Kayaker Catches Great White Shark by Accident, Shark Leaps Out of Water
He thought it was a porpoise.
Shark attacks may be on the rise. According to the Florida Museum of Natural History's International Shark Attack File, in 2022, there were 57 unprovoked bites in the entire world, most of which occurred in the United States and Australia. Some attribute the increase in sharks to global warming, while others maintain that the spike in attacks is due to more people in the water.
This summer, several man-versus-shark situations have occurred across the country, ranging from attacks to sharks jumping into boats. The most recent involves a kayaker who accidentally caught a Great White shark when it lept out of the water.
Rick Austin was out on his fishing kayak in Nova Scotia's Minas Basin, fishing for striped bass. "I was one mile off the coast and there were swimmers everywhere," Austin told Newsweek. "I could see them from where I was anchored."However, he ended up hooking a much bigger fish, after feeling a heavy tug on the end of the line. Luckily, he had his camera in hand to document the incident.
"After a few minutes, my reel starts clicking a little bit, and I thought that's weird. So, I start reeling in my other rod," he said, adding that he made sure to switch on his GoPro camera. "I'm so glad I did," he continued. "She's pretty big. Yeah, she's pretty big," you can hear him saying in the video. "Holy liftin'! I mean, seriously people, I got a glimpse of that thing. That thing is massive," he continued. "Jesus Christ. What was that?" he exclaimed, realizing it wasn't a fish he caught. He then lets the creature break free, but keeps his eye on the water.
When the unknown creature popped out of the water, he screamed "Oh Jesus!" and then misidentified the creature. "That's a Porpoise. I gotta let that go."
It wasn't until biologists from the New England Aquarium and the Department of Integrative Biology at the University of Guelph examined the video that he found out that he caught a juvenile Great White shark – not a fish or a porpoise. "I was so excited to get home just to see if the video was any good," he said. "I was so happy that it turned out the way it did [but] I had no idea it was a shark until later that evening."
Austin shared the footage to the Facebook group Striped Bass Fishing Nova Scotia on Sunday evening. "Everyone [was] saying 'that's a shark,'" he said. "Then these professionals got involved. They said that great whites don't typically jump—it's very very rare—but [looking at the footage] they said 100 percent it's a great white shark."
"Oh man, my life could have been done right there," he said. "It definitely was an eye opener for sure. It was an amazing experience [but] it definitely got my heart pumping and adrenaline going. I'll still go out but next, I'll probably try harder to have somebody with me."