SAN FRANCISCO (KPIX) – What began as an ordinary fishing trip on the San Francisco Bay, turned into a scene from a Hollywood shark thriller.
Captain Joey Gamez of Golden Gate Sport Fishing says he’s been making these excursions 4 to 5 days a week for the last twenty years but Saturday morning’s catch literally took his breath away.
A great white shark dragged Gamez’s boat around for about two miles for more than an hour. He says was with six other fishermen about a half-mile out from Alcatraz when he made the surprise catch.
“The force was almost like hooking into a Volkswagen that was a hundred feet deep and just trying to hold on to the rod and reel,” said Gamez, of Tracy. “It almost pulled me into the water at one point. It’s the biggest thing I’ve ever fought in my life that’s for sure.”
Gamez released the great white back into the water.
“We’re in their home so, it’s a scary thing, but it was an adrenaline rush, for sure, for everybody on the boat,” he added.
The California Department of Fish and Wildlife says it is illegal to fish for or catch great whites, as they are protected in the state, and by federal regulations. They must be immediately released, even if accidentally caught.
Gamez says this shark appeared to be between 6 1/2 to 8 feet long.
He has been taking fishermen out on the water about four to five times a week for the last twenty years.
“We’ve never hooked into a big shark like that, we’ve caught sharks 3 to 400 pounds but we’ve never caught a great white shark,” said Gamez
In the last week, sightings of great white sharks off the coast of Half Moon Bay have prompted an alert from the sheriff’s office to use caution.
In 2015, a family of tourists shot cellphone video of an unusual sighting near Alcatraz when they happened upon a great white eating a sea lion.
Experts say the warmer weather generally attracts great whites to the ocean surface, so sightings in the Bay Area may become more common this time of year.