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Fisherman captures video of whale shark spotted off Clearwater coast

Posted at 5:28 PM, Jul 19, 2016

A local fisherman caught up-close video of a rare whale shark about 50 miles off the coast of Clearwater this past weekend. 

Jacob Choi took his family visiting from out of town out fishing, and they spotted a large tail in the water.

"There were little white spots on the back," Choi said.

The white spots led him to realize that he was next to a rare whale shark, so he wanted to jump in. 

"I have a life proof case on my phone, so it is waterproof," Choi said, "I can either remember it in my brain, or I can take the iPhone in."

Choi has become familiar with the Gulf of Mexico as he takes people out on charters with Hooked for Life Charters and participates in local competitions with The Kingsmen Fishing Team in Clearwater. 

The whale shark is one of the largest shark species and they are believed to be the largest fish in the water. 

They are usually in warmer water -- so this time is ideal near the Gulf of Mexico. 

As rare as they are, this is the second time Choi has caught video of a whale shark.

"I spoke to a biologist before after the last one I swam with and he said that from time to time they will just swim out here out of curiosity and because they get lost," he said.

Whale sharks are considered filter feeders and are known to be extremely gentle. 

You can share the video on your Facebook page by going to reporter Nicole Grigg's Facebook page here.