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Sharkathon is here!

Well, the annual tradition known as Sharkathon has finally arrived. This is the big week! It almost did not happen since the government was shut down. The tournament is held at Padre Island National Seashore (PINS) which was one of the victims of the shutdown. All is well now in the fishing world. Looks like the deal that they worked out will insure another shutdown in a couple of months, but that will be okay because Sharkathon will have survived! We hope to take lots of video of the sharks we catch. (We also hope to catch lots of sharks). The weather report looks decent at the moment, but you never know. Sharkathon attracts bad weather like blood attracts sharks. We will see. I will report back after the trip.

 

 

The Mustad 39960D circle hook is an item that any shark fisherman needs to have in the tackle box. It is very popular not only with shark fishermen, but also other big game fishermen. Mustad makes them all the way up to 20/0 size which work great for the big ones.

Mustad 39960D

The Mustad 39960D 20/0

 

For those of you who are new to the fishing game and may not be familiar with the circle hook let me give a little background. The circle hook is an innovation that is great for fisherman and fish alike. The whole idea behind the circle hook is that it will hook a fish in the corner of its mouth where it will do little harm to the fish and will be easy to remove. The point of a circle hook is pointed inward and will not snag aggressively like traditional J-hooks. As the line tightens and the hook is pulled from the fish’s mouth the point will be exposed to the jaw as it comes around the corner of the mouth. With the circle hook the point is drawn directly into the flesh. With a J-hook the point will always be set at a bit of an angle. The circle hook does an efficient job of that initial penetration.

One other aspect of the circle hook is the hook set. The circle hook sets itself. Setting the hook will probably not allow the hook to curl around the corner of the jaw when it exits the mouth which will result in a missed hook up. When the fish takes the bait steady pressure is a better way to get that hook into the correct position and achieve hook up. With steady pressure applied the hook will set itself.

Mustad 39960D 14/0

Mustad 39960D 14/0

It should be noted that it is still possible to gut hook a fish with a circle hook. They are not flawless, but they do significantly increase the mouth hook up rate and decrease the gut hooking rate.

Mustad offers the 39960D in sizes 8/0 through 20/0. The 18/0 and 20/0 are a good size for larger sharks and the 14/o and 16/0 are a good size for small to medium-sized sharks. We carry sizes 14/0 through 20/0.

These hooks are finished in Mustad’s duratin finish. This finish helps reduce rust and preserves hooks for multiple uses. If left in the water a few hours and then rinsed in fresh water they may not even show any tarnishing. For longer soaks some tarnishing may be evident, but it will be mainly aesthetic in nature.

These are quality hooks that are well suited for shark fishing and they are economical as well.

39960D 14/0-20/0

39960D 14/0-20/0

 

In a previous post I began describing the construction of my new shark fishing platform for my truck. This is a continuation of that post describing the construction and first trial run of the new rig. The previous post left off with the basic platform framework and rails constructed along with brackets to hold the rails firmly in place when in use. The rails fold down for transport and the kayak goes on top.

Not too long ago I was given a beach umbrella. I thought it would probably be useless to me, but it was going to be thrown out anyway so I took it. As I was building the platform it occurred to me that it might be good to go up top and shade the “hot seat” as I have taken to calling it. I unfurled it and it was as good as new and a perfect rectangular shape to fit in between the rod holders. I welded a tube on the back rail and now it is easily mounted to provide a bit more protection from the sun. At that point I was happy how things were coming along, but got busy with work and had to take a break from construction.

When I had time to work on it again we had a trip coming up and I was under the gun to get things rolling again. I had a lot to do and not enough time. I got to working on the rear support for the platform and pulled my headache rack off my truck for a bit of reinforcement.

Rear platform support

 I still needed to cut and paint the plywood decking and sand and paint everything. We couldn’t go to the beach without a good layer of paint, that was for sure. The weekend before our trip came and I still had a lot to do. Fortunately my dad and my friend Nathan came to the rescue. We dedicated a Saturday to prepping and painting. We also set up the rack on the truck and made sure everything fit before finishing.

