A fishing charter off Anna Maria Island in Tampa Bay turned into what the captain called a "NatGeo moment" when a hammerhead shark hunted down a free-swimming tarpon, which tried everything to escape – even jumping into the boat.
“That never happens,” Captain Rob Gorta told FOX 13. “You have a 100-pound fish flopping around in your boat – that's an incredible experience.”
Ashley Moore, one of the two clients from Dade City, captured the excitement on video (above) in which you can hear someone, presumably Gorta, say “He just attacked the boat.”
“No,” the male client replied, “the tarpon is on the boat.”
To everyone's surprise, the tarpon jumped onto the back of the boat. It jumped around a few seconds before flopping back into the water where the chase resumed and eventually ended with the hammerhead shark triumphing.
In more than 20 years as a charterboat captain, Gorta had never seen anything like it.
The action started when Gorta found a school of tarpon. The fishermen had already hooked and lost two when the real action began.
“All of a sudden this tarpon came out of nowhere, attacked my trolling motor, broke the steering box, had to get it repaired,” Gorta told FOX 13. “We hooked up at the same time. The shark sensed that, went after the tarpon. Our tarpon broke off the line. Then the whole school went ballistic and that shark ended up getting its own free-swimming tarpon.”
Gorta was impressed that the 12-foot hammerhead shark hunted down its own tarpon without help from the fishermen.
“A tarpon is very fast,” Gorta explained to FOX 13. “Sharks normally wait until they get our fish that we caught when it's tired, but this shark was so fast it caught its own. It was the most incredible experience ever.”
His clients thought so, too.
“They were just so surprised, excited,” Gorta said. “It was definitely a NatGeo moment that everyone was floored over.”
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