A visitor to one of South Carolina's beaches witnessed something many longtime residents have not even seen — a shark out of water.
Taylor McSwain currently is a Florida resident, but she was visiting her home state when she stopped by a Garden City beach Friday evening. She was part of a large crowd of onlookers watching a shark thrash in the sand.
She said she watched as a fisherman caught and reeled in a shark.
The Socastee High School and Spartanburg Methodist College alum was nearly as quick to react as the fisherman who realized it was a shark on his line. McSwain recorded video as the man hooked the shark, before dragging it back into the water.
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"You could tell it was a big catch," McSwain told The State about the 4- to 5-foot-long shark caught on the beach near the Garden City Pier. "I've seen sharks caught before, but they've been sand sharks, just babies."
She said that the fisherman and several people in the crowd believed it was a blacktip shark. McSwain had her doubts about the specific type of shark that was caught.
If it was a blacktip, it had to be returned to the water. Blacktip sharks larger than 54 inches must be released back into the water, so after pictures were taken, that process was started.
The first video McSwain posted shows the shark furiously thrashing. The second shows a much more sedate shark being pulled by the fisherman into the safety of water, as onlookers shined lights on them.
In between those videos, McSwain reported that the fisherman removed the hook from the shark's mouth, something that is not required but encouraged by the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources.
The unidentified fisherman had the touch of a shark whisperer, and boldly stepped into the shark's environment, as he pulled it into the water.
In spite of his cool demeanor, some onlookers, who got very close to the shark, ran away as the man pulled the shark into the surf.
McSwain said she would like to remove the dangerous stigma attached to sharks. She encourages a catch and release approach when it comes to fishing for sharks, especially since she said so many people that catch sharks are just trophy hunters.
"Hollywood has made sharks out to be man-eating monsters," McSwain said. "I'm just in such awe of them."