Ah, the smell of a good takedown in the morning. You've probably seen this clip circulating of a juvenile great white shark charging a cage in Gansbaai, South Africa. I've been cage diving in the area, and while every encounter is different, something looked, well, fishy about this particular interaction.

It's scary, no doubt. But despite their reputation in the media, great whites rarely enter cages like this. So what's going on? The answer comes in a second clip, which shows the dive operator illegally pulling bait towards the cage. (Keep an eye on the chunk of fish.)

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Image: Reiley/YouTube

"Every cage dive operator baits the water [be it with fish or a seal decoy], but dangling the bait over the cage like this is specifically outlined and forbidden in cage diving permit regulations," explains Michelle Jewell, who has done extensive research on great whites in South Africa. 

Spencer Reiley, who uploaded the initial clip to YouTube, defended the operator by saying, "the guy stands at the back or front of the boat and pulls the bait alongside the cage so the shark won't swim towards the cage but instead alongside it."

This does seem to portray a more responsible method of baiting, but we can see from the second clip that it isn't what happened.

While the likelihood of a shark bite is extremely low, it's important to respect these powerful top predators. Behaviour like this is dangerous, and exactly the kind of thing that leads to unnecessary trouble.

Top header image: Clifton Beard/Flickr