A veteran fisherman claims to have hooked a great white shark off the coast of Hilton Head, South Carolina, while alone at his favorite spot, just seven miles off the island's most popular beaches.
Chip Michalove, a charter boat captain with Outcast Sport Fishing, has been plying the waters off Hilton Head for 17 years, according to the State. Setting out after spiny dogfish on January 29, he faced a slow day, leaving him talking on his cellphone for the first three hours he was at sea. That all changed around 1 p.m., however, when one of his rods bent far over the side of his boat, before its line snapped.
"As I reel it up, this huge, huge fish — the biggest shark I've ever seen in my life — comes to the surface and starts circling the boat," he recalled.
The predator was clearly a great white, according to Michalove, who estimated the shark to be around 15 feet in length, weighing somewhere between 2,500 to 2,800 pounds. Not content with the bait it had taken, the white shark struck at Michalove's second line, igniting an hour and a half battle that saw the animal spinning out the far larger, more powerful reel. Michalove was able to take a short video of the line flying off the pole, but was unable to capture a photo of the great white during the course of the fight.
A Great White #Shark can swim 32 feet in one second, launching 8 feet out of the water at 20+ mph. #science pic.twitter.com/2b6JGQc1oG"It was the coolest thing I've ever seen in my life," Michalove asserted. "Just to see one was a dream come true, let alone to actually hook one."
— Justin Hubbell (@HubbellJustin) January 20, 2015
Sportfishing Captain Marc Pincus, a friend of Michalove's, received a call from him while he fought the shark, and immediately set off to aid the angler. Unfortunately, Pincus and a friend learned that the line had snapped, freeing the white shark, just as they came within a half mile of Michalove's boat.
'Most Famous' Great White #Shark Back in #Florida http://t.co/wl2iutvGGW via @Newser pic.twitter.com/gD14UmsQD0White sharks are no strangers to the coastal waters around Hilton Head. As the Inquisitr previously reported, a tagged great white, named Katharine, has repeatedly made headlines as she moves south along the Eastern Seaboard. Around January 22, Katharine's transceiver showed the white shark was just off Hilton Head, and as WSAV notes, she wasn't alone. Another, far larger great white, also tagged by Ocearch researchers and named Mary Lee, calls the same region home.
— OCEARCH (@OCEARCH) January 27, 2015
Though some have questioned the lack of a photo, Department of Natural Resources shark scientist Bryan Frazier defended Michalove, pointing out that the pair had worked with Ocearch to tag white sharks last year and noting that the angler called him during the incident.
"I do believe him," Frazier said. "He knows enough about his species, and given his description of what occurred, I have no doubt it was a white shark."