TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) – A Tampa Bay area charter captain captured an intense moment with a shark via GoPro in June and the video was posted online on Thursday.
Robert Gorta has been a charter captain for 22 years. He also runs a YouTube channel with over 3,500 subscribers.
That’s where he posted a video on Thursday of a hammerhead shark grabbing a tarpon right from his hands.
“I tarpon fish throughout May and June and we hooked a monster tarpon. We noticed about halfway through the fight it looked like it had been injured. And then about 15 minutes later, we got the fish boat side and I was going to land the tarpon and all of a sudden, a giant hammerhead shark took it right out of my hands,” Gorta explained. “Obviously it was the most intense moment of my life.”
Gorta said he has seen many sharks attack tarpon, but never has a shark tried to take the fish out of his hands.
He estimates this hammerhead was approximately 14 feet in length and 1,300 pounds.
“Tarpon are the bait ball. So the sharks really follow the schools of tarpon. And May and June the tarpon are migrating up and down our west coast. So I believe tarpon are the bait ball. Sharks are really aggressive towards them,” Gorta said.
He said he always carries a GoPro with him during the months of May and June.
“Most of the time the shark attacks are large bull sharks. I have several bull shark videos on my YouTube channel and they are very, very aggressive. Hammerheads like this though, you rarely see them this large attack our fish. Maybe once or twice a year, if you’re lucky.”
Gorta also issued a reminder of laws involving tarpon in the state.
“I did not bring the tarpon aboard because one, the fish is so large you don’t want to risk getting knocked in the water obviously with a large shark swimming around the boat. And two, any tarpon over 40 inches must remain in the water. So it’s against Florida law to bring a tarpon on a boat over 40 inches.”