Anglers reel in rare great white shark off Gulf Coast
ORANGE BEACH, Ala. (WALA/Gray News) – Two fishing guides from Pensacola recently reeled in what’s believed to be the first great white shark ever caught from the beach in Alabama.
The pair met their clients March 6 on the beach near the Flora-Bama in Orange Beach.
After what had been an uneventful several hours, the line began to peel off the Shimano Tiagra 130 fishing reel around 4 a.m.
It was the sound Coastal Worldwide’s Dylan Wier and his partner, Blaine Kenny, had been waiting for.
“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,” Wier explained.
It didn’t take long for the anglers to realize they’d hooked into a monster fish.
Both have caught their share of big sharks from area beaches, but nothing could have prepared them for what was about to happen.
First, they had to focus on getting it to the beach and for that, it was all hands on deck.
Initially, they thought they had hooked a large tiger shark, which are common in gulf waters, but when they were able to reel the fish closer to the beach, Kenny realized they had brought in a great white.
The fishermen quickly turned their focus to releasing the shark as fast as possible and were able to free it 63 seconds later.
“This is a very rare event and maybe, if those guys continue to fish from the beach for the next several years and never catch another one like it,” explained Dr. Marcus Drymon with Mississippi State University, adding the species is uncommon in this part of the world and especially from the beach.
Drymon said the 10-to-11-foot great white was a juvenile shark, and the cooler waters may have drawn him closer to the beach.
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