Unusual visitor: A 10-foot mako shark was located off Treasure Island in about 34 feet of water. The details of the encounter are still a little sketchy, but it was landed last week. Mako sharks are usually considered to be a deep-water species and are not normally found near the shallow water of Tampa Bay, but occasionally during winter they are here. Often during rough winters (like we've had recently) other unusual species are driven inshore. For instance, last year several small whales were found less than 8 miles offshore, and an increased number of whale sharks were reported. And last month a live yellowfin tuna was reportedly caught in a canal.
Perhaps this is because of conditions offshore, or perhaps the shallow water provides some warmth. Several years ago during another cold winter, a mako was reported to have beached itself near St. Pete Beach. I believe there were two sharks and the second was cruising back and forth on the surf line, apparently waiting for the beached companion to return. The brave soul that found the shark helped it back to sea by wading chest-deep into the surf. I don't suggest doing that should you find a mako on the beach, since they are considered quite dangerous and very unpredictable.
Larry Blue charters out of Madeira Beach Marina. He can be reached at CaptainLarryBlue.com or call (727) 871-1058 or (727) 397-3773.