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N.J. fishermen have close encounter with great white shark

A great white shark grabs a bag filled with bait off the New Jersey coast on Monday. (Courtesy of Jeff Crilly)

A great white shark grabs a bag filled with bait off the New Jersey coast on Monday. (Courtesy of Jeff Crilly)

A group of New Jersey fishermen received a likely once-in-a-lifetime thrill while off the state’s coastline Monday.

Jeff Crilly was at the helm of his 31-foot fishing boat approximately 30 miles east of Manasquan when a great white shark appeared alongside the vessel.

While Crilly and his party were competing in a shark-catching tournament — the appearance of a great white was a surprise, with a video capturing the experience making it clear.

“That was the coolest…thing I’ve ever seen,” one crewmember yelled moments after the shark breached from the water to bite at a bag filled with bait.

But the shark, which Crilly estimates at 16-feet long, would have the last word, as it took the bag and swam away.

Thanks to fishery management strategies, the great white shark population is increasing off the waters of New Jersey and New York after decades of decline, WNYC reported.

In recent years, the tracking of a great white shark dazzled social media denizens as it cruised near the New Jersey coastline on numerous occasions.

The 16-foot, 3,456-pound “Mary Lee” was tracked via GPS online by OCEARCH, a marine research organization, for years until the device stopped pinging in 2017.

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