Remember When a Shark Jaw Was Fished Out of a Minnesota River?
It's Shark Week on the Discovery Channel. I haven't ever seen a single minute of the programming, but I know it's a big deal for a lot of people, and I guess in 2020 it's even better because it is something to distract us from the craziness of the year.
The fishy festivities had me thinking back on a story I remember from 2017 where a father and son fishing in the Mississippi river reeled up a shark jaw.
Joe and Joey Piskel were walleye fishing on the Mississippi in northern Minnesota near Grand Rapids and had just reeled in a 21-inch walleye, and thought they had hooked another. What came out of the water was something totally different. A 10-inch-wide shark jawbone broke through the surface of the river much to the fishermen's surprise.
They put it in a bag to preserve it, continued fishing, and then brought it to a nearby Minnesota DNR office the following Monday. Men's Journal reported on it saying:
A fisheries biologist determined the shark jaws were from a sand tiger shark, a saltwater species that had no business in the Mississippi River.
Amen to that. Last I checked sharks don't call Minnesota's fresh water home. Joey Piskel had a theory on how the shark got into the river. He told Twin Cities Pioneer Press he believes someone probably dumped the shark in the waters as the river is easily accessible there with a road nearby.
People sometimes actually raise sharks in their basements or garages, and maybe it got too big and they thought it was more humane to just toss it in the river instead of killing it.
The jaw wasn't believed to be a souvenier from someplace else that got tossed overboard as it still had flesh attached to it. The father and son cleaned it up and mounted it in Joe's auto shop in Grand Rapids.
Happy Shark Week! Also please don't dump your pet sharks in the lakes. Not cool.