Fisherman awed by whale shark when largest fish in sea swims by boat

Fisherman awed by whale shark when largest fish in sea swims by boat

A whale shark, similar to one a fisherman spotted off the coast of Virginia over the weekend, in a rare sighting. The whale shark is the largest fish in the sea, growing as large as 40 feet and weighing as much as 20 tons.

CHINCOTEAGUE, Va. — While plentiful in tropical waters, it’s very unusual to spot the solitary and elusive whale shark in the Atlantic Ocean near the coast of Virginia, but to the delight of a fisherman off the state’s Eastern Shore that’s exactly what happened Saturday morning.

Capt. Brian Esteppe told The Virginia-Pilot that he was about 5 miles off shore with two customers who had chartered his boat when he saw the massive fish swimming nearby.

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"We just kinda see this object appear," Esteppe told the Pilot, describing it as a "big dark shadow."
Esteppe recorded the encounter and posted the video to social media.

“You will not believe this folks,” he said as the shark swam near the boat. “Man, this is the most amazing thing I’ve ever seen. … Oh, my God, that’s so wild.”

Whale shark spotted off the coast of Chincoteague, Virginia

Great Video! Capt. Brian Esteppe of Y Knot Fishing Adventures spotted a whale shark off the coast of Chincoteague, Virginia. 📹: Y KNOT Fishing Adventures

Posted by WBFF FOX 45 on Monday, August 19, 2019

Whale sharks, an endangered species, are the largest fish in the sea and are found in all the tropical oceans, according to National Geographic. They can grow as large as 40 feet long and weigh as much as 20 tons. They feed predominantly on plankton and small fish.

Esteppe said he recognized the shark by the gray and white spots on its body and was able to touch it as it swam by, the Pilot reported.

“It was just a beautiful sight,” he said, adding that it “swam off just as graceful as it came in.”