Anna Maria Island attack victim has no hard feelings against shark

September 29, 2011 

The man attacked by a shark last weekend off Anna Maria Island is speaking out from his hospital bed.

CJ Wickersham, who was bitten on his upper left thigh by a bull shark, said the animal was about nine-feet long.

Wickersham and friends were spearfishing Saturday when the shark bit him.

"I looked to my right and there was a big bull shark on my leg,'' he said. "So, I let go of my spear gun and hit it with my hands. Then I saw the blood and stuff and I kind of put my head out of the water and yelled and my buddy jumped in. I just hit it once with both my hands and I'm pretty sure it swam away after that."

Wickersham, 21, had to get about 800 stitches to close the wound. Still, he said he has no hard feelings against the shark.

He is expected to make a complete recovery. His mother credits her son's friends with saving his life as they quickly got him out of the water and helped stem the blood flow.

Wickersham said he did not have a fish on his spear at the time of the attack. In fact, he said he was floating on the surface at the time of the attack.

"Luckily, it didn’t shake his head or anything. It could’ve been a lot worse," Wickersham said. "It's like a flap. I had to get 800 stitches. Right here on the inside is a whole bunch of holes from it's teeth."

Wickersham said once he's healthy, he will go spearfishing again.

The attack is only the fifth reported unprovoked shark attack since 1882 in Manatee County.

Bradenton Herald is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere in the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

Commenting FAQs | Terms of Service