POINT PLEASANT, N.J. (CBSNewYork) — A group of fishermen off the Jersey Shore coast had a close encounter with a great white shark that suddenly appeared Monday.
The five Toms River fishermen were about 30 miles from the shore and nearing the end of a 13-hour day at sea, but the sight of a shark certainly woke them up.
It was roughly 18-feet long, about 3,000 pounds and hungry.
“When you’re out there in a boat like that with a fish that big, you feel very small,” Steve Minkema told CBS2’s Ali Bauman.
They left Toms River in the middle of the night Monday. Hours later, they spotted a shark in the distance.
“You just saw the dark coloration on the top and some white on its side,” Captain Jeff Crilly said.
“It circled two or three times before it actually came at us aggressively,” Sean Smida said.
“And then it just snapped like that. It attacked our chum bag, tore the chum bag off the boat,” Raymond Kerico said.
Its teeth scratched the stern and could have done a lot more damage.
“I think it could’ve easily, if it wanted to, slid into the boat,” Crilly said. “It was like being in the movie ‘Jaws.’ That’s the closest thing to it. Like, this is exactly what it was.”
Crilly already has a “Jaws” tattoo on his forearm.
“We wanted to be there and touch it, but at the same time, we were backing away because we didn’t know what it was gonna do,” he said.
But the seasoned seamen were too excited to be scared.
“You’re there. You have no choice, so what are you gonna do? Just enjoy the moment,” Minkema said.
Eventually, the great white ran out of chum and quietly swam away.
“We’ve been fishing together for 15 years, and it was the best moment probably we’ll have ever on the water,” Kerico said.
The fishermen are actually in the middle of a week-long fishing competition, so they’ll be back out on the water every day this week.