Liberty woman reels in shark while fishing in the Trinity River

Breanna Duff holds up the shark she caught in the Trinity River in Liberty last Friday, June 3.

A Liberty woman has a fishing story that is off the hook. While fishing for catfish in the Trinity River in Liberty on Friday, June 3, she instead snagged a 3-foot bull shark.

“I really thought it was a catfish when it first hit my line,” said Breanna Duff. “My husband Norman started yelling that it was a shark and I said, ‘No, it’s not.’ I was really shocked when I realized that he was right. It was a shark.”

Once the shark was reeled in, Breanna quickly posed for a photo before tossing the shark back into the river.

“I wasn’t even sure what kind of shark it was. Some people are saying it’s a bull shark. I really don’t know. That was my first time to even see a shark up close,” she said. “I was expecting it to feel slimy because fish normally feel slimy but the shark felt like sandpaper.”

Besides having a really good shark story to tell her friends and family, Breanna said she has a whole new perspective on what lies beneath the murky waters of the Trinity River.

“My husband’s family used to go swimming out there. It never occurred to me that sharks could be in there. My daughter used to play in the water by our feet but now I don’t think I want her to get in the water at all,” she said.

Bull shark sightings in freshwater rivers like the Trinity have happened before. In 2006, a man caught a bull shark in the Trinity River below the Lake Livingston Dam. While bull sharks are normally found in shallow coastal waters, they often swim upstream in rivers and canals, particularly when there hasn’t been a lot of rain.

Texas Game Warden Jake Noxon told Bluebonnet News that he isn’t surprised by the shark sighting.

“When I first got here eight years ago, there was a guy who caught a stingray at the Trinity River bridge in Liberty. Last year, there was another guy who caught a small bull shark while fishing off the sandbar in Liberty,” Noxon said. “People catch crabs there, too. It doesn’t surprise me that there are typically saltwater species living in the Trinity,” Noxon said. “If there is one, then there are probably others.”


  1. In the 70’s we were at the trinity & saw an aggregation of manatee by the bridge in liberty.
    It’s so polluted now nothing wants anything to do with it.

  2. congrats for KILLING a baby shark! YOU and the people like you are responsible for the decline of sharks all over the world. Your idiot smile says it all…. you have no clue, and dont care about the planet for future generations. Way to go!

    • Then there are idiots who don’t bother to read the story to finď out the shark was released back into the water ALIVE.

      Get your facts straight, or work on your reading comprehension before you start spewing poison at someone for no reason.

      Go find the people who REALLY are endangering apex predators in the ecosystem, not someone who accidently caught one while fishing for catfish in a river, and then released it!

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