Local man catches several sharks on video near Isla Vista

Sharks usually show up around low tide

Local man catches several sharks on...

ISLA VISTA, Calif. - An Isla Vista man spotted a group of sharks in about three feet of water on the Fourth of July.

He believes they're leopard sharks and they're mating in the area. 

The longtime Isla Vista man says this isn't unusual for the area. He's been seeing these sharks in the shallow water for several summers.  

"Well I think they come to this area to get acquainted and mate," Goleta resident Hal Kopeikin said.

A plot line that Goleta local Hal Kopeikin says he's familiar with around here.

"Reminds me quite a bit of life in Isla Vista more generally," Kopeikin said.

Kopeikin likes to refer to these leopard sharks, as "partying."

"Yes they are, they're having a very good time, it was July 4th and I figured they wanted to come out and have a good time," Kopeikin said.

A good time they did this Independence Day morning - and it wasn't just a few of them - Kopeikin estimates there's hundreds of these sharks out here and he's seen them showing up near the Isla vista shore for years.

Marine experts tell us there's two places these leopard sharks like to show up every year, that's La Joya and right here in Isla Vista - and once we rolled our pant legs up and got into the water it didn't take long to find hundreds of these sharks out here, just feet from the shore - and us.

"There's one right there - see if you look they're about 15 feet out - there's one right behind you right there," Kopeikin said.

Kopeikin doesn't flinch a muscle - mostly because UCSB marine biologists say these sharks couldn't bite you - even if they tried.

"It could eat you but it would take about 6 weeks because they have no teeth to speak of so you'd have to be real patient," UCSB Research Biologist Dr. Milton Love said.

UCSB Research biologist Dr. Milton Love says these leopard sharks grow to about 5-6 feet.

"Yea they're only dangerous to sand crabs and sand crabs view them as really dangerous, so if some of your viewers are sand crabs, this is not a good place to be," Love said.

He says this isn't typical but when they do show up near the shore, it's around April.

"Why are they here? Primarily to mate," Love said.

"You know I suppose they could be dangerous to your fingers, but they don't seem to bother your feet at all," Kopeikin said.

The experts tell us these sharks will probably be around until about September or October.

Kopeikin says the sharks usually show up around low tide--Wednesday's low tide is at about 1 pm.

In the video he shot, you can see the sharks circling around, just feet from the shore and just feet from onlookers. Scroll down to watch the video.

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