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Fishermen Spot Great White Shark 3 Feet Away From Them

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JACKSONVILLE (CBSMiami) -- A day on the water turned into a once in a lifetime opportunity for a group of fishermen who spotted a Great White shark.

Charter boat Captain Tony Peeples said he and four guys left the city marina in Fernandina Beach on Saturday.

He says he was leaning over the side of the boat with his hands in the water

"And a guy said, 'I got a shark,'" said Peeples.

Peeples says he looked over and saw a 14-foot Great White shark.

"He came out from under the boat and bit half the drum – 50-pound drum – off," said Peeples.

Chris Fischer with OCEARCH said Great White sharks commonly spend the winter months in that area. He said the shark seen Saturday isn't the only large Great White shark off our coast right now.

Hilton, a 12.5-foot Great White shark, pinged off the coast of Ponte Vedra Beach on Thursday.

Fischer says seeing the sharks is a good thing because they strengthen fish populations off our coast by eating weak or dying fish.

"Seeing a Great White shark is a once in a lifetime for most," said Peeples.

Peeples says in his 30 years as a charter boat captain, he's seen plenty of sharks but never a Great White shark like the one he saw this weekend.

"It's kind of a humbling experience when you look down and see something that big 3 feet from you," said Peeples.

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