Every morning for 10 years, Joey Gamez has hopped on a boat to take customers of his Golden State Sportfishing business on a San Francisco Bay excursion, a hobby-turned-business for the 42-year-old.
On Saturday, he and a group of men were hunting for sevengill sharks, also known as cow sharks, off the coast of Alcatraz Island when they made a surprising catch, Gamez said in an interview Monday morning.
The longtime fisherman documented the experience in an expletive-filled Facebook live video Saturday, seen more than 40,000 times, with the backdrop of Alcatraz below hazy skies.
Hours into the excursion, the men felt a strong tug at one of their lines with a salmon carcass as bait. It was unusual, Gamez said. He doesn’t normally have to pull his boat’s anchor out and follow a fish.
But the men weren’t about to lose a potentially enormous catch, he said. For more than 30 minutes and two miles out of their starting point, the men took turns trying to reel in the enormous fish.
The animal had a powerful pull unlike any Gamez had experienced, he said. Even before they knew what it was, the men marveled at its greatness. Some joked that it was a dolphin. Others guessed it was a fish at least 10 feet long.
“We’re just drifting,” Gamez said in the Facebook live video, narrating the experience as multiple men struggle to reel in the fish. “It’s taking us everywhere. First time I’ve had to pull an anchor on a shark. I hope it’s a shark.”
It was definitely a shark, but not the kind he was expecting.
“What is that?” someone can be heard saying in the video as they reel the creature to the surface. “That’s a … great white!”
Gamez films the men as they pull the massive black-eyed and white-bellied shark toward their boat. Its jaw was hooked on the fishing line and the salmon carcass floated in its teeth.
“We gotta let it go,” Gamez told his customers before speaking to viewers. “We just caught a great white, here in the Bay.”
The men cut the line, and the shark swam away immediately, Gamez said.
Dozens of media outlets from across the country have reached out to Gamez since he posted the video on his business’ page. It was his greatest catch, and a story the fishermen will likely tell their grandchildren, he said.