When California kayak angler Bill Morales hooked a leopard shark late last month, he hardly expected that it would attract a bigger, more notorious fish to the scene. Morales was fishing with his girlfriend off Dana Point in southern California when he hooked a small leopard shark. As he attempts to reel it in, the thrashing fish caught the attention of a great white nearby.
“I had the camera in one hand and I had the shark in the other hand… I had to move my arm back and forth like a piston so that it wouldn’t just pull me over,” Morales told KTLA.
The angler estimated the great white to be around 8 to 10 feet long, and over 400 pounds. Interactions between great whites and anglers trying to preserve their catch generally swing in favor of the shark, and this case was no exception. Despite valiantly trying to wrest his catch back from the shark’s jaws, Morales says the great white managed to consume most of the leopard shark before swimming off. At the end of the fight, there was little more than the head and some pectoral fins.
You can watch video of the catch below:
Great whites, as well as many other larger sharks, are notorious for their habit of stealing fish right off the line. It can be a disheartening experience, especially if you intend on releasing the fish, so anglers are often warned to be aware of their surroundings and practice caution when around sharks. As you can see in the above video, there were a few times when the battle between man and shark nearly tipped Morales’ kayak over. Some have criticized Morales for intentionally fighting the shark and say that if he slipped in, the shark may have had some human for an entree as well. Morales says he was not afraid, even though it is his first great white encounter.
Some observers noted that the great white appeared to be a juvenile, so it may have been more curious than an adult would be. Whatever the case, it seemed to have gained an easy dinner without much investment—other than helping an angler’s video go viral online.