HILTON HEAD, S.C. – A 16-foot female great white shark was caught and tagged off the coast of Hilton Head on New Year’s Eve.
Fittingly enough, Chip Michalove is captain at a sport fishing charter in South Carolina; he has been obsessed with sharks since he was a young boy.
Michalove parlayed his fascination into a profession, and has operated Outdoor Sport Fishing on Hilton Head for 17 years.
He has also helped tag hundreds of shark, mostly tiger sharks for Ocearch, an organization whose mission is to track the movement and study the behavior and health of sharks in the deep blue sea.
He named the first one Miss Michalove, after his mom.
About 12 years ago, Michalove started to study great whites.
“It took me nearly 12 years to try and figure out the migration, food source and patterns of this amazing animal. Then the trial and error process began on how to stop, and land these fish,” Michalove said, previously.
He said the more he studies, “the more we learn.”
Michalove provides scientists at the Atlantic White Shark Conservancy with tracking information and DNA of the sharks he tags, according to a CBS report.
He’s had numerous encounters recently, including one in March where Michalove was photographed as he stroked the nose of a 2,500 Great white.
This season he had two big catches.
On New Year ’s Eve, his crew hooked a 16-foot great white shark late in the day.
“I wasn’t planning on tagging one in the dark, but she finally showed up late in the day and we made it happen,” he said.
The shark pulled the boat for miles until finally she came to a halt, giving the crew a chance to tag the “monster” and capture a quick video, Michalove told CBS.
He lowered a pole with a GoPro camera attached into the cold water and caught the female swimming back and forth.
“It was pitch black,” Michalove said to CBS. “We weren’t even sure if we’d get one video or picture of this thing.”
A YouTube video of his adventure has already been viewed over 170,000 times, just a few days later.
“I hope it gets people more interested and wanting to protect sharks,” he said to CBS. “There are commercial boats killing hundreds of sharks a day. I hope this gets the public involved to see they’re not just out there eating people; they’re extremely important to the ecology.”
He plans to continue this research and hopes for future encounters.
“Everything’s gone perfect so far,” he said to CBS “I love it. I love the science part of it.”