Rich Fasi was boating in West Grand Traverse Bay, Lake Michigan near Traverse City, Michigan on Wednesday. He saw some tangled fishing equipment floating by and started pulling it from the water:
"I could see a fish down there about three feet down, but the last thing I expected was a shark on the end," Fasi said.
There aren't any witnesses, but Fasi, of Traverse City, said he pulled the roughly 2-foot shark from the bay about 100 yards west of Clinch Park Marina at about 5 p.m. He found the shark in about 25 feet of water, he said. It was dead, but wasn't frozen.
"I could wiggle its tail, pry open its mouth, look at its teeth," he said. "It didn't look like it had any decomposition."
Fasi threw the fish in his freezer and called the Michigan Department of Natural Resources.
It appears that Fasi's catch was a blacktip shark.
Michigan Department of Natural Resources biologist Mark Tonello says that Fasi is likely the victim of a hoax. A saltwater dependent creature so far inland in freshwater sounds like an impossibility:
"We don't believe there was ever a live shark swimming around Grand Traverse Bay ... my guess is somebody caught it out east, put it on ice, brought it back here and decided to have a little fun," he said.
The shark appears to be a juvenile blacktip shark, said George Burgess, director of the Florida Program For Shark Research at the University of Florida. The species ranges from New York south to the Caribbean, said Burgess, who viewed e-mail photos of the fish.
"This isn't the first time we've seen hoaxes like this," he said.
It's also possible the shark was a local resident's pet, Tonello said. The shark wouldn't have lived long if placed in the bay while alive, Tonello said, and would have deteriorated very quickly in the bay's warm water.
See the Traverse City Record-Eagle for the complete story.