After getting a close look at the determined creature that attacked his boat three times, a Gulf of Mexico charter fisherman said he’s convinced it was a great white shark.
“I got a good look,” Scott Fitzgerald said of the encounter Monday afternoon about nine miles off Panama City Beach, Fla. “It had triangle-shaped teeth.”
A great white shark sighting in the Gulf is “extremely rare,” Fitzgerald said, although he noted that another great white tagged for research purposes and named Katharine was tracked to the Florida coastline as well.
“It’s definitely something I’ve never seen (before) in these waters, said Fitzgerald, in his ninth year of his deep-sea fishing business, Madfish Charters.
It was about 2:30 p.m. Monday when Fitzgerald and two passengers in his 22-foot boat felt a thump. “At first I thought we’d hit something,” Fitzgerald said. “But that’s crazy because we were in 96 feet of water.”
The shark had gone for Fitzgerald’s electric trolling motors, which held Fitzgerald’s boat above a 40-year-old shipwreck that was attracting amberjack. Concerned about damage to the $2,000 device, Fitzgerald said he pulled the motor out of the shark’s mouth, bringing his hand to within 3 feet of the big teeth. “He had ahold of the stem,” Fitzgerald said.
Some people who have heard Fitzgerald’s report say they think he was visited by a mako shark but Fitzgerald said the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission has confirmed his conclusion.