The rig partially assembled on the truck for the first time

 After drilling the necessary holes and welding on some anchor points for tie-down straps it was ready for finishing.

We also tested out the new 10×13′ sun shade that I got on eBay. I created a slide out rail in the beach side of the rig to be a support for the shade. The plan was that it would anchor from the top rail of the rig and be supported by 2 PVC poles on the other end. I went with the sun shade because it is designed to be stretched from four corners and not have the middle part flapping in the breeze like a tarp would. We unfurled it and tied it on to get an idea of how things were going to work. It looked good.

Unfurling the sun shade

I spent a good part of the next two days cutting the floor, painting, painting, painting and painting again it seemed. Everything had at least two layers and in some cases three. It was not all the way dry when we left, but it was good enough. I also cut out a section of an old aluminum ladder to serve as a ladder to get up to the platform. I figured it would work well for that purpose.

Well, we had it mostly together and ready to test out. We were heading down to PINS (Padre Island National Seashore) in south Texas to do a little trip in anticipation of Sharkathon (www.sharkathon.com). We would see how it actually worked on the beach and if we could utilize it to catch some sharks.

Everything packed and mobile

The morning we set it up it exceeded expectations. In the past setting up was always a bit of improvisation and confusion. In this case it was fairly easy. We knew where everything would go and how to set it up.

I was a bit worried about how the sun shade would work and if the PVC poles would want to sway from side to side. I made them a couple of feet longer to bury them in the sand and it worked perfectly. We didn’t have high winds, but in the breeze they stayed firm and the shade did not flap in the breeze at all. Part of my idea in the design was to have the shade at an angle to have more air pressure on one side than the other figuring that would minimize flapping. It worked flawlessly for this trip. Hopefully it will do as well in high winds (Hopefully I won’t be able to test this out in high winds for a long time).

shark fishing platform

Everything set up for the first time

Shark Fishing Platform

The Complete Set Up"

The platform part was great! I had designed it for the fishing aspect, but it was also a great place to hang out and enjoy the view. Seeing the sea from a higher vantage point makes a big difference. I sat there for quite a while with my binoculars checking out offshore gas rigs, birds, the surf and the beach. It was quite enjoyable and the umbrella kept me out of the hot sun. It also worked great for holding the rods up high and out of the way. We didn’t even get in a whole day of fishing (see my Watch the Weather post for details on the trip), but it was great while it lasted. We didn’t land any sharks with it this time, but I am looking forward to trying again in the future. We can probably even locate the fish on the way in with the binoculars. It will add a whole other dimension to future trips.

The "Hot Seat"

All in all, the platform was a success. I still have a number of kinks to work out and I am still thinking of the best way to work a fresh water storage system into the rig. I will cover those upgrades in future posts. I am sure I will be tweaking the system more and more with each trip to the beach.

Until next time —- Tight lines!

Jason

www.bigsharktackle.com

Watch the Weather

This post will basically be a fishing report, or rather a non-fishing report. There is a lesson to be learned from our tale and it is reflected in the title of this post. It seems simple, but for some of us I guess simple is a bit of a challenge at times. Since we live 6 hours from the nearest beach we can never get enough fishing time in and when we do it requires a lot of planning and coordination. As fate would have it we had the itch and we also had a family reunion scheduled for July 30 in Rockport, Texas. Driving to the coast without fishing is a bit of a sin in my book, so we had to figure something out. My dad and I cooked up a plan to go several days early and spend 2 1/2 days on the beach at Padre Island National Seashore (PINS), hopefully dragging in the big ones. We got packed up and took off Wednesday morning. All went well. We got there early and got the errands done. We were even able to catch some monster mullet in short order with our cast net. Things were going too well. I had that feeling that something was going to go wrong and the bottom had to fall through shortly. Things never go smoothly on fishing trips it seems. Well, unfortunately we were wanting to register for Sharkathon coming up in a couple of months and online registration started at 8:00 pm. We killed some time and then hit the Starbuck’s parking lot to get online. The site was soooo slow with the rush to register and it took us 1 1/2 hours to get three of us signed up. Boy were we glad to leave that parking lot! We then headed for PINS and found a place on the beach for the night, but it was a moonless, dark night. I mean dark like the inside of a cave dark. I don’t recall ever being anywhere that dark other than a cave. Anyway, it was too dark to run out a bait at night, so we figured we would crash and get going in the morning early.

