Watch: Whale shark swims up to boat off of Cape Cod

Whale sharks, the world's largest fish, are atypical this far north.

During an early morning fishing trip this weekend, a South Boston resident encountered the world’s largest fish: the docile (and endangered) whale shark.

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Nick Koeniger sailed out of Harwich with seven others on a trip to Hydrographer Canyon, a primo fishing spot about 120 miles southeast of Cape Cod. The gentle giant greeted the boat at 3:45 a.m. Sunday. Koeniger said most of the boat was already awake thanks to a swordfish grabbing onto the line earlier.

Koeniger estimated that the whale shark was between 25 and 30 feet in length.


Unlike their white shark cousins, which are much more commonly sighted in the waters around Massachusetts, whale sharks are not particularly predatory, according to National Geographic. Instead of munching on turtles, sea lions, and small whales, they prefer an all-plankton diet.

Whale sharks also tend to stick around more tropical waters. Spotting one so far north is atypical.

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