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Fishermen hook great white shark off Florida Gulf Coast

11:55 AM, Mar 19, 2013   |    comments
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TREASURE ISLAND, Fla. -- When Fab Marchese sailed into the Gulf of Mexico with Go Fast Fishing Charters, he thought he might come back with grouper.

Instead, the angler visiting from Canada returned with the story of a lifetime: three-and-a-half hours of battle with a great white shark.

"You can't imagine something that big on the end of your rod there," he says. "I was hanging onto this thing no matter what."

Captain Joe Maisano was the one who took him out on the boat. He's seen a lot of sharks, but never a great white like this.

"Big Momma showed up. Wanted to play," he says.

They were 30 miles off the coast of John's Pass and about four hours into their boat ride when they saw what looked like a submarine beside them. A cell phone was recording as they realized it was a great white shark - a rare find that's more than 10 times Marchese's weight, and half the size of their boat.

They let the shark drag them for five miles and set out bait.

Marchese held on with all his strength, reeling as he tried to steady himself inside the boat. He never got to see the shark's teeth, but Maisano did.

"Just like the movies," he says.

The photos and videos are the only proof of their fight. Great whites are protected, and anyone who catches one must let it go or face major fines. But what Maisano and Marchese won't let go of, are the memories.

"Just the vision of seeing that head- it's massive. That's what I'm going to remember most," Marchese says. "This is like a dream come true. I'd never think that something like this is going to happen. It's just like, how am I going to top this off now?"

Ashley Porter, WTSP

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