Picture the scene - you’re enjoying a sunny swim in the sea when you catch a glimpse of a shark-shaped silhouette in the water near you.
While the idea of swimming with sharks is terrifying for most, this type of shark - being found in abundance in the seas around the Skegness area - is virtually harmless.
Called a ‘smooth-hound’, this shark species can grow up to 159cm in length. But with one of its alternative names being ‘Gummy Shark’ - it certainly can’t bite your leg off - and prefers to snack on custaceans and molluscs instead.
The sight of one of these sharks caused ‘panic’ around Skegness in 2016 after a beachgoer spotted one and assumed it was a young version of a much bigger shark.
But instead of ferrocious ‘Jaws’-like teeth, this shark just has strong boney plates in its mouth - suitable for crushing small shelled creatures.
One local group which is particularly familiar with the fish is Skegness Pier Angling Club (SPAC) who caught this 12lb 5oz smooth-hound at Moggs Eye, Huttoft, last week.
Chas Tibble, from SPAC, said: “Our SPAC record for this fish is 19lb, which is alot bigger than the one in this photo. I ran a match at Marsh Yard (Moggs Eye) on Sunday and there were 134 hounds caught between the 19 anglers.”
He added: “There are hundreds of these small sharks being caught off local beaches at the moment.”
The small sharks are more common around the south and west coasts of England, but have been increasing in numbers on the east coast. Although not eaten in the UK, they are regularly on the menu in the Mediterranean and Africa - and are listed as a ‘vulnerable’ species globally.
All those caught at Moggs Eye by SPAC were safely returned to the water.