It's not a shark, but it's got huge sharp pointy teeth

I KNOW nothing of the circumstances surrounding the suspected fish bite to the young girl at Lennox Head during the week but it could have made a proper mess if it was indeed a mackerel.

I've seen a few times what even a small mackerel can do to human flesh and the girl's hand would have been severely shredded by anything more than the faintest contact by a mackerel with its mouth open.

If the damage is less traumatic, perhaps the culprit could have been a tailor or even a bonito, or the girl was very lucky indeed.

A mackerel's dentition is up there with the top sharks in terms of sharpness, although macks have far less bite pressure.

These keen-eyed predators make slashing rushes at baitfish, the teeth generally sharp enough with a direct hit to instantly disable their prey, which can then be eaten at leisure.

Most hits on larger baitfish are towards the tail, which is why a mackerel bait must carry at least one hook at the back end.

Even then, a mack can chop off the rear half without even the most alert angler knowing it.

Experienced mackerel fishos know that these fish can be almost as dangerous dead as alive because of the unbroken rows of intermeshing razor-sharp teeth.

Some years ago in the middle of a hot bite, my mate passed me the gaff after he'd pinned a lively 5kg spotty on it for me. It threshed once before I stunned it and started to bleed it over the side.

My mate gasped in horror and went pale as I turned towards him.

He blurted out something and lurched towards me, pointing at my neck.

I ran my finger down the area just under my ear and checked the faintest smear of blood on my fingertip.

That's all it was, a faint graze I hadn't felt.

If those teeth had been a couple of centimetres closer, I would have bled out long before the chopper arrived.

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