A fisherman searching for yellowfin tuna witnessed an incredible shark feeding frenzy off the coast of Venice, Louisiana, in February. Dillon May recorded a video of the chaotic scene as dozens of sharks churned the sea surface white and filled the air with spray.
May told Storyful that he and his girlfriend, Kaitlyn Dix, were on a friend’s boat 15 miles off Venice when they spotted a big menhaden pod and motored toward it. As the water started to churn, May first thought it was a tuna boil. “Then we saw it was sharks on a bait pod,” May said. “[I’ve] never seen anything like it.”
May said the predators seemed to use the boat to their advantage. “By the time we got there, the sharks had found the pod and pushed them up against the boat to feast on them,” he said.
The video shows the dorsal fins and backs of the sharks slicing the water on all sides of the boat as they cut through the bait ball, slapping the surface with their tails and occasionally bumping the side of the boat. At one point an angler can be heard laughing as he says, “I’m getting soaking wet!”
It’s not immediately clear what species of sharks were involved in the feeding frenzy. Generally, sharks are known for sensing and quickly converging on potential prey from great distances—whether that prey is alive or dead. In 2021, scientists from the Atlantic White Shark Conservancy were able to observe firsthand a large-scale feeding frenzy of great white sharks caused by a humpback whale carcass floating off the coast of Cape Cod. Researchers took advantage of that incident by placing acoustic tracking tags on five of the great whites, including one estimated to be 18 feet long.