Man Grabs Shark's Tail, Shark Bites Back: 'What's the Odds?'

An Australian man was taken to hospital over the weekend after being bitten on the leg by an unidentified species of shark while on a fishing trip with friends.

Jamie Hall, 45, of Darwin in the country's Northern Territory, told local media outlet 9News the bite occurred at a spot known as the Nightcliff Jetty on Saturday afternoon while he was attempting to help an acquaintance pull in a shark.

The man said he was hoping to gift the fish to a friend who uses shark bones to make jewelry. But the captured animal apparently had other ideas.

Hall said the shark snapped back, making contact with his leg after he grabbed its tail.

"It bit me and then I smacked his head against the steel," he told 9News from his hospital bed, while laughing. "Just bloody rude, isn't it?"

It is still unclear what type of shark was responsible. Hall said it appeared to be a bronze color and was more than a meter long. If the man's memory is accurate, it may have been a bronze whaler, a species known to live in Australian waters. According to reference site SharkSider, the whaler, also called a copper shark, has a "ridge right between the dorsal fins which is bronze in color."

Regardless of type, the man told 9News he didn't initially plan to seek medical attention, but did so at the insistence of a friend. He was treated at the Royal Darwin Hospital. Despite his close encounter, Hall claimed he is already planning his next trip to Nightcliff Jetty.

He indicated the chances of not getting bitten again were in his favor. He said: "We get GTs [giant trevally], barra [barramundi] and coral trout—there's generally a good spread of species there. I've caught a swag of shark there before and I've been bitten by one, so you know, what's the odds?"

About 180 species of shark are found in Australia's waters, including the great white, sawfish and whale. "Sharks occur in all habitats around the Australian coast line, however most are found on the continental slope or shelf, primarily on the bottom," the government says.

While most can be legally caught and kept during fishing trips, several species are currently listed as threatened under a conservation law, making them illegal to kill, injure or take. The government says that shark attacks occur "relatively infrequently in Australian waters."

In February, a man was bitten on the arm by a whitetip reef shark while he was spearfishing off the Northern Territory. Karl Waters, 25, told ABC the fish snagged his arm while trying to take his catch. Waters was taken to Royal Darwin Hospital after suffering lacerations.

In November 2018, a similar incident resulted in a 17-year-old suffering "significant injuries." The teenager was bitten on the arm and leg by a reef shark off the coast of Nhulunbuy. Last week, in Hawaii, a woman was left "shaken" after a shark bit the back of her surfboard.

Shark (Stock)
File photo: Shark swimming in the ocean. Jamie Hall, 45, of Darwin, Northern Territory, said the bite occurred at Nightcliff Jetty on Saturday. The type of shark responsible remains unknown. iStock