A great white shark breaching the water while chasing a meal isn’t unheard of in nature.
But Hap Farrell, captain of the Stunmai II, a charter boat out of Rock Harbor in Orleans, was lucky enough to catch the act on camera.
Farrell had his video camera rolling on Saturday as a great white shark launched its body out of the ocean and snagged one of his client’s stripers right off his line during a fishing expedition.
“It’s not an unusual occurrence, but the fact that I had a video camera at the time, I was able to get the shot,” said Farrell. “You can’t plan something like that.”
In the video, a group of people can be seen huddled at the back of Farrell’s vessel as they try to reel in a large striper to bring aboard. As the fish gets closer, a great white suddenly cuts through the water’s surface, and soars into the air.
The predator does a sort-of front-flip, briefly exposing its white underbelly as it grips the fish between its razor-sharp teeth. Just as quickly, the shark slips back into the murky green waters.
As it breached, the people on the boat — including Farrell — let out a collective “whoa!”
“The fish just came right straight out of the water, with the fish in its mouth,” said Farrell. “It cut it right behind the gill plate, then it hit the water.”
Farrell said it was the second time that day that a great white had snagged a striper right off someone’s line while he was out on a fishing trip with clients. But in the first instance, the shark didn’t make the same dramatic breach out of the water.
It seems that great white sharks patrolling the waters in Cape Cod Bay have made a hobby of stealing people’s stripers.
In July, for example, two fishermen reported having their catches ripped from their fishing lines while out near Scorton Ledge, a popular spot located between Sandwich and Barnstable.
“This has happened to seven or eight other boats in the last two to three weeks,” Farrell claims. “I just happened to catch it on video.”