great white shark
Taylor Horton

Hilton Head Man Hooks Up With 15-Foot, 2,600-Pound Great White Shark

This "hog" of a great white was one of seven this crew caught in just a day.

Around the Hilton Head, South Carolina, community, charter fisherman Chip Michalove is known as the "Great White Shark Whisperer." In the last four years, he's hooked up with at least 30 sharks, a number very few shark fishermen can even fathom.

Yet somehow, even he couldn't believe one lucky day off the coast of Hilton Head Island gifted him seven great white shark over the course of eight hours.

"I've never dreamed of seeing that many in one day," he told The Island Packet in an interview. "We were battling great whites for more time than we were waiting for them."

Michalove and the rest of his crew at Outcast Sport Fishing put tracking tags on four of the sharks they caught, so researchers at the Atlantic Shark Institute and the Atlantic White Shark Conservancy could study their behavior, movement, preference of water temperature and so on.

At one point, Michalove gave in to photographer Taylor Horton's request to jump in the water with the shark to get footage for his documentary on great whites.

"We made a game plan for what to do if the shark would whip its head back and would for some reason go at him, but they really aren't looking to feed when we have them on the side of the boat," Michalove said.

After the sixth shark—an 8-foot male great white—the crew wanted to head back and relax. But Michalove begged and convinced them to hang around for one more, wanting to savor every minute of the "legendary" day on the water.

"Thirty minutes later, we had a hog on the line and we had to hook him up and make history," he said.

They were able to bring the shark in, although it wasn't easy to maneuver once it was close to the boat. Michalove claimed the last shark of the day, which was 15 feet long and 2,600 pounds, was the largest male great white shark anyone had ever tagged in the Atlantic Ocean.

"It was almost as wide as the boat, about three fourths of it," he said. "It's always shocking to not only see the length of these sharks, but their width and their power is just incredible."