When a Canadian tourist headed out in the Gulf to go fishing Friday, he never could have expected to reel-in an 18-foot great white shark.
And every bit of Fab Marchese's big "fish story" is true. That great white shark took him on a wild ride and because he never let go he's got the greatest story to tell for the rest of his life.
He came. He saw. He caught!
"Just the vision of seeing that head," said Marchese incredulously. "Like, it was massive! That's what I'm going to remember the most."
Marchese had to convince his friends back home in Ontario, Canada, this was all true.
"Just like the movies, it was the fish from the movie," said Captain Joe Maisano with Go Fast Fishing Charters in Treasure Island.
Maisano saw the great white flash his great big teeth for just a few seconds.
"Only a couple species of sharks get that big," said Maisano, who is a seasoned fisherman. "Great hammerheads, tiger sharks, and the great whites are the only three that will get up there that big."
They were 30 miles off shore and scouting for all sorts of big fish.
"About four hours into the fishing trip and then big mama showed-up and wanted to play," laughed Maisano, who likened it to seeing a small submarine. They put out some bait and the great white bit on their large, steel hook and gave Marchese the workout of his life.
He fought the 3,000 pound beast for nearly three and a half hours without a break and while holding the rod against his abdomen.
"Just hold on, yeah hold on and fight," said Marchese. "I wanted to see it right up close."
He's been fishing since he was 5 years old and wasn't about to let go.
"I'm hanging on to this thing no matter what," said Marchese.
The great white was an estimated 18 feet – more than half the size of their boat.
Once they got a good look, they set it free. After all, great whites are a protected species. But without the fish, even his kids Marisa and Nadia were skeptical.
"I didn't really believe it, and when I came with him for the interview I believed him," 8-year-old Marisa said.
"You think they'll believe you? No," said 7-year-old daughter Nadia.
"Yeah, this is like a dream come true basically," said Marchese. "You never think something like this is going to happen. It's just like, how am I going to top this now?"
The family has until the weekend to top catching a great white shark. We asked his daughters if they knew who "Winter" the dolphin is, and their eyes lit up. They've seen the movie but didn't realize Winter lives right here in the Bay area, so they may go check her out and add a real-life Dolphin Tale to this real-life shark story.