 

During our trip we heard rumors of a tropical storm down near the Yucatan. We had not had any storms yet and it was just the beginning of the hurricane season, so we had not thought to worry about the weather. As we gleaned info from the internet in route we heard that it was headed for us, but was far away. We figured it wouldn’t get to us until Saturday or Sunday.

As we got up the next morning it turned out to be a perfect day for fishing. The water was clear and beautiful. The beach was clear of seaweed and we had a slight breeze to keep us cool, but not enough to stir up the surf too much. Surf was at about 3 feet. No waves breaking on the 3rd bar, so getting out would be a piece of cake.

We started getting set up and set up the new fishing platform and sun shade. It worked great, much better than anticipated. The view from the top of the platform was awesome! With my binoculars it seemed you could see forever. After setting up camp we ran out 3 shark lines. One with cownose ray, one with a horse mullet, and one with a combination of the two. Not much happening in the morning fish-wise, but it was such a perfect day it was good anyway. We caught the news on the radio and they had moved the arrival time for tropical storm “Don” up to  Saturday morning early. We figured we would have to leave the next day, so we were going to have to go “all in” that night. Instead of leaving it all on the field we would be leaving it all on the beach we figured. I took the kayak out in the afternoon and did some BTB (beyond the breakers) fishing. I paddled out trolling a crankbait behind the yak and drift fishing mullet on the way in. I did this three times with interesting results. On the way out each time I would get several hits from large ladyfish on the lure. I only managed to get one in and it went into the cooler for bait later that night. Drift fishing with mullet on the way in I would get hits from some smaller 2′ plus Atlantic Sharpnose sharks. I brought in 2 or 3 this way, but nothing large.

When I made it back in my dad was fighting a fish and almost had it in. It turned out to be a nice, juicy stingray! It looked like such yummy shark bait it almost made me want to take a bite! We put him in the cooler and we were stocked with some excellent shark bait and I was looking forward to our first night fishing. I was feeling confident. Things were looking good. We grilled some chicken on the grill for a power dinner after my cousin arrived to join us. Then we got what was left of the cownosed ray on a hook. I was going to get that out first and then get that nice, fat, juicy stingray out. It was going to be good!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Well, it was, but it wasn’t. I was actually pushing the kayak into the water to yak out the first bait when one of the park rangers pulled up and asked if anyone had talked to us yet? We responded that no they hadn’t, but we knew that a storm was in route. He proceeded to tell us that the park was closing and that we needed to start packing up and get out as soon as we could. Wow! That was most unexpected and out of nowhere. There was not a cloud in the sky and it was an awesome day! Anyway, that shot all our plans down in flames. Instead of fishing we spent 2 1/2 hours trying to get all packed up and out of the park. We got to my cousin’s house to crash about midnight.

The next day we tried to do a little wade fishing in Aransas bay to hopefully salvage the trip. The storm was blowing in, so the wind was high. The jellyfish were thick like I have never seen them. There were all different kinds hanging out together and we all wore shorts. We all endured a few stings, then we all about the same time got a good one that worked its way into the shorts. That was pretty much the end of things there. Apparently it was not meant to be.

In the end we didn’t catch much fish, but we enjoyed a beatiful 3/4 of a day on the beach! We also got to test out the new platform and do a test run for Sharkathon. The moral of this tale: Always keep an eye on the weather, even when you might not think it is necessary.

In the end we got to go fishing and that is what counts.

