Marine Jeff Fangman told San Diego's KGTV
Tuesday that he was surprised to find the catch he dragged to shore by hand at Camp Pendleton back in October turned out to be great white shark.
The catch and release back into the Pacific Ocean was caught on video by his wife, Fangman said. It is illegal to hunt great white sharks in several countries, including the United States.
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Fangman made the catch Oct. 27 off the Camp Pendleton coast where he was with his wife and daughter.
"I don't want it to die," Fangman could be heard saying on the video as he asked his wife to cut the line so he could push it back out into the ocean. Fangman told KGTV that it took about 25 minutes to reel the fish in before realizing it was a great white shark.
"The line just started rolling off the reel," Fangman said, realizing that what was on the other line wasn't a normal catch. When he lived in the Gulf Coast, he said he caught other sharks before.
"Bull sharks, tiger sharks, sandbar sharks, lemon sharks," Fangman told KGTV. "Lo and behold, it ended up being a great white."
Fangman said he believed the catch was of a young female great white shark.
"Seeing it in the water was just ... it was almost mind blowing," Fangman said. "It's taken several weeks to get the whole ordeal to sink in."
Great white sharks are one of top predators of the ocean with an ancestry of more than 400 million years. Great whites are also known to be long-distance swimmers, able to make swims from the Hawaiian Islands to California and from South Africa to Australia, researchers have found.
The great white's torpedo shape allows it to swim up to 35 miles per hour. Great whites can live up to 60 years and females gestates their young for about a year before giving birth from two to 12 babies at a time.
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