An angler in Florida landed this 1 in 100 million catch after a brutal fight

Jun 17, 2024

The waters off Florida are home to some of the most exotic fish in the country.

Sometimes it is better to be lucky than good when getting a rare catch.

And an angler in Florida landed this 1 in 100 million catch after a brutal fight.

Rare shark caught in waters of Florida

An angler in Florida caught one of the rarest sharks in the world with an unusual condition.

Jack Appleton landed what he called his “coolest shark to date” near Captiva Island in the Gulf of Mexico, roughly 30 miles west of Cape Coral, Florida.

He caught a lemon shark with piebaldism which gave it a unique appearance.

The shark’s body is nearly entirely white with speckles of gray.

Appleton said that he caught the rare lemon shark while he was fishing for bull sharks.

“Incredibly rare lemon shark with a genetic condition known as piebaldism, accidentally came across this beauty while fishing for some bulls,” Appleton wrote on social media. “She had been tagged recently, so I took down her tag number and recorded measurements to send into [the] NOAA.”

Seen in the video, Appleton has the shark on a dock where it lunges at him several times while thrashing around before he tosses it back into the ocean.

Lemon sharks are protected under Florida law and must be returned to the water as soon as possible. 

Shark called a 1 in 100 million find

Piebaldism is an extremely rare condition in sharks.

It is a rare genetic disorder that causes a lack of melanocytes, melanin forming cells, that turn part of an animal’s body white.

Piebaldism is similar to albinism.

It is virtually unheard of in sharks.

Fishing social media personality Rob Chapman put the odds of seeing a piebald shark as almost impossible.

“This (piebald or leucistic) shark is officially [one] in 100 million,” Chapman wrote on social media.

Chapman noted that the piebald lemon shark had been tagged by researchers, so it had been caught before.

“This lemon shark was caught and released. Again and again and again and again over several years,” Chapman stated.

Chapman claimed that “there’s only been two previously recorded versions of a piebald shark EVER.”

A group of scuba divers in Honduras encountered a nurse shark with piebaldism in March 2022.

Piebaldism is thought to be so rare in animals because it causes them to lose the ability to camouflage themselves making them more vulnerable to predators. 

Appleton, who runs land-based shark fishing charters called the shark “God’s artwork” and noted it was the rarest catch of his career.

“You spend enough time with bait in the water something cool is bound to happen,” Appleton said. “There’s a lot of crazy creatures in the ocean. I’m grateful I got to see this one.”

A random day of fishing in Florida resulted in Jack Appleton catching one of the rarest sharks in the world. 


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