I will be trying to post entries that give more information about the products we offer at BigSharkTackle.com. In selecting tackle to sell I have tried to offer different tackle options for different situations. As the business develops I plan to expand the offerings to include every type of tackle that anyone could possibly need. I will start with more details about one of our hook offerings.

Being a guy, I like large, shiny, metallic things. That is why I am going to do my first product entry about our Mustad 7731AD hooks. They are made of metal, they are shiny and they are definitely large. I wanted to offer some hooks for the guys out there fishing for Jaws. This hook would be the one you need! We carry sizes 10/0, 11/0, 14/0 and 16/0.

 The 10/0 and 11/0 are pretty good-sized hooks that are in the same sizing realm as the commonly used Mustad 39960D 20/0 circle hook. They are stout hooks that are great for larger baits. If, however, you are looking to set out an oversized bait (such as a whole jack) for a truly epic shark then you should consider the 14/0 and 16/0 sizes. The 14/0 size is what I would consider a really large hook. When I think of the 16/0 the word monstrous comes to mind.

The Mustad 7731AD Size 16/0

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
The 16/0 measures a full 2.75 inches from the tip of the point to the hook shaft. That gives you plenty of room to put it in a larger whole fish and still have the point well exposed.
 
One of my favorite features of this hook is the eye. Mustad calls it a “needle” eye and that is a good description. It is forged into the shank itself. This has two advantages. First, you don’t have to worry about the eye opening up in the heat of the battle. The other is the narrowness of the eye. Some styles of eyes are large and bulky. This hook’s style lends itself to the use of heat shrink tubing since it is quite narrow. Larger eyes do not allow you to get small enough heat shrink tubing over the eye. If you get tubing large enough to go over the eye then it does not shrink down tight enough around the cable. With the 7731AD you can get small enough tubing around the eye to be able to shrink it down snuggly over the leader material. This allows you to do things with this hook that you couldn’t with other hooks.

7731AD "Needle Eye"

 
As with most of Mustad’s hooks it is covered in their Duratin finish which will protect it from corrosion. Simply rinsing in fresh water after use should preserve it for many uses in the future.
 
All in all this is an excellent hook, especially if you are looking for an oversized hook for an oversized shark. If you are dreaming of catching Jaws on your next trip then you should get a few of these gems to haul in your monster!
 
7731AD – check them out!
 
 
 

I have decided to work on construction of a shark fishing platform for my truck. I have a kayak rack/pole holder that I currently use. It is a basic set up that has worked well getting the kayak packed up and a place to get a couple of poles up a bit higher. I have, however, gotten the itch to create something bigger and better. Now that I am in the shark fishing tackle business I figure I ought to have a pretty sweet setup. At least that’s what I am telling myself. The truth really is that I seem to always need some project going on and this seems like a really cool one.

The current set up

In my experiences at the beach I have learned a few things and I am still figuring out a few things. One thing that I have seen the need for is more organization in packing. You have to cram so many things in the truck to go camp out and fish for a few days that it can take hours to pack back up if you need to move locations. That is a major issue at times and one I would like to minimize if possible. The platform that I am constructing will not only be a platform, it will also be an organizational tool. As I daydream about the finished product I envision several things. Some will definitely be part of the design, some will be added later, and some may never see reality, but it is fun to dream. Some of the ideas are as follows:

  1. raised platform with collapsible railings on front and back
  2. rod holders on railing
  3. integrated sun shade to chill under
  4. rod/reel storage
  5. water tank under deck to hold at least 20 gallons for showers and rinsing off hands.
  6. ladder to get up top
  7. indoor/outdoor carpet on floor
  8. kayak storage up top
  9. rig up a way to lock up stuff in back like a camper top
  10. extendable rail to hang lantern on
  11. everything will be easily removable from truck when not fishing
  12. lastly –  a fighting chair!

These are some of my ideas and most I think are doable. I have a trip scheduled in a month. I would like to have the basic platform up and functional for that with the sun screen for shade. We plan on fishing Sharkathon later in the fall. I would like to have the water system up and going by then. We will see how things progress.

