Snagged this guy in the Port Royal Sound off the coast of Hilton Head Island, South Carolina last week. At first I thought it might be a bull shark but the dorsal profile doesn't really seem to match. The captain on the boat estimated it to be about 6 feet in length and weight 250 pounds. It broke off the leader just as we got it to side so I do not have any better pictures than this one.

To me the key characteristics are the large round dorsal fin, the broad round pectoral fins, light gray/sandy color.

Any thoughts on what species this may be?

shark to be identified at surface of water

2 Answers 2


Its not the right color for a Oceanic white tip they have a barownish color to them and they are open water guys they stay way out there in the ocean and their fins are rounded with distinct white tips.

Reminds me of a sandbar shark... The Black tip is a reef shark and the white tip looks much different if I had to guess I would say sandbar shark.

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This is a picture of a sandbar shark or you can look it up on google its for sure a sandbar shark


I'm going to go with Blacktip shark (Carcharhinus limbatus). I see that there are no black tips on this one, but they can fade as adults.

Black tipped sharks have long fins with a more triangular shape to them than other sharks, they also have small second dorsal fins, and the first dorsal fin starts just over or behind the pectoral fins.

See here for more information and descriptive pictures.

  • Thanks! I used that link to compare to some other species as well. What do you think about an Oceanic Whitetip (Carcharhinus longimanus)? Could their tips fade as well? I think the fin shape matches better than the Blacktip.
    – Skooba
    Commented May 11, 2021 at 18:50
  • @Skooba could well be a whitetip, but I am definitely no shark expert. I am sure someone on here is though, so I would wait a while longer to see what responses you get.
    – bob1
    Commented May 11, 2021 at 20:27

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