Playing with Jaws! Heart-stopping moment fisherman PETS a 16-foot great white shark which circled their boat off Tampa coast for three hours and ended up biting their motor
- Four Floridians went fishing in Gulf of Mexico 65 miles offshore on Friday
- They suddenly noticed a 16ft great white shark approaching their boat
- Shark circled the boat for some three hours as it ate chum thrown in the water
- At one point, shark could be seen getting close enough for captain to pet it
- Shark also took a bite of the motor, though no serious damage was caused
A fisherman in the Gulf of Mexico got very close with great white shark circling his boat last week.
Fearless fisherman Tyler Levesque was filmed reaching down to pet the 16ft predator – stroking its nose just inches away from rows and rows of razor-sharp teeth.
Levesque was with friends Erika Almond, of St. Petersburg, Peter Lambie, and Gretchen Cooper on Almond’s 34ft boat, ‘Offshore Therapy,’ on Friday.
The four were trying to hook amberjack fish, some 65 miles southwest of Tampa in 200ft of water in the Gulf of Mexico, when they noticed a large shark swimming towards their boat.
Tyler Levesque is seen above petting a 16ft great white shark while he and three others went fishing in the Gulf of Mexico some 65 miles off the coast of Tampa, Florida, on Friday
Levesque is seen above reaching out as the great white shark approaches on Friday
The brave captain manages to push the shark away from the boat
Almond said: ‘It’s not unusual, we expect sharks when you’re fishing and chumming like that but what made this unique was it was about a 14- to 16-foot great white shark.
At one point, the shark was seen coming within inches of one of the fishermen.
‘It was breathtaking,’ Almond told WTVT-TV. ‘We couldn’t believe what we were seeing.’
‘At one point he even rolled over like he wanted us to rub his belly,’ Almond said, adding that it then, ‘came right up and took a chunk out of one of our motors.’
‘We knew it was a special moment,’ said Almond. ‘It’s truly an amazing experience to see all the things we see offshore and you never know what you’re going to find.’
The huge shark is seen above swimming toward the boat in the Gulf of Mexico on Friday
At one point, the shark tries to take a bite out of the boat’s motor (above)
Fortunately the shark just grazed the motor with its teeth and no real damage was done
The shark is seen above as it swam by their boat off the coast of Florida on Friday
Great white sharks are the largest predatory fish on Earth and can grow up to 20 feet in length and weigh over 5,000 pounds.
Although frequently portrayed as ‘mindless killers’ – mainly due to blockbuster movies like Steven Spielberg’s Jaws – great white sharks are actually very sensitive, intelligent creatures which have little interest in eating humans.
According to National Geographic, great whites are highly adaptive predators, and their mouths are lined with up to 300 serrated, triangular teeth arranged in several rows, and they have an exceptional sense of smell to detect prey.
They even have organs that can sense the tiny electromagnetic fields generated by animals.
Their main prey items include sea lions, seals, small toothed whales, and even sea turtles, and carrion.
According to the Florida Fish & Wildlife Conservation Commission, it is quite rare to see sharks in the Gulf.
Wildlife experts said that more sharks in the water bodes well for the oceanic environment.
‘The white sharks are migrating right now to Florida’s warmer waters and their population is definitely growing, which is good for the ocean,’ said Dr. Robert Hueter of the Mote Marine Laboratory & Aquarium in Sarasota, Florida.