Great white sharks are a rarity in Florida, so when a shark ate a butterflied bonito on a kite line Tuesday o-GREAT-WHITE-SHARK-FORT-LAUDERDALE-570morning off Fort Lauderdale, the crew on Hooked Up figured it had to be a bull shark.

It wasn’t until almost two hours later that Capt. Greg McCauley realized that his four anglers had been fighting a great white estimated at 131/2 feet and 800-1,000 pounds.

“No one knew what it was until we got it to the boat,” said Capt. Taco Perez, who owns the Fort Lauderdale charter boat. “I’ve been fishing here since 1969 and Greg and I saw one three years ago.

“It’s so darn uncommon. We’re pretty excited about it.”

Hooked Up was fishing in 180 feet off Port Everglades Inlet, which Perez said “is less than a mile and a quarter from the beach.” Anglers Harry Andro, Josh Shailer and Jared and Tanner Elliott, who all play baseball for Tallahassee Community College, had already caught a sailfish, some dolphin and two nice kingfish when the shark was hooked.

The men took turns fighting the shark on a Penn International 80 with a 19-wire leader. During the fight, the hook pulled free from the shark’s mouth and snagged on one of its pectoral fins, which prolonged the fight. Perez said the great white was released in good shape.