A group of anglers fishing for fluke at the Fire Island Reef got a rare glimpse of a hammerhead shark Sunday morning.

The fishermen, three in all, were about two miles south of the Fire Island Inlet at about 9 a.m. when the shark swam up to Captain Michael Patrick’s 24-foot Silverhawk, which he charters and uses privately.

“Right when we put our fluke lines in the water we saw an 8-foot hammerhead shark off the stern of the boat!” said Patrick, 34, of Lindenhurst.

Patrick, who has a 50-ton Master Captain license, identified the shark as a scalloped hammerhead.

He’s been fishing the waters off Fire Island for 25 years.

“That was the first time in my life I’ve seen a hammerhead at the Fire Island Reef,” he said.

Chris Paparo, a nature photographer and the manager of Stony Brook University’s marine sciences center at Stony Brook-Southampton, said that while scalloped hammerheads are endangered, it’s still fairly common to find them swimming off shore.

However they are bottom feeders, he noted, theorizing the sharks mostly come to the surface to warm up from the sun before heading back down.

additional reporting by Mike Busch

photos by Michael Patrick
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Read More: Scalloped Hammerheads become first shark species on the U.S. Endangered Species List