A group of anglers in South Florida managed to record nearly unbelievable footage recently as a massive, 500-pound shark leapt from the sea to steal a sailfish from their line.
The unidentified group of fishermen, comprised of both amateurs and professionals according to the New York Daily News, recently set out from Miami for a morning trip. After hooking a large sailfish, they began to reel it in, but just a few moments later they found themselves witnessing an unusual and rare sight.
— NBC Chicago (@nbcchicago) April 15, 2016
Seemingly out of nowhere, a massive shark, weighing an estimated 500 pounds, launched itself from the water, with the sailfish caught between its jaws. According to the boat’s captain, Bouncer Smith, he has never witnessed anything like the attack in his 50 years of guiding charters.
“This 500-pound shark was all the way in the air with a 60-pound sailfish in his mouth, like a dog with a bone.”
— Ocean Champions (@OceanChampions) April 16, 2016
The anglers managed to film the unexpected attack, yet the shark didn’t hang around the area for long. After a few moments, they witnessed its fin receding in the distance and finished reeling in their catch, finding only half of the sailfish remaining on the end of their line.
Though surprising, the attack is hardly the first time that a fisherman has found themselves inadvertently feeding a shark. Last year, a charter in New Zealand managed to record a similar incident involving a juvenile great white shark. As one of the anglers aboard that boat brought his catch near the side of the vessel, the white shark appeared from underneath it, startling all aboard. Video of the encounter revealed their surprised reactions as the shark struck at the fish, ripping what remained of it from the line, as the Inquisitr noted at the time. At first, it was thought that the shark responsible for the incident was a bronze whaler, but it was later confirmed by several observers to actually be a young great white shark.
— Miami Herald (@MiamiHerald) April 9, 2016
Another similar incident occurred in 2014, when a group of fishermen from Canada managed to hook a small shark. As they brought it near their boat, the unfortunate animal was attacked by a larger cow shark, a slow moving and little understood species that primarily resides in the cold depths of the oceans. One of the anglers aboard the vessel managed to sever the line as the cow shark spun in the water, allowing it to eventually move off with the smaller dogfish shark, dragging it into the depths.
Though the fishermen aboard Bouncer Smith’s vessel, Bouncer’s Dusky 33, were not identified in media reports, at least one of them hailed from Virginia, as NBC 6 notes. That man reflected that when the shark unexpectedly appeared, the group were lucky enough to have their camera at the ready, ensuring that no one would doubt their version of events.
“We were lucky enough to have the phone up. Most exciting trip in my life.”
It was not immediately apparent what species of shark appeared in the video. Spinner sharks are known to rocket from the ocean in a similar fashion as they chase their prey, but they never grow to be as large as 500 pounds, instead attaining a maximum weight in the range of 200 pounds.
A variety of shark species commonly inhabit the waters off Florida, particularly at this time of the year, before some of them migrate north for the summer. Whatever species features in the video, the shark’s unexpected appearance was enough to make the charter an unforgettable experience for all of those involved.