Fisherman Reels In A Massive Beast And Is Forced To Think Quickly

Ask most fisherman, and they’ll tell you their favorite pastime isn’t so much about catching fish as it is about relaxing on the calm waters. But every so often, fishermen can see a lot of action, and the setting can turn from serene to intense fast.

One summer, Captain Ben Chancey found himself with something on the end of his line that probably made him wish he was on solid ground. When you see what he pulled from the water, you’ll agree: he definitely needed a bigger boat!

Catching a fish in the ocean isn’t nearly as simple as movies or television might make it look. Fish are a whole lot bigger when you’re out at sea, and they’re more than willing put up a fight. A boat captain named Ben Chancey learned that firsthand when he was fishing on the open ocean last summer.

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It was a sunny summer morning. Ben and a few of his friends wanted to make use of the great weather, so they hopped in their boats and headed out to sea. Once they were far enough away from shore, Ben jumped into a flotation device and grabbed his fishing rod.

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Ben bobbed up and down in the water for several minutes with his fishing line submerged. This particular area was teeming with fish — Ben and his friends had caught some decent-sized fishes there in the past.

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This time around, Ben suddenly felt a hard pull on his line. That was when his flotation device was actually dragged by whatever had snagged the other end. Ben was no stranger to a good open sea tug-of-war: he was ready to fight!

Chew On This / YouTube

Ben held on tight as the creature twisted this way and that, pulling the small raft back and forth. For a brief moment, he was nervous that he was going to fall overboard, but he maintained his concentration and continued to hold steady. What was this thing?

Ben’s friend, who was filming the ordeal, panned the camera down to the surface of the water to see if they could determine what the mystery creature was. It was clear something big was lurking down there, but the ripples made it impossible to see clearly.

Common Dreams

Even Ben wasn’t quite sure what it was, and he was floating mere feet above it! The fishing line was still snagged on it, so Ben knew he had a chance to bring it to the surface. Whatever this thing was, it was extremely heavy. Ben just hoped it wasn’t dangerous…

Discovery

With all of his might, Ben yanked on the end of his fishing rod. To the shock of all his friends who were watching, Ben pulled the creature close enough to the surface of the water that it started splashing about like a maniac!

Chew On This / YouTube

After 15 brutal minutes of going back and forth with the animal, it finally seemed to be giving in to Ben’s tenacity. Ben’s rod stopped moving erratically, and the captain slowly brought the mystery beast to the surface.

Chew On This / YouTube

It was a huge Goliath grouper! The exasperated Ben reeled the equally exhausted fish over to his raft and let out a cheer of victory. In this battle of man versus beast, man had clearly come out on top!

Chew On This / YouTube

While it surely took a great amount of courage for Ben to fight such a monstrous fish from such a tiny raft, just a few hundred miles west, a man named George Saber, below, was doing battle with his own monster of the deep…

Fox 13

The catch in question took place just off the coast of Corpus Christi, where George was out for a day of fishing on the open ocean. Unlike Ben with his raft, however, George opted to make a kayak his vessel of choice on that fateful day.

Yakman / YouTube

For George, the fish bit almost immediately. Within the first few minutes, he pulled a number of fish out of the water — he even caught sight of a large turtle as it swam by! The ocean definitely appeared to be quite active on this late afternoon.

Tim Sheerman-Chase / Flickr

After catching several large bait fish, George cast out some live bait as he drifted back to shore. With a flick of his wrist, George sent his largest piece of bait out into the murky depths of the water surrounding him.

Yakman / YouTube

The bait swam around unbothered for a time until George felt a sharp tug at his line. Judging by the feel of the rod, George believed he’d hooked a stingray — nothing he could keep, but a catch nonetheless. He slowly reeled the creature toward his kayak.

Yakman / YouTube

Bringing the fish closer to his boat, George realized that he hadn’t hooked a stingray after all: he had caught a small shark! But before he could bring the little guy on board, George knew he had to wear him out first.

Once the shark was good and tired, George lifted him on board so he could take a few pictures with him; given that the shark was so small, George felt that he would hardly pose much danger. After all, what harm could this little guy really do? Well…

Yakman / YouTube

As soon as the shark hit the kayak, things took a turn for the worse. The shark thrashed violently and flipped itself toward its captor. Before George could react the shark lunged at him, nearly taking a chunk out of his feet!

