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Shark-seeing excursion by Bradenton-based charter captain amazes Mote scientists

BRADENTON -- A Bradenton-based charter captain captured a rare fish on film, which turned out to be a great white shark.

It started out as a typical fishing trip for Russell Schnering and a lucky group of tourists 45 miles off of Anna Maria Island.

That is until he put his GoPro camera in the water and captured a 15-foot shark circling the boat for about a half hour.

Schnering even tried to get the shark's attention to get a closer look.

“Just by splashing the water was enough to get it to turn to the boat. Which I though was really neat,” he said.

Schnering thought it might be a great white shark.

“It didn’t look like anything I have ever seen,” he said.

Mote Marine Laboratory scientists confirmed the shark was a female great white.

Mote scientists say it is rare to see a great white shark in the Gulf Coast off Manatee County shores because they are not a lot of them.

This fact made Schnering experience and video incredible.

“It’s not something that everybody gets to see. So I am really happy,” he said.

As far as his charter business called Bradenton Fishing, Schnering has a little more to brag about.

“I can say there is always a chance of seeing a great white. But no I won’t try to advertise great white shark sight-seeing charters. That’s for sure,” he said.

A scientist told Bay News 9 there may be more great white shark in the area than first thought.

However, they say they do not usually get close to shore and they see no threat to humans. The great white shark Schnering spotted is not being tracked at this time.