Up Close & Personal with a Giant Hammerhead Shark!

Talk about an encounter I'll never forget!

On a recent trip over to the east coast of Florida to shoot a fishing episode, we joined forces with a top-notch local captain for the show and set out for our target species...Cobia. Our tactic this day was to sight giant Manta Rays and sight cast to the Cobia following them.

This wasn't too difficult given our talented captain was well-versed in this method since he's been successful with it for years. He has a very high tower above the deck of the boat to drive from and it's a real advantage when it comes to sighting the Mantas. We definitely caught a few nice cobia that day!

Also known as Devil Rays (the original mascot for the Tampa Bay Rays baseball team), Manta Rays can have up to a 20+ foot wingspan making them somewhat easy to spot in the clear waters along Florida's Space Coast near Cape Canaveral. After catching a few nice Cobia for the show and continuing our search for a few bigger fish, we spotted something in the distance. It was definitely a large shark dorsal fin and as we got closer the shape of the dorsal easily gave away the species of shark...a Hammerhead!

Thanks to our boat motors and the fact the shark didn't submerge as we approached, we were able to easily catch up with this giant beast. As we approached I rushed to get my GoPro camera ready and proceeded to hang dangerously far off the bow of the boat to stick it in the water for some underwater footage of this magnificent specimen. I've never seen a Hammerhead nearly that close in the wild, usually I just spot their dorsal from far away, but this was an experience I will never forget. I'd guesstimate it was about a 15-16ft shark or so...take a look at a couple of the clips from the encounter below!

The boat was moving at a decent speed to keep up with this big guy in the water so it was a bit difficult to keep the camera relatively still as I dangled off the bow. I almost fell off the front of the boat at one point when we hit a few sizable waves and nobody warned me, thankfully I had someone standing right next to me holding onto my belt as I leaned overboard. I have had several close up encounters with sharks over the years while fishing, some intentional and some not, but this definitely tops my list. Now I just need to catch one!
photos & video captured with Canon 80D & GoPro Hero4 - ©2018

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Right place, right time. What an awesome capture. That shark did not flinch one bit, haha. Reminds me of when I was snorkeling in Maui and up came a 7-8 feet gentle green turtle. My encounter was not nearly as scary as yours, but it was really cool swimming next to it for quite some time.


I guess those guys are a bit more chill than others. I jumped in the water years ago to swim after a loggerhead that was about 30 yards away while we were anchored fishing to get some underwater video. When I got within maybe 5 yards it started aggressively swimming towards me and snapping it's beak at me...had to do some emergency backstokes!


That’s is insane, haha. You can’t pay me enough money to get in the water with a shark.


They are curious creatures and usually harmless, I had to tap a few aggressive bull sharks on the nose with my pole tip tho while wade fishing during Summer last year but usually they're not a worry as long as you're not bleeding or have tie line full of fish you caught attached to you


Ah ok. But I still wouldn’t get in the water with these sharks even knowing that they are usually harmless creatures, haha. I’ll let you have all the fun and read or watch about it.


I'll pet one for you next time I'm out wading, their sensory organs are all in their head to detect prey through vibrations in the water. If you scratch their chin they're like a dog getting their ears scratched...if you do it right they actually will roll over and play dead

Nice video! I've never seen a shark, aside from on my dinner plate once. Don't know that I'd want to catch one that big... lol


thanks @fotosdenada, shark steaks are good if cooked right for sure...(insert random fact: If you catch a shark to eat you must immediately bleed it out and gut it then proceed to soak it in milk or something similar overnight, they pee thru their skin and will foul the meat)


This is a really interesting and useful fact. I have seen shark meat at an Asian supermarket, but I wonder if they had put the meat through this process? I guess i’ll never know now.


I believe there is at least a few species that don't...including Mako Sharks

Hammerheads definitely are magnificent, unique and beautiful creatures! @liberty-minded The one you saw was huge and totally without fear. I bet it was an intense and unforgettable experience being out in the middle of the ocean knowing the shark was right below the surface.
Even the Cobia look like warriors with those sharp barbed things on their dorsal fins. Bet they put up a great battle reeling them in!


It was the first time I've ever been so close to one just free swimming. I've seen one up close eating a tarpon I caught before but this was completely different, something I'll definitely never forget!


A hammerhead munched on a tarpon you had on the end of your line? Oh my goodness -- that must have been a sight!


It was pretty intense, just happy I was in a boat!

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