Skip to main content Skip to footer site map

Sharks vs. Bait Ball


A school of small mackerel called “Akule” gather in the tens of thousands to form a tight bait ball in order to protect themselves from predators, most notoriously the sharks of Hawaii. But sometimes increasing their profile only attracts more lethal attention.


- [Narrator] Bluefin trevallies, three feet in length, are some of Hawaii's most efficient carnivores.

Aggressive and sleek, they can carve up a bait ball with exquisite precision.

Akule caught in the rift are the first to be devoured the others, trying to flee.

(water gurgling) (water splashing) The sounds of plunder draw gray reef sharks to the scene.

Then, an elegant silky comes in from the blue.

They have the ability to hear prey through open water.

Now, the Akule have drawn multiple sharks to the near shore reef.

Sharks may hunt cooperatively, but it's every individual for itself when it comes to food.

The hunter's try to corral the bait fish into more manageable masses.

(water gurgling) (water gurgling) After enduring attack, after attack, the Akule are tiring.

But it won't be over until the sharks are satiated.

You May Also Like


PBS is a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization.