TREASURE ISLAND, Fla. - "Only get one shot at this in your life," said Captain Joe Maisano, of Go Fast! Fishing Charters, the charter boat fishing captain.
"That's a 150-pound Power Pro," said Canadian angler Fab Marchese, describing the fishing rod.
"I wasn't letting go of that rod. I wanted it," said Marchese, laughing. He's the guy who caught the great white shark in the Gulf of Mexico.
"I fish a lot of bass tournaments back home in Canada," said Marchese.
His Gulf of Mexico catch might have been just an 18-foot, 2,500-pound fish tale, without the video.
"Oh my God! It's huge!" you can hear the fishermen yell on video taken of the catch.
The video was shot aboard Go Fast! fishing charters ( www.gofastfishing.com ). Captain Joe Maisano dropped a big hunk of Bonita fish bait about 30 miles off of Treasure Island, when a great white shark moved in for lunch.
"No mistaking it. Nothing else that big out there," said Captain Maisano.
After a three-and-a-half hour fight, they called it a fair catch and cut her loose.
"Captain Joe did say, 'he's got you' and I said, 'no way, I got him,'" recalled Marchese.
The great white is a protected species.
"It is unusual but it's not unheard of," said Eric Hovland, shark expert at the Florida Aquarium.
According to Hovland, great whites pass through the Gulf, sometimes hunting food, but they are more likely to stay in deep, cool water.
"When you hit 80, 90 feet, you hit a thermal cline and the temperature can change as much as 10 degrees or more and you really feel that. Now then you get down into water, that this time of year, that's probably even in the upper 50s, which is more than native range of great whites," he said.
Mote Marine scientists and a group called Ocearch ( www.ocearch.org ) caught and tagged a female great white off Jacksonville just last week.
Not many captains can prove they have.
"Pretty much the top of the mountain. Not much you can do past this," said Maisano.
Now the freshwater fisherman is hooked.
"Better than your biggest Bass?" I asked.
Oh yeah. I'll say," said Marchese.
Video of the catch, which includes some coarse language, can be viewed at http://youtu.be/z8jJpVMG59Q .