Yakman / YouTube

The shark gnashed its teeth as it wriggled closer and closer to George, chomping wildly on his seat before deciding that the harsh plastic wasn’t worth the bite. But before the shark could make a meal out of his captor, George quickly flipped him back into the water.

With his fingers and toes intact, George pulled the shark into the boat one last time. After nabbing the perfect picture, George tossed the shark back into the water, putting an end to what could’ve been a disastrous day.

Yakman / YouTube

While Ben and George received the toothy scare of their lives, thankfully the shark was just a lil’ guy. They were safe and sound, those threatening fangs never touching their vulnerable skin. Unfortunately for Cali guy James White, his beastly encounter saw a bit more bloodshed.

The Meg

Rohnert Park, California, resident James White has a knack for fishing. At least he thought he did. But that all changed when what was supposed to be an easy day of casting off in the Pacific proved to be much more hair-raising.

NBC Bay Area

James settled into a spot by the shore at Bodega Bay, an area not far from San Francisco that appeared to be tame and quiet. As he expected, the morning started out slow — but then he felt a tug on his line.

Grasping his fishing rod firmly in his hand, James felt that long-awaited pull, but strangely, it was more aggressive than usual. It was so vigorous, in fact, that the burly fisherman struggled to reel in the catch.

Odyssey

White told NBC Bay Area that this went on for a staggering 10 minutes. “The only way I think I was able to get the line back is because it was swimming towards me,” James said of the encounter.

People

While James pulled with all his might, he caught a glimpse of the aquatic creature as it got closer to the shallows. Still yanking on his sturdy fishing rod, the wire taut, James’ eyes widened with utter shock.

The fisherman was hauling in a 6-foot long sevengill shark! Cue the Jaws music. Clearly not having been in the best headspace, James tried removing the hook from the shark’s mouth. It didn’t go well.

Monterey Bay Aquarium

Reacting impulsively to James’ approach, the predator immediately sunk his teeth into James’ bare, vulnerable ankle. The water soon turned a crimson hue, and James was beyond scared. He could tell the shark had done serious damage.

See, “the teeth in their [sevengill sharks] upper jaws are sharp and jagged which they use to hold onto prey.” No doubt James felt a good number of them sinking into his leg and refusing to let go.

Consequence of Sound

“The first bite punctured an artery,” he told NBC Bay Area. “The pressure was intense.” In that moment, a panicked James desperately cried out for help, hoping a nearby fisherman would come to his rescue. No person heard him.

CNN International

However, James White is the owner of a then 1-year-old, 100-pound pit bull named Darby. The dog loves James very much, and he’d do anything to protect him…even if that means facing off against a giant ocean predator.

NBC Bay Area

And while James was gone fishin’, the silver and white doggo was left to relax in the nearby car. Darby hung out of the open windows and contently watched from afar until he heard a distressed James yell for help. He sprang into action.

NY Daily News

Once he reached James and the shark, Darby’s initial instinct was to bite the shark’s gills. That only made the enormous toothy fish angrier, as it gnawed deeper into James’ damaged ankle. His blood continued to flood the water.

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When James realized Darby’s well-intended interference was only making things worse, he scolded him, having told him to “back off.” This didn’t stop the pooch, though, as he knew his beloved James was in trouble. Darby had a plan B.

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“[Darby] re-positioned and grabbed it by the tail. He literally ran up the hill with it and pulled it off my leg,” the traumatized California resident explained to NBC Bay Area. James then flung the shark back into the Pacific.

Variety

After the incident, James felt closer to sweet Darby, who fully embraced the heavy title of “man’s best friend.” James told reporters, “He’s been a part of the family from day one. Just now a little more” However, the public’s reaction was a bit more complicated than he expected.

NY Daily News

He absolutely could’ve been a lot worse off, especially considering sevengill sharks can weigh up to 230 pounds and reach roughly 10 feet in length. James was lucky. Too lucky, in fact, if you asked people who heard his story.

Prime TV

Because while James could barely believe the insanity that’d just occurred, neither could anyone else. No really, people were suspicious of James’ extraordinary tale of shark versus dog. The whole thing sounded fishy.