My first thought on incorporating all this into some type of rig was to build a trailer. My wife, who is most often the voice of reason in our family, put the nix on that idea pretty quick. Something about money, time and space. Anyway, after further thought I figured that a trailer rig would have one major draw back. You could not tow it through deep sand. It would greatly decrease your options for fishing locations. The best way to get out of a crowd is use your 4WD and go where they can’t. If you are towing a trailer you cannot do that. I thought more and realized that it could still be done with a truck platform, but without sacrificing mobility.

The platform would greatly help in the organization and packing. Currently I am taking several 5 gallon coolers for water. With an integrated water tank that will eliminate the coolers and allow more space for other things. I plan on rigging up several 6″ pvc tubes attached to the bottom of the deck to store rods and hopefully reels as well. Currently I have a couple of 4″ tubes that I keep my rods in. The reels don’t fit, so I have to reassemble each stop. It would be great to have them rigged up and ready to go when we get there. I also carry a number of pvc rod holders as well. With the rod holders on the platform I will not need to carry as many others. The sun shade will eliminate the need to carry a pop-up canopy. We have tried them a number of times and they have always proved to be a royal pain. It is almost always windy at the beach in Texas. We need something that will not blow away.

Part 1 – the beginning

I sketched out the basic design and figured how much metal I would need. I would make the deck just under 8 feet long and the width of my headache rack on my truck. I had a few scraps left over from other projects, but most would need to be purchased. I decided to go with square, tubular steel. I ended up spending about $90 on the steel and a few hinges for the collapsible railing. I got fairly thin-walled tubing to save on weight. After I started working with it I started wondering if it might be too thin. There will be significant stresses on it when off-roading at the beach. Metal fatigue may become a problem later. Too late now. I will give it a go. I can go back and reinforce later if necessary.

I started out constructing the deck. I don’t have fancy metal working tools, just a grinder and a 25-year-old stick welder. My welder is basic, but it was some of the best money I ever spent. Anyway, I got to cutting pieces with my grinder using cutting discs and made the parts for the deck framework. I then got to work welding them together. It didn’t take long to see it was going to be a challenge to weld the thin-walled tubing with my welder. Stick welders are great for thicker metals, but they don’t work real well for the fine stuff. It creates too hot of an arc and melts through very quickly. I also must admit I am probably not that great of a welder since I don’t do it on a regular basis. I will be a bit more difficult that planned, but it will be made to work. After a while the basic frame was done and I felt good that the project was up and running.

After the basic framework was done I focused my efforts on the railing. I wanted something easily collapsible and not too heavy. I also needed something rigid that we would be sure would hold. I don’t want anyone falling off and landing on their head. That would probably cut into the fishing time and we can’t have that. Coming up with the railing was the easy part. It wasn’t too complicated and it worked great with the hinges I picked up at the metal yard. The difficult part was the braces to hold up the railings.

I spent more time trying to figure out the braces than everything else combined. In the end I came up with something different for both sides. For the rod holder side I rigged up one tube that slides inside another. One tube is bolted to the railing and the other to the base. When you raise the railing one slides out of the other and when in position you simply drop a bolt through the hole I drilled through both of them. That holds the rail rigidly in place. I like this design because there are no parts to keep up with other than the bolts. It is quick and easy. On the other side things were a bit more difficult because of space constraints. I needed to have space to climb onto the platform from one end so I did not want to have high rails on the sides. I ended up going with two bolt on braces. I would rather not have parts to have to bolt on, but it is only two and it would have been a lot of time and effort to come up with something more complicated than that to take its place. In the end it turned out great and is very sturdy.

I then cut up some fence posts that my buddy Nathan donated to the cause. They made great rod holders for the side that will face the water. I welded six on the water side and two on the end of each side of the back rail. That should give me a max capacity of 8 rods. That should be plenty I figure.

