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Canadian Fisherman Accidentally Catches Great White on Hook - and On Camera

When you go fishing in the abyss, there's no telling what you'll reel in.

By Cassidy Ward
Behind the scenes of Jaws: The Revenge (1987)

An unexpected visit from a great white shark is usually a recipe for disaster. Just ask the New England residents of Steven Spielberg’s summer horror classic, Jaws if you don’t believe. If you’re unfortunate enough to find yourself in one-on-one combat with a white shark, it’s usually the last thing you ever do. Recently, however, a fisher in Nova Scotia went toe-to-tail with a great white, lived to tell the tale, and got the whole thing on camera.

Rick Austin was fishing for bass about a mile offshore and he wasn’t having much luck. When he caught a mackerel, he decided to throw it back on the hook, and something took the bait. That’s when he turned on his GoPro and captured once-in-a-lifetime footage of a hooked shark leaping out of the water.

A Classic Story of Man vs. Fish

“She’s pretty big. Yeah, she’s pretty big,” Austin can be heard saying in the video. With an effort, he reels in his catch, watching as it swims beneath his vulnerably small vessel. “Let’s have a look,” Austin says, before a dramatic shift in tone. “Jesus Christ, what the f—k was that? I got a glimpse of that thing. That thing is massive.”

RELATED: Great White Sharks More Common and More Chill Than We Thought

Roughly the same size as Austin’s kayak, the fish swims back out toward open water before bursting several feet above the surface. It’s a brief appearance, but the power of the animal is evident. Austin can be heard speculating that he’d captured a porpoise, which are protected, so he cut the line. Video of the incident was posted by Austin in the Facebook group Striped Bass Fishing Nova Scotia, where biologists from the New England Aquarium and the University of Guelph, in Ontario, confirmed it was a white shark. You can check out the video on YouTube here.

Liz Great White Shark GETTY

Fortunately for Austin, he captured a shark that hadn’t yet come into its full power. Experts estimate the shark was a juvenile, coming in at a meager 1.8 – 2.4 meters (6 – 8 feet) in length and roughly 90 – 110 kilograms (200 – 250 pounds).

"Oh man, my life could have been done right there. It definitely was an eye opener for sure. It was an amazing experience [but] it definitely got my heart pumping and adrenaline going. I'll still go out but next, I'll probably try harder to have somebody with me,” Austin said of the encounter, via Newsweek.
We’re glad no one was harmed (human or shark) and that Austin’s love of the ocean hasn’t been hindered. But seeing that shark swim beneath that tiny kayak made one thing abundantly clear: if you’re going back out there, you’re going to need a bigger boat.

Catch the entire Jaws saga in all of its aquatic (and occasionally 3D glory) available from Universal Pictures.

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