There Be Whale Sharks Here



While drought-stricken California is losing hope this year’s El Niño will being badly-needed rain, the warmer Pacific Ocean water temperatures has attracted plenty of nontraditional fish species further north than usual.

Near Catalina Island, a fishing boat spotted a whale shark, which is almost never seen that far north from its usual warmer waters in the Pacific.

From Phil Friedman Outdoors, which includes video of the massive but mellow creature:

Captain Ryan Gengler of the Triton from Long Beach Sportfishing could not believe his eyes when the mammoth creature appeared. “We were about 7 miles east of the east end of Catalina Island when I saw it,” said Gengler. “I could not believe my eyes.”

The whale shark seemed very curious swimming around the fishing vessel and bumping into it several times. “He was curious, almost playful,” said Gengler. “When he bumped into us, you could feel the boat shake.”

Ryan and Brad Schlerf were on board hoping to catch some yellowfin tuna in one of the most prolific tuna seasons in decades in Southern California. Instead, they saw something that few people have ever witnessed; a whale shark in Southern California. “It was huge; I couldn’t believe what we were seeing,” said Ryan Schlerf. “It was as if we had been transported to another world,” said his brother Brad. “I will never, ever forget this day.”

The two brothers said it was a bit unnerving when the peaceful creature bumped in to the boat. “It bumped in to us two times; you could feel the whole boat shutter,” said Brad Schlerf. “The Captain wanted to leave but he was being very careful not to hurt the whale shark saying he wanted to be sure it wasn’t under the boat when he started up and took off,” said Ryan Schlerf.