Fishing charter gets a rare close encounter with a whale shark

MADEIRA BEACH, Florida – The people aboard a private fishing charter in Madeira Beach have an incredible story.

Last week, while on a fishing trip with Hubbard’s Marina, a whale shark was spotted. It’s not uncommon, but what he did, is.

David Singletaire

“It’s very rare that they come up to us and hang around. And this thing dragged. It felt like we were at SeaWorld. Guys were saying it was something they had never seen before,” said owner and vice president of Hubbard’s Marina Capt. Dylan Hubbard.

The whale shark is an endangered species. They’re highly shielded, so you’re not allowed to interact with them, but Hubbard said the shark won’t leave the side of the boat.

“It lasted about 30 minutes until we finally had to maneuver the ship away from the whale shark. He was ready to spend the day with us. He was hanging beside the boat, approaching and looking at the boat, sticking its head out of the water,” Hubbard said.

The shark sighting occurred between 15 and 18 miles from shore.

“That clear, clean water with that full moon bringing in a lot of algae is what drew this whale shark closer to shore and allowed us to spot it,” Hubbard said.

The shark was about the same length as the 40ft boat they were in. Despite its size, the whale shark poses no threat to humans.

Robert A. Glidden