To be continued…………

Weed Control

There are a number of challenges to the shark fisherman. Probably the most frustrating is weed. The perfect day for catching fish can be ruined by a few plants floating in the water. It is incredibly frustrating when you plan a several day trip and have everything worked out and planned for until the first sight of the water and horror of horrors! – the weed. It strikes fear in the heart of the shark fisherman. Okay, I might be exaggerating a bit, but not much. We managed to make it down to the coast a few weeks ago and experienced this very scenario, so I thought I would write a bit about it.

There are numerous types of seaweed that can cause problems for fishing. As with anything it is only a problem when there is too much of it. A little can be dealt with, but when it is coming in and piling up on the beach you have a problem. The biggest problem here along the Texas coast is Sargassum. This particularly vile plant comes in so thick sometimes it may seem there is more weed than water. I understand that the source of our Sargassum here in Texas is actually the aptly named Sargasso Sea in the Atlantic off the Eastern coast of the United States. The ocean currents and then the gulf stream carry it into the Gulf of Mexico where eventually prevailing winds blow it onto the beaches. I am not an expert on the biology of this subject, but I do know that the spring time and early summer are the times of the year that the bulk of the weed comes on shore here in Texas. It causes a fishing nightmare clinging to lines and building up in huge clumps. In no time the current grabs hold of the clumps and pulls the line into shore in a tangled mass of weed and line.

Massive weed

Wasn't gonna happen on this day!

So, what can be done on a weedy day? Usually it requires some creativity and scaling down of expectations. Here are some things I have done when the weed was out of control.

1. Look for a Protected Area – If there are any passes nearby they might be clear of weed. On an out going tide the current will probably be strong enough to keep the pass free of weed. We tried this strategy last summer and managed to land a 6′ bull shark from the pass even in bad conditions. Jetties are another option. Usually jetties are protecting a channel. Many times the weed will not be as bad in the channel as in the surf. Pay attention to the wind and current as well. It might be that the beach on one side of the jetties or the other is protected from the weed to a degree.

2. Fish in the Bay – A bay is the ultimate protected area. Deeper channels in the bay probably aren’t going to harbor monster sharks, but you might get lucky.

3. Pray for a Wind shift – Watch the weather report. Wind is what brings weed to the beach more than the waves. You might have a choppy surf, but if the wind shifts and starts blowing offshore it will take the bulk of the weed with it.

4. Go For It – Sometimes you can make it work. There are a few tricks of the trade. If you angle your lines into the current and the wind is cooperating you can outsmart the weed. If you get it just right the waves will work the weed that catches on your line up to the surface and then the wind will take over blowing the weed all the way up to your rod where you can easily pick it off. This will not work if you have any knots in your line. If you have braided line tied to a mono topshot you will end up with a massive clump of weed gathered at the knot. On a good day you can get this to work. What happens many times is you get a bow in your line with the current and wind and the weed collects in the bow. If you can get a more extreme angle on your line you might be able to lose the bow. If not, you might find yourself wading out to pick the weed off the line periodically. You can make this strategy work on days when there is weed, but it is not super bad. On the days it is really coming in you can try option #5.

5. Lick Your Wounds and Go Home – Some days were not meant to be. As was the day I took the picture above. It is a real disappointment, but sometimes nature does not cooperate.

Weed can mess up you trip, but sometimes you can salvage a bad situation. Scout out some other areas and maybe you can still get in some fishing time and maybe even land some fish!

Land based shark fishing refers to fishing for sharks from beaches, jetties or piers. In other words, it is fishing for sharks without a boat. The general technique is to deploy baits several hundred yards off the beach (or pier or jetty) using a kayak and then return to the beach (or pier or jetty) and wait for the the big bite. This is the central concept of land based shark fishing. There are innumerable variations of this technique, but they all are a variety of this model. This type of fishing requires special tackle and equipment. I will give a brief overview.

on the beach

Reels must be of a high capacity variety that will hold hundreds of yards of line and be suited for the saltwater environment. Entry level rigs start at about 500 yds. of line and some larger, more expensive rigs will hold over 1000 yds. of line. To increase capacity many use braided lines. Braided lines are stronger and thinner that monofilament and are frequently used to increase line capacity of reels. A braided line can double or triple the capacity of a reel. Lighter rigs will start at 50 lb. test line and go up to 200 lb. test or more.

