Somewhere beyond the shores of Hilton Head, S.C., is what’s believed to be the largest male great white shark ever tagged in the Atlantic.
Chip Michalove said his group tagged and released the estimated 15-foot, 2,600-pound shark Friday, but not until after the enormous predator rammed Michalove’s 27-foot vessel, raising its bow several feet out of the water.
Giant male great white moments before its release. Photos courtesy of Chip Michalove
“It was the first time I’ve actually been a little bit scared on my boat,” Michalove, who tags white sharks as part of a broad scientific study, told For The Win Outdoors. “I saw pieces of fiberglass floating off after the bow settled down.”
The boat survived the strike, however, and the shark appeared to have been fine when it shook the hook and swam away just after Michalove inserted a tracking tag.
This capped an extraordinary day in which anglers aboard the Outcast – Michalove runs Outcast Sport Fishing – hooked seven great white sharks and tagged and released four, ranging from 7 to 15 feet.
“We found the nest egg,” boasted Michalove, who would not divulge the location or even the type of bait he used. “The gold mine of gold mines.”
White sharks are a protected species. Michalove, however, is permitted to tag them as part of a movement study run by Massachusetts state biologist Greg Skomal.
The charter captain said he had gone five weeks without hooking a single white shark before Friday, when he his group traveled to new area. The spot was so productive, Michalove said, that “we spent more time fighting sharks than we did waiting for them to bite.”
The 15-footer is the largest male white shark ever tagged in the Atlantic, according to Michalove. Females, such as Deep Blue of Pacific Ocean fame, can grow to about 20 feet and weigh to about 4,000 pounds.
Adult male white sharks, however, typically measure 11 to 13 feet and lack the broad body mass that’s apparent on adult females.
Michalove said his group was exhausted and ready to call it quits when the 15-footer bit. The shark did not put up much of a fight, however, seemingly saving its energy for the boat-ramming episode just before winning its freedom.
Michalove said he was so worried that other fishermen might learn of his whereabouts, and cause harm to the sharks, that after dinner on Friday he went back to his boat to delete his GPS coordinates.
–Photos are courtesy of Chip Michalove/Outcast Sport Fishing