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Tuesday, January 22 , 2019, 7:24 am | Fair 53º


Hammerhead Shark Goes After Local Kayaker Near Gaviota State Beach

A local kayaker had a close encounter with an aggressive hammerhead shark this week off the Gaviota Coast while the man’s camera captured the incident.

Local fisherman Mark McCracken wrote in an Instagram post that he was fishing for bonito at Gaviota State Beach on Monday when the hammerhead “started ramming and biting” his kayak.

“I had to hit him over 20 times before he finally gave me some space, but still stalked me a for a half mile all the way back to shore,” McCracken wrote.

“Even after I was on shore, he paced back and forth in about 3 feet of water like he was just waiting for me to come back out.  Pretty bizarre and crazy experience to say the least.”

The sharks may be coming closer to shore as warmer waters, which could be the result of an impending El Niño, bring smaller fish to the area.

Advisories warning people of shark sightings have been issued in recent weeks, including one issued last week for East Beach after a standup paddle boarder spotted a shark more than 200 meters offshore.

Last month, two other sightings were reported off of Campus Point near UC Santa Barbara and Jalama Beach County Park.

On Tuesday, more hammerheads were found in local waters, and local fisherman Cliff Kent reported pulling in two hammerhead sharks while fishing for yellowtail, KEYT reported.

The sharks were sold to the Santa Barbara Fish Market for resale to the public. 

The hammerhead shark sightings are not just a local phenomenon, and have been seen up and down the Southern California Coastline, including by kayakers off of La Jolla and Malibu.

Noozhawk staff writer Lara Cooper can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

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