shark

Fishermen stunned as huge great white shark leaps out of water to steal catch

A family fishing trip in Cape Cod Bay, off the coast of Massachusetts, was brought to an abrupt halt when a huge great white shark leapt out of the water to steal their catch right off the line.

One of the boys, in the group of fathers and sons, aboard the sport fishing boat caught what initially seemed to be a "good-sized fish", so Doug Nelson took out his phone to film the impressive catch.

It then became clear that what Nelson was actually filming was a close encounter with an apex predator, which emerged behind the fish that the boy had caught, and snatched it away from the fishing group.

Take a look at the heart-pounding footage:

The gripping scenes were captured on Saturday by Nelson, who told New England Cable News that it "gave us a pretty good scare."

Nelson's son, Jack, can be seen jumping back when the shark emerges suddenly from the water's surface.

The Atlantic White Shark Conservancy and Marc Costa, captain of the Orleans-based Columbia sport fishing boat, have since confirmed the creature was a great white, CNN reports.

shark Credit: Getty

According to Costa, the vessel was about three miles west of Great Island in Wellfleet during the unexpected encounter.

While great white sharks are commonly found in Cape Cod Bay in the summer, this summer, in particular, has seen a noticeable increase in their numbers.

In just a week at the end of June, in fact, researchers spotted 12 great white sharks in the area, according to CNN.

Some weeks later, one of the beaches in Cape Cod was forced to close after a number of sharks were captured swimming dangerously close to the shore, CNN affiliate WHDH reported.