OFF POINT PLEASANT BEACH, NJ — Mike Cavallo says he’s always had an interest in sharks.

“I’ve been a shark fan since I was a kid,” the Ocean County resident, who’s been fishing more than 40 years, said Thursday.

A recent outing with his daughter and fishing companion, Kaylee, gave him an up-close view of a shark, closer than he ever imagined he would be, when a great white nearly grabbed a fish he was reeling in off his hook.

Find out what's happening in Brickwith free, real-time updates from Patch.

Mike and Kaylee, who’s 14, were fishing last Friday were fishing with Capt. Anthony Grassi of FinChaser Charters out of Brick. They were fishing about 3 to 4 miles from Manasquan Inlet on a pile of rocks in 70 feet of water — a favorite haunt of black sea bass — when it happened, Grassi said.

The moment was captured on video, as Mike records their adventures and shares them on the YouTube channel he has dedicated fishing trips and other outdoor activities with Kaylee, titled M&K Outdoors.

Find out what's happening in Brickwith free, real-time updates from Patch.

“It was just really exciting,” Cavallo said Thursday afternoon as he and Kaylee recounted the experience. “I was reeling and I saw a big shadow under the fish. All of a sudden it came out of the water.”

Click Here: kildare gaa jerseys

In the video, taken with a GoPro Cavallo put on less than 5 minutes earlier, the shark swims up just beneath the sea bass and tries to take a bite — but just misses. (See it below, at about 4:30 in.)

“Whoa, was that a great white?” Cavallo says, telling Grassi that he captured it on video. “Kaylee, did you see that great white?”

“I’m standing there and he was reeling up,” Grassi said. “All of a sudden I saw a shadow coming from about 5, 10 feet down, where the water just starts to get clear enough to see.”

“Then all of a sudden we’re going crazy because it’s pretty exciting,” Grassi said.

“It was just crazy because it came so close to the boat,” Kaylee said. “It was just such a cool experience.”

Mike Cavallo said he routinely takes video of their fishing trips, something he has done since he started their YouTube channel during the pandemic, as a way to help pass the time.

“People seemed to enjoy it,” he said.

They have fished with Grassi several times, said Cavallo, who added they do not own their own boat, but this was a unique experience for him.

“I’m still in shock,” he said. “I’m glad we were with Anthony. He’s a good friend and he always puts us on the fish.”

Cavallo, who said he and Kaylee love the movie “Jaws,” said that after the initial shock, “I wasn’t scared at all, I was more excited.”

“It came within inches” of where he was on the boat, Cavallo said.

It’s not the first time Grassi has seen larger fish, including sharks, try or succeed in grabbing a hooked fish as someone is reeling it in.

“I’ve seen bigger fish come up,” said Grassi, who has been a charter boat captain for 25 years, “but usually nobody gets it on video. It’s a shock and then it’s gone.”

In the video, Cavllo’s excitement is audible as he says he captured it on video, and you can hear Grassi respond, “No way!”

“Holy crap my heart is going,” Cavallo says, to which Grassi replies, “Dude, he was right there.”

The shark, which they had confirmed with a researcher in Massachusetts, was a juvenile white shark, Grassi said.

“I’ve never seen a great white this close inshore,” Grassi said, but noted the area has been drawing a larger variety of fish because the water is cleaner than it was 30 years ago and because New Jersey halted a particular type of commercial fishing that captured a key baitfish called menhaden, also known as bunker. Bunker are a favorite meal of a number of predators, including striped bass and sharks, and they are found in massive schools all along the Jersey Shore during the spring and summer in particular.

Grassi said he has had similar experiences where whales and dolphins have been near his boat but never caught those on video either, so this was an exciting first.

“It used to be you would see dolphins or a whale occasionally,” he said. “Now I can almost guarantee we’re going see dolphins and whales during the summer.”

Cavallo said he has never experienced such a thing during his more than 40 years of fishing.

“I’ve been fishing since I was 5 years old, and I started Kaylee when she was 3,” he said. “This was the first time ever.”

And the shark encounter was the topper on a terrific trip, with a flat calm ocean, comfortable temperatures and plenty of fish.

“It was drop-and-reel fishing,” he said. “And there were dolphins swimming nearby.”

Grassi said it’s likely boat captains and anglers will see more interactions with sharks because of the improved water quality, the abundance of baitfish and the changing water temperatures.

That appears to be borne out by the research being conducted by OCEARCH, which has been tagging sharks of a variety of species around the world since 2007. The tagging program has tracked more than 430 sharks, providing real-time information on how far they travel and when they travel.

The tagging program gained fame in 2015 when a tagged 16-foot great white named Mary Lee — for OCEARCH founder Chris Fisher’s mother — began pinging along the coast, capturing attention with the help of a Twitter account that was equal parts facts, fun and snark.

Since then, pings from sharks tagged by OCEARCH garner attention, with new names added to the roster of those sliding along the coast. Most recently, that has included Penny, a 552-pound juvenile great white that surfaced off Ocean City over Memorial Day weekend.

You can watch Mike and Kaylee Cavallo’s shark adventure below:

Get more local news delivered straight to your inbox. Sign up for free Patch newsletters and alerts.