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“The first time I told somebody this, they were like, ‘You’re out of your mind, there’s no way that happened,’” James White said of his friend’s literal disbelief.

When James showed off his gnarly battle scars and photographic evidence, however, said friend was stunned. We’re sure the shark attack survivor wore a proud smirk following his pal’s shocked expression.

BuzzFeed

James’ bond with Darby is forever solidified. Thanks to the mighty pit bull hero, James White still has two legs. After all, encounters with deadly sea predators are nothing short of pure terror.

Vancouver Sun

Though James’ experience was that of a real-life Jaws, the shark he encountered barely compares to the ghastly monsters that once lurked the eerie deep blue. Gone are the days of mega sharks, but you can still find traces of their terrifying existence in the present day.

Midwest Film Journal

In 2015, a man named Denny Bland had been walking along the sands of North Topsail Beach, a popular surfing location along the coast of North Carolina. It was there that an odd object in the sand caught his eye.

The object seemed, in some ways, like a piece of driftwood. Striations ran vertically toward a dulled tip and the object’s black base looked almost rotted. But Denny quickly realized that it wasn’t driftwood at all. In fact, it was something much more terrifying…

ABC

Just like Denny, our ancestors from centuries ago discovered similar objects, which they boldly declared petrified dragon tongues—indisputable evidence of a terrible monster, of course. The scary part, however, was that they weren’t too far off.

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That was because Denny had actually picked up the fossilized tooth of a megalodon, a massive prehistoric shark! Cynthia Crane, director of the Aurora Fossil Museum in North Carolina, shed some light on Denny’s find and the monstrous predator.

“Megalodon was this large, humongous shark that roamed the ancient seaways during the Miocene-Pliocene time—mainly mid-Miocene to Pliocene—which was about 15 million to five million years ago,” Cynthia said. Yikes!

The enormous fossilized tooth of the beast only affirmed estimates of the ancient creature’s size. The theory goes that a shark grows 10 feet for every inch of tooth. So a six-inch tooth like the one that Denny found would mean its owner was 60 feet long!

Wikimedia

At that size, the megalodon shark would be three times larger than your run-of-the-mill great white shark, its modern-day ancestor. But how in the world did the sharks grow so big in the first place?

Paleoecologist Dr. Catalina Pimiento offered an answer: “Perhaps,” she said, “something was going on with the productivity and climate that produced that pattern, or with their prey and their competitors that made the species become large.”

After unearthing evidence of the shark, Denny was ecstatic. “I couldn’t get a million dollars and be any happier,” he said. “Even the small shark’s tooth just excites the heck out of you… I felt like I was a lottery winner.” But he wasn’t the only one who felt that way…

In fact, according to a photographer for the Surf City Gazette, one or two megalodon teeth typically wash up at that beach each year. One man from West Virginia would’ve been happy to hear that

Serge Illaryonov / Wikimedia

Greg Smith, a former community relations director at Camden Clark Medical Center who later became a firearm salesman, shared Denny’s enthusiasm for megalodon teeth. In fact, his enthusiasm pushed him to collect fossilized teeth.

Jess Mancini / The Parkersburg News and Sentinel

“I was trying to think of something that was good for grandpa and grandson,” Greg said, and in his research, he learned about the megalodon shark and all its massive teeth. So he dispatched his grandson to research them.

Jess Mancini / The Parkersburg News and Sentinel

After researching, Greg’s grandson returned. “He said, ‘Grandpa, it’s a huge shark with a mouth as big as a garage!'” Happy that the shark piqued his grandson’s interest, Greg sent him a giant tooth of his own—and the kid loved it!

Jess Mancini / The Parkersburg News and Sentinel

Over time, Greg collected more fossilized megalodon teeth until he had what he called “a huge collection.” And he wasn’t kidding. As of 2018, he had over 1,000 megalodon teeth in his collection!

Jess Mancini / The Parkersburg News and Sentinel

Naturally, even the most enthused megalodon fan would be a bit relieved the enormous animals didn’t make it out of the Pliocene era. Believe it or not, some weren’t so sure the enormous animals leaving teeth all over the coast were really extinct to begin with

Wikimedia

Numerous reports from off the Baja Coast in Mexico (pictured) alleged a massive black shark routinely patrolled the waters there. This shark was seen so often that it even earned a nickname: the Black Demon of Cortez. But was it real?

