PONCE INLET ––
The purple flags are flying once again, warning of dangerous marine life. In this case, sharks off the coast of Volusia County.
So what’s bringing these sharks in so close?
A floating buffet of migrating bait fish, mullet to be exact. Huge masses of the fish could be easily seen in the surf.
“When you first met me this morning,” said John Galasso, a fisherman from Clermont, “there were bait fish all over the place. And you don’t want to be out there. When the bait fish clear out, I think it’s safe to go in.”
Those who follow the mullet this time of the year and who aren’t sharks, say the mullet will be running probably for the rest of the month. Meaning those purple flags may not be coming down for a while.
Volusia County’s Beach Safety will monitor the conditions each day.
Not many people are in the water. However, plenty were just off shore trying to spot the tell-tale fins.
Austin Graves is a regular out in the waters off Ponce Inlet. Normally, he’s on the New Smyrna Beach side, where the water is a little murkier.
On Friday morning, he opted for the north end of the inlet, where clearer waters made it easier for him to spot a couple of sharks swimming nearby.
We asked him if he paid more attention to his surroundings because increased shark activity reported nearby.
“Not at all. It’s just a normal day,” said Austin Graves.
Another tell-tale sign the bait fish are nearby: watch for large groups of birds diving into the water, trying to catch an easy meal.