Matt Garrett and friends on a weekend fishing trip out of Wrightsville Beach, N.C., knew why the fish had stopped biting as soon as the giant shark surfaced and began to circle their boat. It was a great white shark estimated to measure 18 feet — just a few feet shorter than the boat — and it had seemingly developed an interest in the vessel, perhaps having captured the scent of fish and bait.
The fishermen marveled as the shark swam around the vessel for about 20 minutes in calm conditions about 25 miles offshore. Garrett, who had recently purchased a new iPhone, held a steady hand as he captured the event on video.
Great white shark sightings are uncommon but not rare off North Carolina. However, sightings of sharks this large — white sharks rarely exceed 20 feet — are unusual, and for someone to capture video footage is rare.
At one point the shark turned and nudged the side of the boat with its snout. “He was going straight for us,” Garrett told WECT News. “Like … T-bone. He nudged us with his nose and turned around and slapped the boat with his tail.”
Paul Barrington of the NC Aquarium at Fort Fisher told WECT that it was, indeed, a great white. He also said the shark was probably just curious about the fishing activity, and praised the anglers for not trying to harass the predator.
For the anglers, it was a fishing trip of a lifetime, regardless of how poor the fishing might have been.