As a longtime fisherman, I've only encountered a great white shark once, on a 50-foot party boat out of Oceanside, Calif. It was massive and we all stopped fishing to watch the predator linger immediately beneath the boat for several minutes.
So I can only imagine how awesome an experience it must have been for Matt Garrett and his friends, on a 20-foot boat, to be circled by an 18-foot white shark on a recent excursion 25 miles beyond Wrightsville Beach, N.C. (See the WECT News video report below.)
The shark swam around the vessel for 20 minutes and at one point nudged and tail-slapped the vessel. Garrett, who recently purchased a new iPhone, captured the event on video and the story is being widely circulated on the Internet.
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.
Paul Barrington of the North Carolina Aquarium at Fort Fisher told WECT that the shark was probably just curious about the fishing activity, and praised the anglers for not harassing the predator.
My great white shark sighting occurred more than 20 years ago and the image remains vivid to this day. Garrett and his friends are sure to remember this as the fishing experience of a lifetime, even if they didn't catch many fish.