TAMPA (CBSMiami/CNN) – As anyone will tell you, there’s a big difference between knowing sharks are around and seeing one up close.
A fisherman who found himself face to face with a large hammerhead caught the entire fight on camera.
Captain Rob Gorta was trying to get a hook out of a tarpon’s mouth when a giant hammerhead tried to take over.
“He just took it out of my hand,” said Gorta.
The shark tried to take off with the tarpon, but it was still on the fishing line.
Gorta, who lives in Largo, estimated that hammerhead shark to be 14 feet long and about 13 hundred pounds. He said he didn’t see it coming because he was focused on the tarpon’s hook.
“I was gonna take out the hook. Well, all of a sudden the hammerhead ripped the fish right out of my hands. This is one hundred and eighty-pound fish that it took from me, so imagine the size of the shark,” Gorta said.
Gorta said his close encounter with the shark happened in early June while they were fishing near the Sunshine Skyway bridge.
Gorta said the size of the tarpon prevented him from trying to save that fish from the jaws of the hammerhead.
“We don’t want to drag a fish that big in and risk getting knocked in the water where there’s a monster shark swimming around us, number one. And number two, it’s a state law that you cannot lift a tarpon over 40 inches out of the water,” he said.
The giant shark circled the boat and patiently waited for Gorta to get the hook out. Once the fish was released, the hammerhead snatched up and swam off.
“It was just an incredible experience I’ll never forget it for the rest of my life. I was lucky enough to capture it on GoPro video,” he said.