Michalove, charter captain at Outcast Sport Fishing who is also known as Hilton Head’s Great White Shark Whisperer, hooked the estimated 17-foot, 3,500-pound shark just a few miles off the coast of Hilton Head.
Michalove and his crew had already caught, tagged, and released a 10-foot great white shark that morning, but they weren’t ready to call it a day. Jon Dodd, cofounder of the Atlantic Shark Institute, had flown in over the weekend and since Tuesday was his last day, they wanted to make the most of it.
After a couple hours of waiting in the wind, Michalove felt something “enormous” tug on the line.
“Her dorsal fin came several feet out of the water,” Dodd said. “It was spectacular to see.”
Dodd has caught more than 1,000 sharks in his 30 years in the business. And had never seen a shark that big.
“Right when we saw her, I said ‘ we got a freight train on that line,” Michalove said. “She was so big she didn’t even know she was hooked for a while. She just kept swimming.”
But then she started to feel pressure from the line, Michalove said.
“This is a shark with really no predators in the Atlantic, so she’s not shook up by much. But you could tell she started to realize what was going on,” Michalove said.
That’s when the great white showed off her hulking, powerful anatomy as her tail and fin hit the water.
“She gave a few violent head shakes that were just about breaking her back,” Michalove said. “Then she spit the hook and we lost her. “
Though Michalove was sorry to have lost her, he was happy she was still out there.
“I’m telling you there is a submarine with a tail off the coast of Hilton Head right now,” Michalove. “I hope I get her next time.”
The crew was so fired up they stayed around a bit, hoping she’d return.
A couple hours later, a second 10-foot great white shark hit the line, Dodd and Michalove said. They did what they could to reel the shark in, but were both so exhausted from the two earlier fights that they couldn’t get the shark close enough to the boat to tag it.
And that’s Michalove’s goal — to place a satellite tracking tag on the shark that gives scientists and shark... as it swims thousands of miles through the Atlantic.
Michalove has been working with scientists at the Atlantic Shark Conservancy in Chatham, Mass., to study the patterns of great white sharks.
On Tuesday, Michalove tagged the first 10-foot male shark he caught with an acoustic tag for Dr. Greg Skomal’s study with Massachusetts Marine Fisheries, so scientists can help track the fish through the ocean.