in Rocky Point,and spear a blackfish so when i go in set the anchor.well i dove in took my breath went about half way down ,maybe 10-12' when i saw the dorsal fin back of a very large shark.i did not think to ask the shark what type he was but i went against everything i was ever told about encountering a shark.instead of swimming to the bottom and being as quiet as possible i swam like Mark Spitz as fast as i could and made an awful commottion on top of the water yelling shark shark to my friend Jerry who had not set the anchor and made my 15 stroke swim seem like a marathon. when i got in the boat he was laughing his fool 16 year old head off,and i had no proof but was very happy as my first reaction when i saw the shark was to pull the trigger of my little spear gun.well he laughed and laughed ,i felt small until two days letter there appeared a story in the Long Island Press(i told you i was old)of a guy surf fishing some place off Northport and this guy caught from the beach an 8 foot and a 10' Brown shark to which i rested my case.we were two guys that were inseperable with the same interest and love of the long island sound,later when he was on the Calypso he convinced gesteau to bring the boat in and do a story of the L.I.S. wELL HE MUST HAVE COME IN THE DAY AFTER A SEVERE NOTHERLY WIND because when the divers went into the water the visibility was so bad that he immediately lifted the anchors and took off.WHEN YOUR A KID IN THE WATER ALONE WITH A PEA SHOOTER AND ENCOUNTER A SHARK YOU DON'T ASK IT FOR AN IDENTIFICATIOON CARD
 

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Matt,

I specifically remember reading of guys chunking in the Triangle tangling with Duskies from 60-100 lbs. Can't recall the time period.."82-88??)

Perhaps they were browns but it did say duskies and I was familiar with the bread spending summers in Montauk as a kid. Can't always trust what you read, but they are a "near coastal" shark and easily could have swam the sound waters when they were one of the most abundent sharks in our waters. No more.....
 

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Am I an Old Timer ? I'm 45 and remember the huge schools of Mackeral that would arrive in mid April to early May. We used to sneak in the old Navy Fort on the Bronx side and catch one Mackeral after the other one at a time with a small castmaster fishing lure. One day The Daily News took pictures of us because we caught over 300 Mackeral ONE AT A Time. After the Mackeral would leave, we would find them in the Fall all the way till Christmas way back in the bay at Hammonds Marina near the Throggs Neck Bridge. Needless to say the owners of that Marina use to kick us kids out all the time. Sometimes he was in a good mood and let us have fun cathing Mackeral in 35 degree temperatures.

(This post edited by olds442 on 07/30/2005)
 

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mackeral in Long Island Sound

Last time I saw or caught mackeral in Long Island Sound was May, 1982. At that time we caught about 70 fish.
Came out of the Housatonic River and began fishing a couple of miles NE of Stratford Shoals Light, we were about the first boat out there. By the time we went in late morning, the macs were still hitting but the immensity of the school was enormous...hundreds of boats lined up literally for miles around them in a northeast to southwest direction...and have not seen them since....With regards to sharks in the Sound...no doubt, perhaps ten years ago fluking off Point No Point in Stratford, pulled in a fluke only to imagine seeing something big following behind it in the murky water...several days later a 160 lb. brown shark was pulled in by a shore fisherman in the same area...
 
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