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Big catch on NC coast also has a big bite

Posted June 28, 2015
Updated June 29, 2015

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— Tommy and Jessica Montagna were concerned about shark attacks before visiting the Outer Banks from Freehold, N.J.

“We were trying to decide whether or not we were even going to let the kids in the water,” Jessica Montagna said. “But then the more we thought about it, we thought 'God, what are the chances of somebody being hurt by a shark or what are the chances that there are sharks swimming that close to shore?’”

The Montagnas were at Carova Beach on Friday when Tommy Montagna noticed two men who were fishing near them struggling with a big catch.

“I grabbed my friend Garrett and said 'What do you think,” he said. “’You think he's got something big on there?' We were unsure.”

The catch turned out to be a shark, which brought Jessica Montagna to tears.

“They were boogie boarding all week and we had no idea that something so big and so deadly would be swimming right around us,” she said.

Six reported shark attacks have occurred on the North Carolina coast so far this year. The most serious injuries were suffered by a 12-year-old girl and a 16-year-old boy, each bitten June 14 about an hour apart off the coast of Oak Island. Each had an arm amputated.

The men took a few pictures with the shark at Canova Beach, then released it into the water.

No injuries were reported.

Before the big catch, the men caught smaller sharks throughout the day, the Montagnas said.

While visiting the North Carolina coast is a tradition the Montagnas will continue, their future trips will involve a little more caution.

“I would go back…I might make sure (the children) stay in the pool area,” Jessica Montagna said.


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  • Eddie Brock Jun 29, 2015
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    Boo hoo! A fish in its natural habitat? How tragic!

  • Jacob Smith Jun 29, 2015
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    I certainly agree as well - as I remarked in the last shark attacks - sharks live in the ocean, bears live in the woods - it's their home too and man is not necessarily the "top of the food chain". If you can't live with the risk - stay out of the woods.

  • Jim Buchanan Jun 29, 2015
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    I totally agree! Besides, these two were fishing. What do you expect to be caught? Bream?...LOL!

  • Dorinda Hayes Jun 29, 2015
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    Good grief, its the ocean. Its their home. How can you be so surprised they are there. Just swim in the swimming pool. That is their home. I don't understand her being brought to tears to know the shark was out there. Yes, there are sharks in the ocean

  • Sarcoi Dosis Jun 29, 2015
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    Melanie, Sharks bite pretty much all bait. In fact, they often attack fish while fisherman are bringing in their catch. Sure, there are people that fish for Sharks, but most are Accidental catches.
    I suspect that it's all the fish heads and carcases that are dumped from piers that attract the Sharks. Either prevent people from swimming by piers, or find a better way to dispose of the fish carcases.

  • Barrett Powell Jun 29, 2015
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    That is a Sand Tiger or Nurse Shark. Read more about it here.


  • Raleigh Rose Jun 29, 2015
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    Newsflash-there are sharks in the ocean. It's like going into the jungle, or the woods. There are things out there, bigger than you, that can eat you.

  • Lisa Marie Fields Jun 29, 2015
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    Most of the time people that are surf fishing are not "shark fishing", they are trying to catch fish not sharks. I know as an avid fishing person I hate to see a shark on the end of my line, I want something to take home to eat! Yes more bait in the water means more fish which means more sharks.

  • Melanie Lane Jun 29, 2015
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    stop shark fishing at the coast - take charters out but fishing at the coast causes them to come up and people to be bit

  • Ben Sanders Jun 29, 2015
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    If they're going to be that ignorant (concerned about sharks, yet swimming near a fishing pier; as well as not knowing which sharks are safe or dangerous), yes, they can stay home. Instead they are going home telling everyone that there are deadly sharks in NC's waters, which I'm sure will help get more tourists to the OBX.