HILTON HEAD ISLAND, SC (WIS) - It's difficult not to compare her to Jaws.
A 2,500 pound great white shark was hooked by an angler off the coast of Hilton Head Island Tuesday. But Captain Chip Michalove's boat, OUTCAST, was big enough for this one.
Michalove shared photos of the shark on his Outcast Sport Fishing Facebook page. According to the post, a client from Bulls Gap, TN hooked the shark Tuesday afternoon.
After a struggle to reel her in lasting more than four hours, they got her to the OUTCAST.
"We started off catching a few bull redfish, then we hooked into this big lady at 2:50pm," reads the post. "We weren't exactly sure how big she was, initially, but after a 2 minute blistering run, she jumped completely out of the water, I wish I had a shot of that. After an insane battle, we ended up getting her boat side at about 7pm to apply an acoustic tag near the dorsal and take DNA sample from her pec fin. She swam off healthy and looking forward to finding out where our South Carolina great whites go."
"It's definitely the largest I've ever landed," Michalove told WIS.
"There is an area that seems to see a lot of great whites on a regular basis," he said. To protect the area, the exact location wasn't given, but Michalove said it was "within sight of land."
It took so long to get the shark to the boat, the anglers on board had to use the lights of their cell phones to illuminate the tagging process.
Michalove has a special interest in sharks.
"I've been obsessed with sharks since I was little," he said.
"Last January I had my first great white experience, never in my wildest dreams would I have imagined that we're getting to the point where we see one almost every trip out," the post continued. "It took me nearly 12 years to try and figure out the migration, food source and patterns of this amazing animal. Then the trial and error process began on how to stop, and land these fish. Lots of errors, lots of heartbreaking mistakes along the way were made....this is, unequivocally, the most intelligent fish I've ever seen."
Michalove has a Captain Quint of his own:
"As an old great white fisherman once told me, "you're going to hook less than half of the whites you see, they're that smart". He was right, and the more we study, the more we learn. Nothing illegal was done, and the shark is now going to give us lots of data...so no hate mail. Life is good!"
"This thing could have eaten any tiger shark I've ever caught," he said. "She was so wide. She was shaped like an egg. She was extremely girthy."
He said she was as wide as a Clydesdale horse.
"We just pulled it alongside the boat."
Although this shark may be huge, she's not the biggest seen in South Carolina. A tagged great white shark known as Mary Lee spent some time off the Grand Strand in 2012. Mary Lee weighed 3,456 pounds and was 16 feet long.
Michalove took a DNA sample from the shark's fin and tagged her with an acoustic device so she could be tracked.
The South Carolina Department of Natural Resources does not keep records on great white sharks because they are a protected species, but the record shark caught in South Carolina was a 1,780 pound Tiger Shark caught in 1964 off the Cherry Grove Pier. Click here for a link to the SCDNR Salt Water Fish records.
Michalove said great white sharks migrate to the waters off the South Carolina coast during the winter. As to concerns about them attacking humans, he said they rarely come within the surf along the shoreline and there is no record of a great white shark attacking a human in South Carolina.
"People swimming on the beaches have nothing to worry about," he said.