California Beachgoer Untangles Great White Shark Stuck In Fishing Line

A person is standing in the water with a surfboard

Great white sharks have a fearsome reputation as arguably the scariest animal on the planet.

It is a reputation they’ve earned, because have you ever seen those things attack their prey? Nothing in nature is more terrifying than the site of those razor sharp jaws breaking the surface of the water like a rocket ship to hammer a seal, or a bird, a whale, a surfer, or whatever.

Despite being one of the most feared creatures on earth, great sharks can still find themselves in precarious situations in the wild. One man looked past that toothy reputation earlier this week though, when he sprung into action after witnessing a juvenile great white shark entangled in fishing line off the coast of California.

According to Fox 5 San Diego, the incident was filmed by Kelly Bailey who explained that no one knew that the stuck fish the man waded into the water to save was a great white shark until he aided it out of the water.

“I was walking over towards the Jetty where my son and his cousins were exploring and I noticed a fishing line pulling from far out in the water. 

I then saw a man reeling in a large marine reel and another man running towards the water with a spear.

After the man was fighting to reel in what we all thought was a sport fish, was told by the other man holding the spear that it was in fact a shark.

I started filming hoping to see a big fish so I just kept it going. Once it got to the beach, we all could tell it was a great white.”

The shark became tangled in the fishing line after it was incidentally hooked, so simply cutting the line and letting swim free was not an option.

“Pretty wild scene playing out on the beach in Carlsbad, at Tamarack. Two fishermen caught a great white shark, then had to cut it loose & pull it back into the water to save it.

Plenty of people nearby at the time–many of whom didn’t quite realize what was lurking behind them.

Video shot by my friend Kelly Bailey over the weekend by Tower 34. She says a lot of people started to gather around as it all played out.

Lifeguards also witnessed it, but didn’t shut down the beach or put up any shark warnings. Nobody appeared to be hurt and the shark swam off.”

A spokesman for California State Parks said Wednesday that their team reviewed the footage and determined that the shark was likely a year old and hunting stingrays and fish in the shallower water.

“For this scenario we would not post signs or close the beach for two reasons. The first is that a White Shark this small primarily feeds on fish and sting rays.

Secondly, this was a non-active interaction, the shark was not seen in the aquatic recreation zone prior to or after its release.

The only reason it was seen in the aquatic recreation zone was because it was manually brought to shore by the fisherman.”

A beer bottle on a dock



A beer bottle on a dock