Out fishing near Port Royal Sound with his girlfriend and a neighbor Friday, Chip Michalove’s trip was successful from the start, hauling in bull redfish and several types of shark in their first few hours on the water.
But Michalove, a champion shark fisherman and captain of Outcast Sport Fishing on Hilton Head Island, hoped for an encounter with a different kind of shark – a great white. Although he hooked four of the sharks from January to March, Michalove thought it was too early in the season to be able to catch one.
Chip Michalove of Outcast Sport Fishing snagged this juvenile great white shark Dec. 11 in Port Royal Sound off Hilton Head Island. Chip Michalove Submitted photo
Then the line tugged, and in Michalove’s words, “took off like a freight train.”
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“It was up on the surface, which is uncharacteristic,” he said. “I knew right off the bat it was something else.”
Around 4 p.m. Friday, a few miles from the mouth of Port Royal Sound, Michalove caught a 7-foot juvenile great white shark. The animal had a stingray tail hanging out of its mouth as it surfaced, he said.
The shark was on the smaller side of the ones he’s caught – two he hooked last winter were more than 2,000 pounds – but it didn’t make it any less exhilarating, he said.
“When you see it move that fast, you move like lightning,” he said. “It just kicks you into another gear. It’s an incredible experience.”
In January, Michalove said he nearly hooked a 15-foot great white – one he said was the largest he had ever seen – battling it for an hour and a half before his line broke.
Michalove said the group took pictures with the shark Friday before he removed the hook, placed a tag on the shark, and released the animal.
“We were just out for a fun fishing day, nothing real big,” he said. “We all went nuts when we caught him. We each reached down, put our hand on the nose, and took a bunch of pictures.”
Michalove said he plans to go back out within the next week to see if there are any other great white sharks in the area.