Discover One of the Largest Great White Sharks Ever to be Found Off Alabama Waters

Written by Trista Sobeck
Published: November 24, 2023
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Beautiful aerial view of beach and ocean at East Jetty in Destin Florida. Scenic nature landscape with buildings and houses overlooking the sandy shore and clean water.

The Gulf Shores of the United States harbor many types of sharks, but the Great White is rare.

©Jason Finn/

Let’s start this article off right! Great White Sharks (Carcharodon carcharias) are typically 11 to 16 feet long. Even though Great Whites are found throughout warm and temperate waters, there has only been one of the largest Great White Sharks ever to be found off the coast of Alabama waters.

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Great White Sharks can weigh up to 1,500 and 4,000 pounds and can live 60 years; they are slow growing animals. Which means, even when a Great White looks large, it could still be growing and getting larger! 

Oh, You Caught a Big Fish? No You Didn’t

Fisherman often like to brag about the size of the the fish they caught. The most commonly caught fish in America is the Large Mouth Bass (Micropterus salmoides). Its typical size is 16 inches; the largest on record coming in around 38.2 inches.

Lifting huge largemouth bass out of lake.

The largest Bass doesn’t hold a candle to the size of the

Great White Shark


©Maclane Parker/

To compare, the Great White Shark can grow up to 192 inches or more! For those of you not in love with math, that’s 153.8 inches larger than the biggest Bass!

Where Do The Largest Great White Sharks Live?

The Great White enjoys colder ocean waters, generally preferring Arctic and deep ocean waters. However, because the shark is an apex predator, it will travel to wherever it can find food. They will commonly go to temperate waters where it’s easy for them to adapt to the temperature. 

The Drive For Food

Because of this drive for food, as more fish move closer to shore, so do the sharks. A great example of where this is currently occurring is The Gulf Shores. Alabama is part of this area, so you can find all kinds of sharks there. However, because sharks are so sensitive to temperature, they will retreat further from shore during the heat of July and August. 

As mentioned, many types of sharks enjoy the Gulf Shores, especially Bull Sharks (Micropterus salmoides) and Tiger Sharks (Micropterus salmoides). Great Whites off of Alabama, though? Not so much! In fact, the very first recorded Great White was caught off the coast of Alabama in March of 2023.

Bull Shark at Pinnacles, Mozambique


Bull Shark

is commonly found off the shores of Alabama.

©Fiona Ayerst/

If you’re concerned about our Alabama shark friend, rest easy. The huge shark was quickly released (probably never to be seen again) once the fishermen realized they had indeed hooked a Great White. 

Great White sharks are federally protected and must be immediately released if they are caught. The fishermen first thought they had a Tiger Shark on the line, which is a common shark in those waters, but when the group realized what they had hooked, they scrambled to release the Great White. 

Tiger Shark


Tiger Shark

is found off the coast of Alabama as well as Florida and along the Gulf of Mexico.

©Michael Rothschild/

Have Great Whites Been Found off the Coast of Alabama?

Shark researchers say that only a few Great White Sharks have even been spotted, least of all caught, off the coast of Alabama ….. ever. They have been known to have been caught off the coast of Pensacola, Florida, which is near Alabama. 

Great Whites do not prefer the warmer waters of the United States’ Gulf Coast. So, chances that you’ll see any Great Whites off the coast of Alabama are rare.

However, you will see:

  • Bull Sharks
  • Tiger Sharks 
  • Blacktip Shark (Carcharhinus limbatus)
  • Blacktip Shark (Carcharhinus limbatus)
  • Sandbar Shark (Carcharhinus plumbeus)
  • Sand Tiger Shark (Carcharias taurus)
  • Sand Tiger Shark (Carcharias taurus)
  • Spinner Shark (Carcharhinus brevipinna)
  • Finetooth Shark (Carcharhinus isodon)
  • Dusky Shark (Carcharhinus obscurus)
Blacktip reef shark (Carcharhinus melanopterus).

The Blacktip Shark is common to Alabama waters.

©Vladimir Wrangel/

So, although you won’t see a Great White Shark off of the coast of Alabama, you will see other types of sharks. So, swim safety, even in the southern United States.

The photo featured at the top of this post is © Martin Prochazkacz/

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About the Author

Writer. Thinker. Human. Fan of octopods, sloths, and big green plants. Currently roller skating without knee pads. I live dangerously.

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