Tackle must be heavy-duty as well. Obviously, sharks are large and have sharp teeth. That means not just any leader will do. Multi-strand stainless steel leaders are the standard material for leader construction. Some save a few pennies and go with galvanized cable, but it will not last as long in the salt. Some also use single-strand stainless wire (also known as piano wire) to make leaders. It is less expensive, but a bit more of a challenge to work with since it is not as limber as the multi-strand cable. Hooks must be large, and strong as do swivels and connections. Entry level leaders start at about 250 lb. test rating and go up to around 1000 lb. test. A 1000 lb. test rig would be for a truly monster shark. Under the right circumstances a well built 250 lb. rig could be used to land a shark of 8+ feet. The best all around rig would be one in the 500 lb. range. Leader construction is another topic all together, but I will say this: they must be long. When you get that shark to knee deep water and you need to grab that leader to pull him to the beach you don’t want to be “fishing” around underwater to find it. A long leader gives your line protection from the shark’s rough hide and gives you something to grab a hold of to get him onto the beach.

Deploying the bait is what makes land based shark fishing unique. Large baits, large weights and long leaders make casting impossible. Baits must be deployed by other means. This is usually done with a kayak. Some also use jet skis or small inflatables. A large weight is utilized to hold the large bait in place. Since it is difficult deploying baits they are usually left out for hours at a time. The weight must hold it in place in the rough surf.

Kayaking

Heading out

Kayaks come in two varieties: Sit-in and Sit-on-top. A sit-in type can be purchased inexpensively, but is totally useless for shark fishing. A turned over kayak filled with water is at the mercy of the current. A 45 lb. kayak filled with water becomes a 500 lb. kayak tossing in the waves. For kayaking in the surf a sit-on-top variety is essential for success and safety. Sit-on-top varieties are designed to be able to turn over in the surf and then be righted again. They are the only way to go. In this category there are some models that are better suited for use in the surf. Researching the strengths and weaknesses of different models can save money in the long run.

This is a brief synopsis of what land based shark fishing is all about. I will go into more detail in future posts and hopefully share some ideas that will help others catch more fish as well.

When I tell people my favorite pastime is fishing for sharks I just about exclusively get the deer in the headlights look followed by, “You do what?” or something similar. That is later accompanied by the jaw drop as I utter the word, “kayak.” Evidently the words shark and kayak spoken in the same sentence invoke images of crazed maniacs wielding fishing poles as they embark upon a frenzied attack upon that mystery world below the surface. People tend to regain their composure after a few minutes of explaining exactly how the kayak is utilized and how the shark is landed. I still think a number of my friends think I might have a screw loose or two. Actually, they are probably right, but doesn’t everyone to one degree or another?

Bull Sharks

Double bull hook up

The question goes unspoken many times, but it still merits an answer. Why shark fishing, and more specifically, why land based shark fishing? There are a number of reasons and I will cover several here:

1. I have always loved saltwater fishing – My dad is from Rockport, Texas on Aransas Bay in the Texas coastal bend. As we were growing up we would always spend a week in Rockport with the grandparents. Every day we would go fishing. We rarely had access to a boat, so we would almost always go wade fishing. Some of my fondest childhood memories are of fishing with my cousins and uncles in Rockport. Those were the good times!

2. Go big or go home – Eventually those little 24″ speckled trout seem smaller and smaller. Then there are the redfish. The smaller bay reds eventually look smaller compared to the bull reds caught in the surf. After a few of those you start thinking shark. If you are going to target fish, why not large ones? Sharks are the answer.

