A kayaker from southern California recently recorded an unusual close encounter with a young great white shark, documenting the predator as it moved in to take a bite out of his catch.
Fisherman Bill Morales and his girlfriend were kayaking roughly half a mile from Dana Point Harbor when he caught a leopard shark, according to AOL Travel. The relatively small shark wasn’t the only predator in the water, however, and as Morales dangled it off the side of his kayak, it inadvertently acted as bait, drawing in a juvenile great white shark. Before he knew what was happening, Morales found himself suddenly jerked backward, pulled into an unexpected battle with the white shark.
A man gets a wild surprise when he catches a leopard shark. The story coming up at 10:35 pm. pic.twitter.com/6a7kVS8WGF
— FOX 5 San Diego (@fox5sandiego) April 21, 2016
Morales managed to film the interaction with one hand while using his other to hold on to the leopard shark. His footage shows the great white approaching the kayak before tearing into the smaller shark and engaging in a visceral round of tug of war with the surprised angler.
While Morales’ girlfriend also filmed the encounter from roughly 50 feet away, the great white shark moved off for a moment, before returning to feed once again on the leopard shark. Despite the fact that the white shark was a juvenile, Morales still had to struggle to remain in his kayak, lest he find himself pulled into the water with the predator.
“I had a camera in one hand and I had the shark in the other hand, and he was going back and forth. I had to move my arm back and forth like a piston so that it wouldn’t just pull me over.”
— Jukin Media (@JukinMedia) April 21, 2016
Morales estimates that the shark he encountered was between eight to 10 feet long, weighing anywhere from 300 to 400 pounds, as the Daily Mail notes. The great white was so close to him that he recalled he could see its eyes turn white just before it attacked the smaller shark. Despite assertions that he could have been at great risk should the white shark have turned its attention toward him, Morales insists that he has “no fear” when it comes to interacting with the animals.
While great white sharks are often portrayed as mindless killing machines in the media, they do not seek out humans as prey. In reality, they are often engaging in “sample biting” when they attack a potential food source, seeking to determine whether or not it is edible. They have been known to approach boats in search of prey and have even been documented stealing fish off anglers’ lines.
— Zesty America News (@zesty_usa) April 22, 2016
Last year, a fishing charter in New Zealand managed to record a young great white shark as it preyed upon an unfortunate fish that was in the midst of being caught. As The Inquisitr noted at the time, the white shark rose from below the animal, catching the anglers unawares as it appeared seemingly from nowhere. Luckily, the group happened to be filming the experience, and footage of the interaction quickly spread online.
Just last week, another fishing charter recorded a similar experience in South Florida. Having hooked a large sailfish, the group were reeling the animal in when a large shark, estimated to weigh roughly 500 pounds, breached from the waves to prey upon it. Though the anglers managed to film the event, it remains unclear what species of shark was responsible.
Following their encounter, Morales and his girlfriend brought what remained of the leopard shark back to land with them, showing it to KTLA when discussing their story. By the time the great white shark had eaten its fill, only the smaller shark’s head, pectoral fins, and upper body remained.