Bill Fleenor spent 15 years hunting shark teeth along the Grand Strand and has added hundreds of them to his collection, but finding a megalodon tooth had eluded him.
But on Oct. 5 his luck turned around while walking in between low and high tide near Damon’s Restaurant and the Doubletree Resort.
He found a megalodon tooth sitting in the sand.
“I was ecstatic. I had to sit down for a moment,” Fleenor said.
The megalodon is an extinct species of shark that was known for its giant size and teeth. The tooth Fleenor found was estimated by him to be nearly six inches long.
Fleenor visits the Grand Strand often from the Charlotte area. He uses a net to sift through the sand, and he typically finds smaller teeth.
Over his 15 years of visiting, collecting shark teeth has become something he anticipates. The searches are a great way to pass time at the beach, he said.
Fleenor had seen stories of teens, college students and others finding megalodon teeth, but he’d been unable to find a giant tooth despite coming two to three times a year.
A few weeks after Hurricane Dorian hit, he decided to come down to Myrtle Beach to see if any teeth washed up. He was sifting through the sand around 10 a.m. as the tide was coming in.
“The combination of the hurricane and being out of season, it wasn’t crowded, so I thought I would give it a shot,” Fleenor said.
Then, at long last, he found the tooth sticking out of the sand.
Fleenor said there is a growing shark tooth-collecting community. He is seeing more beach stores selling equipment to find teeth and more people stop him on the beach curious about what he has found.
Once folks get started, it’s an addicting hobby, he said.
“I have some friends who metal detect on the beach, and I can see how you can get addicted to it,” Fleenor said.