JUPITER, FL (WFLX) - Two local fishermen say they had an unexpected and rare deep sea encounter.
Travis Kunz and John Garretson were fishing four to five miles off the coast of Jupiter when they say a great white shark swam up to their boat. "The great white appeared, and John was actually the first guy to see it and says, 'You won't believe the size of the shark under our boat,'" Kunz said.
The shark, they say, was about 3/4 the length of their 24-foot boat. "We literally (had) an 11- to 15-foot great white shark right next to our boat," Kunz said.
Grant Gilmore with the Florida Oceanographic Society watched the footage the fisherman captured of the shark, and says it's likely a juvenile.
Garretson says the shark stayed around their boat for nearly 10 minutes. "We both thought it was going to ram the boat," Kunz said.
Gilmore says it's unusual to see a great white shark this time of year, but believes we could start seeing more. He says juvenile sharks tend to follow sharpnose sharks that are migrating through the area. "It got your heart beating for sure," said Garretson. The encounter made for great video, and a great story for the fishermen.
He's now more excited than ever for what they'll see on their next deep sea trip. "One of the coolest things I've ever seen in the water," Garretson said.
Gilmore says he has been studying sharks for more than 40 years and says he does consider these great white sightings to be more common in recent years.
He says that could be because more people have cellphones and video recorders and can frequently capture footage that can prove to researchers exactly what kind of sharks they have seen.