Brothers Chris and Mike Sicurella and their cousins Ian Donati and Gary Haes went fishing in Absecon Inlet in the wee hours of Thursday morning. They reported to Captain Howard's Bait and Tackle in Egg Harbor City that they hooked up with an 8- to 9-foot brown shark at 1 a.m. on Ian's boat.

Chris said they were rigged with bunker as bait on 12/0 hooks, wire leader and an egg weight. Chris said they pulled up to a beach inside Absecon Inlet and hauled the fish in there because it was too big to get it in the 14-foot boat. They took a photo and released it.

Chris, 16, Mike, 17, and Ian, 16, go to Cedar Creek High School. Gary is 19. They all live in Egg Harbor City.

Donald Bondiskey at Captain Howard's and Ed Bronstein at Fin-Atics in Ocean City both confirmed that there are a lot of brown sharks, also known as sand bar sharks, in the inshore waters, inlets and surf.

A number of brown sharks have been reported caught on Long Beach Island, too.

Some of them have been reported to be in the 3-5 foot range, so the one caught by the young EHC anglers and confirmed Thursday by Captain Howard's was a little bigger than most.

Bronstein said fishing for brown sharks is developing into a new fishery. They are mostly caught at night, and Bronstein said they don't appear to be dangerous.

There have been a couple of unconfirmed reports of baby hammerhead sharks caught inshore. They have to be returned to the water.

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Mike Shepherd is the retired sports editor of The Press. His Shep on Fishing column and Shep's Hot Spot appear Tuesdays and Saturdays in the sports section and daily on-line. Call 609-350-0388 or email sheponfishing@yahoo.com.

You can also hear Shep's on-air fishing reports Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays at 6:05 a.m., 9:45 a.m. and 7:05 p.m. on WOND 1400 AM and on our website.