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Madeira Beach fishing charter gets rare, up-close encounter with whale shark

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Posted at 4:48 PM, May 23, 2022
and last updated 2022-05-23 17:08:13-04

MADEIRA BEACH, Fla.  — Folks aboard a private fishing charter in Madeira Beach have an incredible tale.

Last week, while on a fishing trip with Hubbard's Marina, a whale shark was spotted. This isn’t uncommon, but what it did, is.

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“It’s very rare that they come up to us and hang out. And that thing hung out. It was like we were at SeaWorld. The guys were saying it was something they’ve never seen before,” said Owner and Vice President of Hubbard’s Marina Capt. Dylan Hubbard.

The whale shark is an endangered species. They are highly protected so you’re not allowed to interact with them, but Hubbard said the shark would not leave the boat’s side.

“It hung out for about 30 minutes until we had to finally maneuver the vessel away from the whale shark. It was ready to spend the day with us. It was hanging upside next to the boat, coming up and looking at the boat, bringing its head out of the water,” said Hubbard.

The shark sighting happened between 15 to 18 miles from the shore.

“That clean clear water with that full moon bringing a lot of algae in is what attracted that whale shark closer to shore and enabled us to spot him,” Hubbard said.

The shark was about the same length as the 40 ft. boat they were in. Despite its size, the whale shark does not pose any threat to humans.