Most anglers can fish leisurely and without a care in the world. With bass, crappie, and redfish, there isn’t much inherent risk involved, or a potential lose a finger or two. There are some risky fish species, however, that pack a punch, not to mention a mouth filled with teeth, and anglers seeking these species need to exercise caution and respect.

1. Northern Pike

A common target in the northern Midwest and Canada, pike are extremely fast, aggressive, and possess a mouth filled with razor sharp teeth. If you’ve ever seen a pike strike a lure, or snatch a duckling out of the water, then you know that these fish strike hard and ferociously. They tend to attack in ambushed bursts so they can surprise prey, but careless anglers may be caught off guard, as well, as pike are well-known for thrashing around once out of the water. For that reason, it’s smart to keep a pike at least partially in the water when landing it, unless you want some fresh bite marks on your hand, like this less than wary angler.

2. Barracuda

Impossibly fast and armed with teeth and ferocity, barracudas have earned a reputation as a hazard to swimmers, spear fishermen, and any angler brave enough to try and catch them. Barracudas tend to be bold, solitary hunters that can eat prey as large as themselves, and often follow larger predators around, hoping to feed of scraps. Their bold nature often brings them close to humans, though, and many divers and anglers have reported barracuda bites, which can be serious. There have been cases where anglers reach over the side of their boat to land a fish or change a hook, and a barracuda shoots in like a bullet, sawing through skin and even veins with their teeth. 

3. Blue Marlin

These powerful saltwater fish come equipped with a natural weapon: a spear-like beak that can impale or batter predators and prey. They use this feature to sweep through schools of fish, stunning their prey and then eating them at their leisure. Careless anglers, however, quickly discover that a marlin’s spear can inadvertently impale them or their boat, especially after jumping on board. 

4. Sharks

While they’re a common species for saltwater anglers, sharks are by far the most famously dangerous predatory fish in the ocean. They have size, teeth, millions of years of never having to evolve, and a sense of smell that can detect blood in as little as one part per million of seawater. Whether you’re on a boat, a kayak, or you’re just reeling them in from shore, respect what sharks can do to lazy anglers and exercise extreme caution when you’re in shark territory.