Boy, 12, 'ecstatic' after catching massive great white shark

A 12-year-old boy has made the catch of a lifetime by reeling in a great white shark during a fishing trip with his family.

The family were on a fishing charter off the coast of Fort Lauderdale, in the US state of Florida, when Campbell Keenan noticed something had bitten the bait on his fishing rod.

Boy catches great white shark while fishing.
Campbell Keenan told ABC News he was "ecstatic" to catch a great white shark. Source: ABC news

After spending 45 minutes fighting to reel in his catch, Campbell was shocked to discover the fish was in fact a great white shark. It could be seen swimming alongside their boat.

"When it was close enough, the captain said it was a great white shark and everyone on the boat was 'ecstatic'," Campbell told ABC News in the US during an interview.

Memorable moment for the Keenan family

Campbell's mother Colleen Keenan told ABC the shark was believed to weigh between 180 to 315 kilograms and was over three metres long.

Colleen continued by expressing her concern for her son while he battled to reel in the large shark. The boat's crew helped to guide the young fishing enthusiast.

"I was holding on to Campbell because he wasn't strapped in anything and the great white could have easily just taken him for a ride," she said.

The family were visiting from New England, Massachusetts, and decided to go on the boating trip in the hope of catching a tuna or sailfish.

The shark was not pulled onto the boat as it is prohibited in the United States for recreational fisherman to land the well-known shark species, however the captain did manage to tag the shark in acknowledgement of Campbell's impressive catch.

It is incredibly rare for fisherman to catch a great white shark in Florida. Captain Paolucci has only caught a great white three times in two decades, while his first mate David shared the family's excitement at his first great white catch.

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