A central-Florida spearfisherman came face-to-face with a MASSIVE great white shark 20-miles off of Port Canaveral last week. Joe Penovich owns the Grills Seafood Deck & Tiki Bar in Port Canaveral and lives out the life of someone you’d expect to own a fresh seafood restaurant in Florida. He’s an avid spearfisherman who spends his free time freediving with his friends and family in search of the next great catch. It jus so happened that this recent trip offshore brought him with 12-feet of a gargantuan great white shark, and he was armed only with his tiny speargun. I’m sure at the time the shark was circling his area that spear gun felt like it was about as powerful as a plastic squirt gun.
When you live in Florida it’s never a question of whether or not you fish, or if you’re a fisherman. Everyone who lives in the Sunshine State gets bit by the fishing bug at some point or another, it’s just a question of what form that fishing bug takes: are you going to be a (freshwater) bass fisherman, an in-shore flats fisherman looking to catch things like snook and redfish, are you going to devote your time to offshore fishing targeting the powerful pelagic species and/or the bottom feeders like grouper and snapper, or last but not least, are you going to buy a speargun and test out the power of your lungs? Often with spearfishing it’s a progression of events in life that brought you to spearfishing, rarely have I ever seen someone jump right into spearfishing as their main form of angling, but I’m sure it happens. More often than not a diehard spearfisherman is someone who has spent years fishing and is looking for the next step in fishing, and spearfishing is often that next level of devotion. You’re feet from the fish and stalking them like a predator on their turf, instead of dangling a lure or bait in the water in hopes of tricking the fish to bite.
A Central Florida fisherman had a close encounter with a great white shark.
And he just happened to have a camera to capture the moment.
The man was spear fishing off the coast of Port Canaveral when he came face-to-face with the big fella. “I couldn’t believe what I was watching,” said Joe. “This thing was enormous…it had no fear.”
Grills restaurant owner Joe Penovich, his daughter, and his friend Zack, were out spearing for Lionfish when they came up on a much bigger one.
“He came up and said hand me the GoPro there’s a great white shark on the bottom. I kind of said ‘are you sure about this?’ (laughs) At the same time my daughter was yelling..I was yelling,” said Joe.
Zack was only feet from the 12 foot shark, and armed with a spear.
The incident happened about 20 miles southeast of Port Canaveral.
“Honestly, it was like a scene out of ‘Jaws,'” said Joe.
Thankfully no one was hurt.
Joe said while it’s a rare sighting, fisherman are seeing this more often.
Just imagine getting this close, 20-miles offshore, probably hours away from the nearest hospital:
What blows my mind about this entire encounter is that unlike most spearfisherman who are extremely wary of sharks, Joe saw that there was a great white on the bottom and swamp back down to meet it.