Local angler's amazing catch: reeling in a great white shark - CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8

Local angler's amazing catch: reeling in & releasing a great white shark

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CAMP PENDLETON (CBS 8) - It was undoubtedly avid angler Jeff Fangman's greatest catch, documented on video: a nine-and-a-half foot great white shark reeled in, and then freed, from the coast of Camp Pendleton.

"I didn't realize it was a great white while I was catching it, but I knew it was something heavy," the former marine told CBS News 8.

Originally from the Gulf Coast, the experienced fisherman who now lives in Southern California, had previously caught almost every kind of shark, from bull and blacktips to sandbar and spinner sharks - but never a great white.

That changed in late October, though, after a family fishing expedition on a Camp Pendleton beach with his wife, daughter and dog exceeded all of their expectations.

"There's not many people who can say they've touched a great white or let alone caught one on the beach," Fangman said.

Using a piece of stingray as bait, Fangman had been fishing in that same spot along the shore for more than two hours with little luck, until suddenly, he felt a pull on his fishing pole.

"All of a sudden it bowed over and the line was just rolling off the reel," Fangman exclaimed, "and then I realized I had something!"

After nearly half an hour, he managed to reel in his combative catch as his wife Aldrei captured it all on the family's video camera.

"(My wife) was shocked, she was surprised just as much as I was," Fangman added.

Once in shallow water, Fangman wasted no time in posing with his temporary conquest.

"I know it's just a beautiful creature, a great white. I was so shocked," he recalled. "It is a big strong fish and it's like solid muscle. It didn't really move when it was on the beach."

At one point, Fangman even calmly opened the great white's mouth, showing off its rows of razor-sharp teeth for the camera.

Just a couple minutes after reeling his catch on - and after measuring the healthy nine-and-a-half foot juvenile female - Fangman then quickly guided her back to her native habitat.

"She was really calm, and as soon as I got here back in to deep enough water where she could move, she was moving her tail and swimming right back into the ocean," he said.

Earlier this year, California's Fish and Game Commission voted to consider listing great white sharks as an endangered species. The commission is expected to make its final decision next Spring.

For a closer look at Jeff Fangman's amazing catch, CLICK HERE >>

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