First shark fishing trip of 2012

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MNbowfinangler
MNbowfinangler's picture
First shark fishing trip of 2012

Joy and I fished the salt yesterday in search of sharks and stingrays. We left the house at 4 a.m. and stopped at a tidal creek along the way to catch pinfish for bait, but the fishing was slow despite lots of baitfish splashing around. It was dead low tide.

This bird was also looking for some fish:

So we moved on to the beach to fish the incoming tide, which is generally best for sharks and rays from the beach. The trail to the beach is a long walk with all our gear, but very scenic:

Luckily we were able to catch southern kingfish in the surf without too much effort. I also caught a weakfish and this lifelister, the Star Drum:

The weakfish:

One of the southern kingfish:

It didn't take long to get runs on the big rods. Within 15 minutes of getting the 2 shark/ray rods each got a nice run but we failed to hook into anything. Then it was pretty quiet until about 2 hours before high tide (11:30 am), when things got exciting.

Waiting for a bite:

Suddenly one of the rods was doubled over, line peeling off the loosely set drag. Joy picked up the rod and let the fish run for a few seconds, then tightened the drag and reared back. The fish peeled off more line and then jumped. Joy saw that it was a nice sized shark, probably a blacktip. Unfortunately the jump broke the line (65 pound test power pro).

After retying, rebaiting, and recasting that rod, the other big rod had a take. I had a go this time, letting the fish run before tightening up and pulling back.

Fish on!

The fish put up a very good battle, swimming back and forth and pulling out a lot of line at times. As I was fighting I was sure it must be a shark, because it was swimming and changing direction so quickly and never hunkering to the bottom like a ray. But when I got the fish into the breakers the line seemed to have become snagged. Nothing would budge when I pulled hard, so I changed tactics and let the line go slack. The fish then swam off again and I knew it was probably a big ray. Not too long after we saw it's tail flip up in the surf, confirming it was indeed a stingray. With the surge of an incoming wave I slid it up onto the sand. It was my second southern stingray and one of the most memorable battles I've fought with a fish.

After the ray, the tide peaked, and then went back down without any takes. Even the kingfish stopped biting but we sat it out and enjoyed the nice weather for a few hours.

Finally we decided to try something else, so we left the beach and headed back to try some fishing some tidal creeks and the intracoastal waterway. It was scenic and we saw lots of wildlife, but no other fish were caught.

The only things biting here were crabs.

 

No sharks landed, but we'll be back out again soon!

 

 

Cast_and_Blast
Cast_and_Blast's picture
That is a nice looking

That is a nice looking coastline.  I would love to visit that area.

 

 

Reekfish
Reekfish's picture
The coastline...

Cast and Blast... yes, it's lovely! It's nearly 3 miles of pristine natural beach just loaded with awesome shells since taking them is prohibited. Also rather private since many folks aren't willing to walk 1/2 mile to get there.

DavidG
DavidG's picture
We stole a few shells the

We stole a few shells the other day, felt like fugitives on the run!   Outstanding photo of Botany Bay road

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DavidG Blog:  http://www.fishing-headquarters.com/boundlesspursuit/

pat_the_nat
pat_the_nat's picture
ugh what kind of beach is

ugh what kind of beach is that??  no jetties, boardwalks, fun piers, rides, snookies or shoobies?  AND you have to walk.  No thanks.

 

kidding of course, you guys obviously had a killer day in an awesome place(s). 

 

shorefisherman
shorefisherman's picture
awesome report guys.  You

awesome report guys.  You mentioned that shark broke your line, how long are you making your steel leaders?  Just curious, because it took me a while to learn that shark skin cuts line as easily as their teeth, and to make the leaders at least as long as the biggest shark I may catch.  Tail whipping slices power pro like a hot knife through butter, if you got an 8ft shark on a 4ft leader, chances are its going to cut it.

MNbowfinangler
MNbowfinangler's picture
Thanks for the tip

Thanks for the tip shorefisherman. I use a 2 to 3 foot long 90# wire leader, which allows for long casts. Sounds like I may have to try longer leaders, but a 6 to 8 foot leader would be really hard to cast in chest deep surf.... Any tips?

shorefisherman
shorefisherman's picture
I use a 12 foot leader and

I use a 12 foot leader and swim the bait out, or get a cheap $25 one person raft from walmart and paddle it out 500 yards or so.  The real way to do it is by kayak, but thats a little bulky in baggage claim from North Dakota.

 

A longer pole might be the answer too, Try a 15' surf rod.  the fish definetely gains some leverage on you but you'll gain distance in casts with longer leaders

Dr Flathead
Dr Flathead's picture
With those sharks, they bit

With those sharks, they bit thru our leaders down in Florida quite a bit.  It sucked.  I just dont think theres much you can do except go to thicker wire and hope for the best. 

 

And the Southern Stingray is a really tough fish.  I had one battle with one in Florida that lasted almost a half hour on a super heavy combo.  Like flathead gear times 10.  The fish just glued itself to the bottom refusing to move.  I've never felt anything like it.  Stingrays are cool...

Ken
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.

DavidG
DavidG's picture
Get a bigger conventional

Get a bigger conventional reel like a Penn Senator 114L  and start paddling baits out with a kayak.. you can then use 20 foot long leaders (good for "leadering" a fish when landing it)  bigger baits,  and you can reach the deeper waters.   I ordered a 116L  a few weeks ago... holds close to 1000 yards of 150lb braid

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DavidG Blog:  http://www.fishing-headquarters.com/boundlesspursuit/

shorefisherman
shorefisherman's picture
Forgot to mention I also use

Forgot to mention I also use penn senators with 100lb power pro.