NAVARRE BEACH, Fla. (CBS Local) — Talk about reeling in the big one. Fishermen caught what they believe is a great white shark at the Navarre Beach Fishing Pier along Florida’s Gulf Coast Tuesday afternoon.
Jeremy Utter made the big catch.
“Definitely a fish of a lifetime,” Utter told CBS affiliate WKRG. “I could fish 50 more years and never get another one. That’s the first one I’ve ever seen. First one I’ve ever touched.”
The shark was estimated at 700 pounds and 10 feet long. At first, they were thinking it might be a more common mako shark that they could keep.
“Everybody out here had their knives and forks ready thinking mako, we’re going to have something to eat tonight,” Earnie Polk said.
Polk is the captain of Team True Blue, which is the group of fishermen that reeled it in. He says they released the shark after tagging it.
“That really tells the scientists, it gives them a new story; they’re like whoa, wait a minute, that fish isn’t supposed to be there, why is it there you know,” Polk said.
Among the people who witnessed the rare catch was Alisha Day, who was visiting from Oklahoma. She posted videos of the rare event on her Facebook page (warning: some of the videos contain graphic language).
Thomas Thielman, locally known as “Shark Thomas,” works at the Navarre Beach Pier and was one of five people who helped bring it in.
“Honestly, it was just pure adrenaline,” Thielman said. “I was just kind of like I hope we get this big joker to the beach.”
The data on the shark will now be shared with researchers at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).