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Wilmington fishermen have a close encounter with a great white shark

READ MORE: Wilmington fishermen have a close encounter with a great white shark

WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) -- A group of local fisherman had a close encounter with a great white shark over the weekend.

"After a while, when the shark started hitting the boat, it kind of makes you a little nervous," said boat captain John Watson. "All of sudden you start hearing all the dun-dun-dun-dun-dun's."

Captain Watson has been fishing off Wrightsville Beach for around 25 years. After Saturday's trip, he now has the ultimate fishing story.

"The fish kept circling. He kept getting closer and closer and he swam under the bow of the boat and hit it then came around the boat a couple minutes later, did a turn, and slapped the side of the boat with the back of his tail," said Watson. "You could feel the whole boat shutter."

Watson and a group of friends traveled about 25 miles southeast of Wrightsville Beach, where they were only 17 miles off the shore of Fort Fisher. That's where the encounter happened.

The men say the fish was at least 18 feet long and more than 4 feet wide, nearly the size of their boat.

"I was probably 2 or 3 feet from the bow roller. His nose was at my feet," said fisherman Don Smith. "His tail was pretty much in line with the rod that we had in the back of the boat in a rod holder. That's a pretty good estimation of just how big the thing was."

The fisherman say they have never seen anything like it before. The great white shark circled the boat for nearly 20 minutes. A once in a lifetime experience just miles off our coast.

"It was absolutely amazing to see a creature this large and made you feel so small," said Watson.

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