NBC Today feature – Georgia teen catches bull shark in freshwater

UPDATE Looks like NBC pulled the video. NBC affiliate WLTZ still has print version of the story up. Check out the comments for some reader opinion on the story.

NBC’s Today ran a feature on Noel Tood, a Georgia teen who recently caught a bull shark (Carcharhinus leucas) measuring over 8′ in length and weighing 368 lbs. While bull sharks are often targeted by shark fishermen, the reason this story seems to be making headlines is due to the fact that the shark was caught in shallow freshwater. (Bull sharks are well-known for their ability to tolerate freshwater, and there are multiple documented cases of the species traveling great distances up rivers.)

Todd told NBC that he spotted two bull sharks in a shallow pool, and quickly grabbed his gear and hooked one of the sharks and dragged it to shore. Todd said that the shark that “got away” was much larger than the one he caught.

The NBC report mentions a theory that bull sharks are following shrimp boats back into the area, which might explain the presence of the species in what might be considered an abnormal location for them.

The Today Show really pulled out all the stops on this report when it comes to shark clich├ęs. The clip has ominous music, multiple scenes from “Jaws,” and plenty of “man-eater” references. A fair amount of footage of a relatively harmless sand tiger shark (Carcharias taurus) also finds its way into the report.


  1. Dave says:

    Unusually large second dorsal fin for a bull shark. Look at 2.00 min and 2.17-18. Nearly as large as the first dorsal. Not typical of bull sharks.

  2. arons says:

    I can’t believe they pulled that in with a hand line. I wonder how many people would have done the same.

    It figures the media tries to scare people with it, and get their attention.

  3. Matt says:

    You’re right, Dave. I thought the same thing, even the first dorsal fin is set farther back on the body than a typical bull, but the shot of the teeth they show are definitely bull. Before seeing that shot, I figured it to possibly be a lemon shark, which is quite unusual that far north.

  4. Dave says:

    @Matt. I thought the same thing about the teeth but I believe they used footage from a previous story of a bull shark in fresh water (a few months ago if I remember right)Where the guy had it displayed in a container or shed of some kind. The two dorsals say lemon shark to me but not enough footage to give any real definite clues, just really unusual to be id’ed as a bull shark.

  5. Alex says:

    Not only is this not a bull shark and actually a lemon, BUT also I’m about 95% sure that dock is salt water and if not def. brackish. Video was pulled from today show already……..So much for media knowing much of anything

  6. Jo says:

    That water is definitely salty or brackish at least, I live nearby. Also the today show got other facts wrong such as “the river flows into the Gulf of. Mexico. ” its definitely flowing into the Atlantic. So it could possibly have been a lemon shark.

  7. Noel T. says:

    Ok Im glad to see everyone taking notice to this Heroic Tail. I’m Noel Todd the one who caught the shark. When the NBC Today show did the interview, we at the Dock, where it took place told them it was Brakish but more on the Salty Side. The deal with them saying Freshwater was them trying to spice the story. It had nothing to do with our end. You realize that everything on T.V. now for some reason has to be juiced up for ratings.

    Now also you are saying its a Lemon Shark I want to know where you learned about sharks, a Bull Shark has Curved teeth not Straight. The shark had Curved Teeth. Though I do get what your saying about it with the fins. Even though another surprising feature plays out, the white of a Bull Shark covers the whole bottom of the shark unlike a Lemon where it is only partial white under the bottom, so we are coming to conclusion; after our own investigation that it may indeed be an inbred Shark meaning it could be half Bull and Half Lemon. But as the Georgia DNR and the Georgia Aquarium said and quote “It Is a Bull Shark”.

    • Paul L says:

      Noel, thanks for the update and clarification. Do you still have video of the shark? Would love to see it!

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