Tourists pay good money for a close-up look at a great white shark, but a group of boaters recently got a free show when a 16-footer poached a chum bag that was hanging over the side of their boat.
On Saturday, Steve Clark took friends out on his 35-foot Everglades center console to 28-Mile Wreck, the site of a World War II shipwreck off Cape May, N.J.
Clark works with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, tagging sharks in the Atlantic off New Jersey as part of a cooperative initiative called the Apex Predators Program, according to a report by NBC Philadelphia.
Near the end of a slow day — Clark's crew caught and released a dusky shark that weighed 150 pounds — the great white came upon their boat and swam around it for about 20 minutes before ripping a chum basket off the side.
“He ripped our chum bag right off,” one male voice is heard saying in exasperation.
"Was it worth it, though?" a woman replies. "I'll buy you a new chum bag. That was amazing."
The shark returned and mouthed the lower unit of the outboard engine.
"We were worried that it was going to harm the engine. It started to mouth it, but it wasn't actually biting down," Clark told NBC Philadelphia. "I think it was just feeling it. It was just cool because she stayed around the boat for so long and really let us look at her."
A recent study conducted by NOAA says great white sharks have increased in number since 2000 because of conservation efforts and an increase in the availability of prey.