A fisherman on Manhattan Beach Pier hooked two great white sharks Tuesday, one estimated to measure 5-6 feet and the other 7-8 feet.
Both sharks were cut loose after being reeled to the surface and both catches were witnessed by Eric Martin, director of the Roundhouse Marine Studies Lab and Aquarium at the end of the pier.
White sharks are protected off California and landing them is illegal.
While the unnamed angler released both specimens, and may not have broken any laws, he might be perceived by some to be walking a fine line.
"He has steel leaders, and I looked in his bucket and saw that he's using large dead mackerel for bait, so he seems to be fishing for this stuff," Martin said.
These were the fifth and six white shark battles Martin has witnessed from the pier since mid-July. The first incident became tense because the angler was insistent on gaffing and hauling his catch onto the pier. He consented to let Martin cut the line only after a heated argument and a threat to call the police.
There has been a large abundance of market-sized squid in South Bay waters in recent weeks. This could be attracting rays, small sharks and and other prey items preferred by juvenile white sharks.
"It's so weird because I've also seen two swim-bys recently, including one that involved about a 7-footer that ended up about 20 feet from a surfer," Martin said. "The surfer had no idea."
--Image showing second of two white sharks hooked Tuesday on Manhattan Beach Pier is courtesy of Eric Martin