It's safe to go in the ocean waters off San Diego again: A shark tail mystery has been solved.
An experienced fisherman thought he had seen a shark in the Pacific Ocean, not far from shore. It turned out that a fake shark fin is to blame for the hubbub at Swami's Beach in Encinitas.
KFMB-TV San Diego reports the fisherman was on a paddle board and reluctant to get too close to what appeared to be a shark fin. Then after a short time he realized it was some kind of a prank.
The fake tail contraption was made out of wood attached with screws to PVC pipe.
Lifeguards in Encinitas say that whoever is responsible for this hoax could end up with a ticket from law enforcement.
"If this was used to create a false alarm, it would actually pull out a lot of resources out of the coastal areas here in Encinitas -- fire, lifeguard, sheriff -- that would cause us to pull resources from areas where we're watching people on the beach and in the water," Encinitas lifeguard Capt. Larry Giles told KFMB.
The fake marlin fin is believed to have come from a wacky Southern California club.
Dave Strege wrote about in his book "Celebrity Fish Talk: Tales of Fishing From An All-Star Cast." On page 150 he writes about the "joke of all practical jokes that was pulled off during a fishing tournament on Catalina Island in the mid 1990s, when the idea of making fake marlin tails and spreading them out all over the ocean came to life. Hours before the 1995 tournament the group of pranksters put 100 of these fake marlin fins in the waters.
That fake marlin fin in San Diego is believed to have floated away from the fishing tournament in Avalon, California.
The director of the Los Pescadores Billfish Tournament in Catalina released a statement to KFMB: "We try to pick up all of the fake marlin fins after the fishing tournament. I guess it's feasible one could have floated away. We were not trying to irritate anyone. We apologize for the confusion."