If you’d spoken with fisherman Eric Mack, you might have thought so. He claimed the Black Demon rocked his little boat and stuck an enormous tail out of the water. Skeptics, however, weren’t so sure about his story…

After all, the Baja waters were already known for a diverse ecosystem. Eric and others could have seen just a big ol’ whale shark—even, quite possibly, just a really big great white shark with skin defects. Could they ever know for sure?

Ralph Lee Hopkins

Until the reports could be confirmed, collectors like Greg and Denny would keep legends like the Black Demon of Cortez alive. As people collect and find megalodon teeth along the shore, we’ll never forget the unbelievable creature that we once shared a planet with!

Whether the megalodon still patrols the Earth’s depths or it’s extinct for good, it’s crazy that something so rare can just wash up onto a public beach. After all, some of the world’s greatest mysteries and secrets have been discovered purely by chance.

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And few people know this better than Jose Antonio Nievas, a simple farmer from the South American town of Carlos Spegazzini, which lies just south of Buenos Aires, Argentina.

For the most part, the relatively small Carlos Spegazzini saw little in the way of action, as the nearby capital city typically hogged the spotlight. That is, until Jose went out walking one Christmas morning…

It was December of 2015 when Jose took a stroll on his property. Looking for a bit of fresh air and exercise, he never expected to find anything that would change our understanding of history. Regardless, what he found might just have done so…

Jose was walking the river that cut through his property along with his dog when something caught his eye. Partially buried and caked in mud, a huge gray object jutted out of the edge of the riverbed. Upon closer inspection, however, he realized this was no rock…

The “boulder” looked scaly, like the skin of a snake, and at one end was a hole formed by a caved-in portion of the surface. Being a wise man, Jose knew this was something far more significant than he’d previously thought.

Hardly able to contain his excitement, he rushed home to tell his family about what he’d found. “Hey, I just found an egg that looks like it came from a dinosaur!” he exclaimed to his confused family. “We thought it was a joke,” his wife, Reina, said in an interview. But was it really an egg?

When Jose found the egg, it was so caked in mud that he couldn’t get an idea just how large it was. Once he dug away the surface grime, though, he realized just how big an object he was dealing with. In all, it was over three feet wide!

Jose tried lifting the “egg” out of the shallow water only to find that it was heavy, too. So heavy, in fact, that he couldn’t carry it alone. That made him, once again, reevaluate what he was dealing with. No egg could be that heavy—so what could it be?

As Jose and his family spread the word about this enormous object, rumors swirled as to its origins and nature. Could it be some kind of alien egg? Or perhaps a vessel, left behind on an alien expedition of earth? Experts had other ideas…

With so many competing theories as to what exactly they were dealing with, Jose called in the authorities who got to work evaluating the discovery. Likely, they said, it was an armored shell. To what though?

To find the answer, they had to look back in time. That’s where the glyptodon, an ancient creature that resembled an enormous armadillo, came into play. Over 15,000 years ago, these herbivores roamed all over South America. Now, Jose had discovered the remarkably well-preserved remains of one!

Jose’s glyptodon was not a loner in Argentina. In fact, archeologists have discovered similar fossils scattered all over the country. Still, the high-quality preservation Jose found was raising some eyebrows…

Skeptics wondered why the shell was right-side up. Wouldn’t these too-heavy creatures likely have died on their backs or sides? And how did it spend thousands of years buried beneath the surface while suffering so few blemishes?

After further studies, researchers determined the shell was, in fact, legitimate. Thanks to the mud, the shell was preserved for centuries. Still, something left researchers puzzled: an additional hole beyond those for the head and tail.

Kevin Walsh / Flickr

Researchers concluded that, if the damage wasn’t caused sometime while it was in the ground, it’s possible that that wound was what led to the creature’s demise. Whatever caused that injury must have been pretty sizable itself…

Ravel.Riha.CB / Wikimedia

While cousins of the glyptodon have been found throughout South America, none have been as well preserved as the one Jose found in his yard. To think that it was lying there all of those years!

Arent / Wikimedia

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