SAN CLEMENTE (CBSLA.com) — San Clemente’s beaches remained off limits to swimmers and surfers Monday after more than two dozen sharks were spotted.
Lifeguards first closed the city’s beaches at about 10:30 a.m. Sunday, after an eight to nine-foot shark was reported off the San Clemente Pier. Another shark was spotted in the same area at 1 p.m.
“I’ve worked here for 40 years and I haven’t seen anything like this at all,” San Clemente Marine safety chief Bill Humphreys said. “When they get eight feet long there diet changes. And their diet changes from eating small fish to eating marine mammals and larger items and that’s when they become more of a danger to humans.” A lot of bait fish is attracting sharks near the San Clemente Pier as well, officials say.
Lifeguards were going to reevaluate the closure, which had been extended to Tuesday after an Orange County sheriff’s helicopter spotted more than two dozen sharks within 25 yards of the beach between Cotton’s Point and Capistrano Beach, some up to 10 feet long.
But then fishermen tussled with a 10- to 12-foot great white shark that tried to steal their bait Monday morning. Scott West said he there when another fishermen got a powerful yank on the line.
“He fought it for about a half hour,” West said. “After about a half hour, it tired out and he was able to cut the wire and saw what it was — a mako or a great white.”
Later in the afternoon a smaller shark was pulled up onto the pier by a fisherman who said it was legal to catch and keep. A drone operator captured video of the catch.
After seeing as many as eight great white sharks off North Beach Monday morning, Matt Hughes says he and his family will be staying out of the water.
“My son is not going in the ocean, probably for most of this summer,” he said.
San Clemente’s beaches were closed in April when a shark bit a woman in the thigh and earlier this month when 15 sharks were observed swimming offshore.
Long Beach has issued shark advisories this month warning swimmers of the sightings of juvenile white sharks, some as long as six feet, near Belmont Shore.
(© Copyright 2017 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. City News Service contributed to this report.)