TARPON SPRINGS — A man bitten by a lemon shark while removing a hook from it Sunday morning suffered a deep gash in his leg and was airlifted by the Coast Guard from his commercial fishing vessel.
The Coast Guard in St. Petersburg got a call about 8:45 a.m. from the 40-foot vessel Miss Irene, which was about 50 miles northwest of Tarpon Springs, saying that crew member Mike Seymore was bitten in the left leg.
"I got the shark in the boat and he jumped one way, I jumped another and he grabbed my leg," Seymore, 49, said Sunday afternoon. "It was about a 4-foot lemon shark. It's a pretty deep bite and there will be at least 10 staples."
Using an MH-60 Jayhawk rescue helicopter, the Coast Guard hoisted Seymore aboard and transferred him to Tampa General Hospital.
Seymore said he was fishing for grouper but often encounters sharks.
"We cut them loose because we like to get the hooks back, but this one got me," Seymore said from the emergency room. "He let go eventually, after he ripped a hole in my leg. It's a pretty big gash, 6 inches long, but it's wide open right now."
Seymore, of Spring Hill, has been commercial fishing for about 20 years. He said he had been bitten once before by a shark while fishing, but "not this bad." Seymore and another crew member were in the fourth day of a 10-day trip.
"I'm hoping to get this fixed up and find a boat up in Tarpon Springs to get me back out there and finish my trip," Seymore said. "The fishing was doing pretty good. I need to try and get this stapled up and see if I can get back out there and help him out. It's hard out there for one person."
Demorris A. Lee can be reached email@example.com or (727) 445-4174.