Little Ray as Shark Bait
September 2018 by V. R. Duin


Pressed against the hole in the boat,
Little Ray could keep it afloat.
And once the leak began to slow,
The engine could be checked below.
(“Little Ray & Shark Patch Things Up”)

“Little Ray & Shark Patch Things Up” brings a stingray and a shark together for a shark bait adventure with a boating family while nobody is shark fishing.

Color may serve as shark bait. In Hawaii, mainlanders humorously are called “shark bait”, to suggest that pale skin attracts sharks. Sharks have excellent bright light vision. Sharks are not wired by intelligence to be cold and calculating. They strike at what looks like familiar prey. For instance, sharks may be attracted by jewelry or shiny swimming suits that look like fish scales. Fish typically are colored light on the bottom and dark on the top. A boating family became shark bait in “Little Ray & Shark Patch Things Up”, while nobody was shark fishing.

Yellow, white, silver and highly contrasting colors seem to attract sharks. People who fish put a lot of thought into the paint colors on the bottom of their boats. Discussion about which colors or color patterns may attract or repel fish abound online. Sharks and other curious fish may be attracted to reflective metal boat parts. If something tickles their appetite, sharks are likely to take a test bite. Like people and other animals, sharks are known to chew and spit out food. However, this is not a sign of disordered eating in sharks. Their food does not come with labels. They use this system to select preferred foods. Seals are a favorite shark food. Unless you are shark fishing with a spear, it may be wise to avoid black wet suits in areas where these animals live.

Food is shark bait. So as to not become shark bait, it is wise to stay in shallow, clear waters close to shore. Avoid swimming or wading in murky waters. Sharks are known to bite and run. There are no forbidden foods for sharks. However, they seek nutrition with the least amount of effort. For those who want to do shark fishing, shark bait may be bought, netted or fished on a hook and line. Sharks tend to go where food congregates, which may be close to shore. Sharks often hunt at night.

If you cannot see a shark, you might bump into it. This is never a good thing. If the shark cannot see you well enough to distinguish you from its normal prey, it might take a sample bite. A boating family does not want to touch a passing shark from the boat or with the boat. Boaters should be careful when filming sharks. Sharks are known to rip away the cameras and swallow them whole. A hand or arm may go along for the ride. Whether someone is shark fishing or not, the boat may get rammed by a baited shark. A great white shark can punch holes in boats and damage shark cages. Damage made to the boat in “Little Ray & Shark Patch Things Up” is realistic, but the story ends well.

Shark bait comes with the territory. Sharks migrate North in the summer and South in the winter. Anyone who is not shark fishing should reverse this pattern. They are less likely to meet up with a shark and become shark bait. It is unwise to block a shark's travels or to approach a shark. An adult human looms large in the water, so a slow and calm movement aside may deter a shark attack. The combined size of a boating family and their boat may repel a shark.

Sharks prefer easy prey over a huge battle. “Shark bait” also is an expression that indicates someone who is in a vulnerable position. Certainly, Little Ray and the boating family meet this definition in “Little Ray & Shark Patch Things Up”. It is hard for people to truly understand why animals do the things they do in the natural selection process of life. Sharks are not preoccupied with shape, weight or feelings of guilt, remorse and lack of control. However, as in any community, survival is difficult in the wild. Sharks are driven to survive and reproduce.

Shark fishing is not the only way to become shark bait. The members of the boating family in “Little Ray & Shark Patch Things Up” were not shark fishing when a shark was attracted to their boat. The shark in this shark bait adventure may have been lured by activity around the boat. Sharks are opportunistic predators. Unless they can swallow it whole, a shark may maim its prey, then wait until it stops struggling to finish the meal. Sharks may steal fish as they are being reeled in, too.

Sharks are attracted to prey that moves erratically or with a splashing motion. At the end of “Little Ray & Shark Patch Things Up”, Little Ray worried that his leaps and flips and bends might have attracted the shark to his boating family friends. The entertainment certainly took on a different tone after the shark arrived. Fortunately, nobody was eaten. Sharks rarely take on an entire group of people. It is hard for sharks to distinguish the individual parts of a mass.

Sharks may be attracted to boats. Since sharks hang around ledges, holes, sandbars and wrecks, it should come as no surprise that the shark in “Little Ray & Shark Patch Things Up” did not abandon the boat after making a hole in the bottom. Sharks may associate people with their shark bait. Bluefish and mackerel are favored as bait for shark fishing, not stingrays, boats or people. If you see fish leaping and churning out of the water, they may be trying to escape a shark.

Anyone or anything can become shark bait. Among The 14 Weirdest Things Sharks Have Eaten are included such unhealthy things as license plates, tires and a chicken coop complete with birds. Many of these things traveled long distances before winding up inside a shark. Few of these things belong in the water. Birds may be an exception. Typically, these are water fowl, not chickens. While in a boat, boating families rarely become shark bait.

Sharks come close to shore. When you leave your craft or your beach chair to step into the water, Little Ray's stories prove it is safer to do activities in, on or around the water in guarded areas and with friends. Guards know how to protect and treat threatened or injured swimmers. In “Little Ray & Shark Patch Things Up”, the boat gets an unusual towing to the safety of a guarded beach. The people there clearly do not want to become shark bait. Shark fishing from shore also may attract sharks.

This article is regularly updated for the benefit of beach users and residents. Little Ray seeks new ways to help beach goers, swimmers and boating family friends avoid becoming shark bait. Little Ray would also like to see an end to controversial shark bait dives that cause sharks to associate people with food. Beach goers and boating families also must be good custodians of the world's beaches and oceans. Any mess left behind may make its way into the diet of a curious, opportunistic and hungry shark or another unfortunate ocean animal. Careless beginnings can result in cruel endings for plants, animals or other people. Unnatural food products are hard or impossible for animals to digest. They also can pollute the environment.

Shark Fishing Tests Human Skills

  • shark bait Little Ray says:

    Shark repellent sprays and electrical, magnetic or acoustic devices claim to have the opposite effect of shark bait.

  • boating family Little Ray says:

    Dorsal is a free application, available through iTunes, with real-time shark reports and alerts, so a boating family can visit or stay away.

    • Shark FishingLittle Ray says:

      If you go shark fishing, Little Ray asks you to release your catches, without taking them fully out of the water..