A fishing charter crew recently got more than they bargained for in the waters off Hilton Head, hooking and reeling in a 3,000 pound great white shark, which surprisingly wasn’t their first encounter of the day.
The catch was made on Tuesday by Outcast Sport Fishing, which is operated by charter boat captain Chip Michalove. His two-man crew hooked up with the massive shark unexpectedly, and the great white immediately bolted and played out their line, seemingly unaware it was engaged in a fight.
“It happened so fast. We were talking about what to do with her and all the sudden she ripped out 400 yards of line. She was so big I don’t think she even knew she was hooked.”
— TWC News Charlotte (@TWCNewsCLT) December 15, 2016
The female great white was the largest shark Michalove recalls seeing in the ocean off Hilton Head, as the Island Packet notes. Despite a spirited fight, the white shark was able to escape the hook, leaving Michalove and his crew without a chance to affix a tag to the animal. Even though the shark was able to get away, Michalove called it a “real monster,” noting that he “couldn’t believe how big she was.”
After the massive shark made its escape, Michalove and the rest of Outcast Sport Fishing nearly called it a day, but as USA Today notes, they were in for another run-in with a white shark. Later in the day, the crew hooked a 9.5-foot-long great white, the first male of the species that Michalove has ever caught. Even though this particular shark was far smaller than the impressive great white that they encountered earlier, it still put up its own notable fight. Unlike the day’s first catch, Michalove and his crew were able to tag the second shark before sending the oceanic predator on its way.
Monster Tiger Shark @ChessieShark was caught again this morning almost exactly a year from when we orig tagged her pic.twitter.com/8wrYxwYbLt
— Outcast Charters (@ChipHHI) May 26, 2016
Michalove is no stranger to exceptional sharks. As the Inquisitr has previously noted, he was responsible for catching and tagging an unusually large tiger shark, nicknamed Chessie, in early 2015. Tracked by researchers, as well as Ocearch, Chessie was named for the local Chechessie River, as the New York Post points out.
An unusual tiger shark, Chessie has popped up in Michalove’s life more than once. Even though he originally caught and tagged her in May of 2015, the shark was hardly done with Hilton Head. In May of 2016, the 1,400 pound tiger shark was caught again off the island, once again by Michalove and his crew. Over the course of the intervening year, Chessie traveled 2,000 miles, while also putting on some 200 pounds of weight (the shark tipped the scales at just an estimated 1,200 pounds when Michalove first caught her in 2015).
Gray seals along the Cape Cod coastline, being stalked by a great white shark. Amazing drone photography! pic.twitter.com/6Qu9hL5fPM
— Jonathan Boutelle (@jboutelle) December 7, 2016
Michalove’s luck at catching the white sharks may come as little surprise, as a large number of the animals have recently moved south along the Atlantic coast, seeking warmer waters as winter sets in. The Atlantic White Shark Conservancy, a group that works to tag white sharks off Cape Cod, recently noted that the last of the region’s itinerant population were moving on for the season, even as a few stragglers remained there into December.
Though little is known about white shark migratory patterns, the species is thought to be highly nomadic. A number of tagged great whites, including social media stars like Katharine and Mary Lee, have been tracked moving south along the Atlantic coast in prior winters, traveling to the Carolinas, and in some cases even as far as the Gulf of Mexico.