The 10- to 11-foot juvenile shark was promptly released
Two shark-fishing guides from Pensacola, Florida, experienced the catch of a lifetime when they reeled in a 10- to 11-foot great white shark while fishing off the beach near the Flora-Bama in Orange Beach, Alabama.
According to Fox 10 News, Dylan Wier and Blaine Kenny with Coastal WorldWide were shark fishing with family and friends early Monday morning, March 6, when at about 4 a.m. they heard the line begin to peel off their Shimano Tiagra 130.
I'm running another bait out so I'm actually in the kayak, coming back in, Wier recalled. The Tiagra 130 has a clicker that you could hear from a million miles away, and when I heard it going off, I thought that's the big reel. We run that bait 600 yards out. It was a jack crevalle head… about 8 to 10 pounds or so, and when I heard it go off, I watched Blaine stick it from the beach and then it kind of goes slack and he sticks it and for the first minute, minute and a half, it was dumping.
They knew quickly that they'd hooked a monster fish, but neither man was prepared for what was about to happen.
It 100 percent took every one of us to reel that fish in, Kenny said. Everybody cranking and cranking and cranking until they couldn't anymore and then, the next person would go and eventually Dylan got in the harness and it was just like, we have to put more heat to this fish other than just the rod holder because this fish needs to come in as healthy as possible.
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They assumed they'd hooked a large tiger shark, which is common in the Gulf waters, but with the camera filming and Wier on the rod and the fish close to the beach, Kenny is heard yelling, It's a great white! It's a great white!
The moments following were chaotic and the goal was to release the shark as quickly as possible to help ensure it would survive.
Catching a great white in these Gulf waters is quite rare, according to shark expert Dr. Marcus Drymon with Mississippi State University. They're relatively rare individuals, especially in this part of the world and especially from the beach," he said.
Drymon said the cooler waters currently in the Gulf may have drawn the juvenile great white closer to the beach.