3. The Excitement – I have recently pondered the relationship between fishing and gambling. I am not a gambler, in fact I have never learned how to play poker. I think I do my gambling at the beach. I live 6 hours from the nearest saltwater. For me to go fishing I have to plan a several day long trip. I have to plan ahead, adjust my schedule, miss work, miss my family, invest time and money. I only get to plan a few trips per year and I spend the in between times preparing and anticipating. This is all for one moment. Anyone who has caught a shark knows the moment I am talking about. The moment you hear that glorious sound, the sound of the silence followed by the screaming clicker as the shark runs! It is a big gamble, but when it pays off it is all worth it. The excitement of that moment, the fight, the release. They are all part of the excitement that beckons us back to the beach.

4. The Danger – As with anything there is some real danger and some perceived danger. I am not much or a risk taker. I would not ride a motorcycle on a public road. That seems like a high risk to me. I would, however, fish for sharks from a kayak. There are some dangers in shark fishing, but I think with caution they are more perceived than real. Obviously you should be wise and wear your life jacket, watch the weather, etc., but with caution I think it is not nearly as dangerous as an outsider might think. For me, the kayaking out in rough weather or at night is much more scary than the sharks. What gets my adrenaline going is kayaking out your bait on a rough day, staring those 6 foot waves in the face as they try to pound you into submission. Kayaking at night is another matter. I have only done this a few times on calmer nights. The feeling of being several hundred yards offshore at night with your only light being that of the moon for me is an interesting mix of emotion. It is exciting, yet incredibly peaceful out on the sea at night. It is an adrenaline rush, yet calming all at the same time.

5. The Exercise – Land based shark fishing at times can be a pretty extreme workout. What other kind of fishing do you start preparing for ahead of time by working out?  Last year shark fishing was my motivation for working out. Here along the Texas coast calm days are a rarity. It is almost always a challenge to kayak a bait out. The wind is almost exclusively blowing directly inshore causing the surf to pound. It doesn’t take very long for the water to wear you out. Being in shape is a necessity when the surf is rough. Otherwise you will only be an observer as your buddy who is in shape manages to get his baits out. Don’t be left on the sideline. Get in shape! (I need to take my own advice at this point)

6. Because it is hard –Decades ago President Kennedy challenged America to go to the moon. It was something that only a few years before was hardly conceivable. His reasoning was that we should do it not because it was easy, but because it was hard. That is probably the biggest reason that shark fishing appeals to me. It is hard. It takes long-term planning and strategy. Mapping out fishing areas, planning for catching bait, making leaders, etc. It is so much more work than any other type of fishing. That is the beauty of it. The more difficult it is, the greater the reward when you finally get to taste success!

These are a few of my thoughts and motivations. I’m sure other shark fishermen have other reasons and motivations, but these are some of mine. There are several other reasons, but these are the main ones. Maybe you could share yours?

Welcome to BigSharkBlog! Here I will share my thoughts on big sharks, how to catch them, my fishing adventures, and information about products we have for sale on our website: www.BigSharkTackle.com. This is my first blogging experience, so the future of this venture is a bit nebulous in my mind. It is like walking into a dark room, eagerly awaiting the lights to come on and reveal the reality that surrounds you. I don’t know what future reality is to come here in the blogosphere, but I’m sure it will be a fun one.

shark fishing

I don’t claim to be a shark fishing guru or anything like that, but I have been saltwater fishing all my life and have been targeting the “toothies” in recent years. Shark fishing is a whole different animal. It is truly the “extreme” version of fishing. I am referring in particular to land based shark fishing. Fishing for sharks from a boat is extreme because sharks are the largest and most dangerous fish in the sea. Great care must be taken! Swap that boat for a kayak and then the adventures really begin! I will have much more to say about this in the future.

I also will be sharing thoughts on our new venture: BigSharkTackle.com. I will post more detailed information about the products we offer and in what situations they are best used. Hopefully through all of this you will be able to glean a few tidbits of information that might help you out on your next fishing trip or maybe, somehow at least I can entertain you or bring a smile to your face.

Thanks for reading!

Jason – aka Sharkinator

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