Man likely hooks Great White Shark in Gulf of Mexico - WFLA News Channel 8

Man likely hooks Great White Shark in Gulf of Mexico

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TREASURE ISLAND, FL (WFLA) -

A Canadian on Spring Break in the Bay area is going home with one big fish tale to tell.

Fab Marchese, a seasoned fisherman, says he hooked a great white shark on Friday about 30 miles off the coast of Treasure Island.

"You can't imagine something that big and having it on the end of your rod there," Marchese said. "I wanted to see it right up close. That was my whole thing: Don't goof up."

It happened as the sun was setting. Marchese, who was on a trip with Captain Joe Maisano of Go Fast! Fishing Charters, says the shark was about 18 feet long.

"About 4 hours into the fishing trip and Big Momma showed up," Maisano said with a smile. "Looked like a submarine swimming around."

That massive shadow turned into a 3 and a half hour struggle.

"I fish quite a bit ... so to fight a fish ... I kind of know what to do: Play the waves and everything," Marchese said. "Basically, what was going through my mind was - I'm hanging on to this thing no matter what."

Eventually, the crew let the shark go.

"We just let him take the whole rig," Maisano said. "We just cut it off."

The guys caught a bit of the fight on camera. Longtime researcher Dr. Bob Huetter, a scientist at Mote Marine Laboratory in Sarasota, said - from the grainy video - it appears it's likely a shark within the great white family; potentially a Mako shark if it's not the famed great white.

Huetter said scientists don't know much about how great whites migrate but they can occasionally wind up in the Gulf 20 to 30 miles or more offshore during the wintertime.

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