Shark nabs fisherman’s striper off Chilmark

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There was nothing left of this striper but its head after a shark got ahold of it.

A shark ate a hooked striper, down to the head, at about 2:30 pm Sunday as the fish was being reeled in out in Vineyard Sound between Menemsha and Quicks Hole, according to Steve May, a seasonal Vineyard Haven resident. May said he was “drifting on a big school of stripers” in a 36-foot Chesapeake-style boat when a striper took his a lure. Then the shark came.

“It was startling when it happened,” he said. “It followed the fish to the boat — grabbed the fish about six feet from the boat.”

May said the shark “moved like a mako” but was heftier, like a brown or white shark. He described the shark as “quite large,” and said it lingered by his boat a few minutes after snacking on the striper. Because of glare on the water, May said, he could not capture a clear image of the shark, only the fishhead it left behind.

May said while he has experienced shark hits on hooked fish in Florida, where he lives most of the year, he’s never witnessed such an event in New England. He also said he was surprised it occurred in Vineyard Sound, as opposed to Nantucket Sound, because it’s “more inshore than offshore.”