Category: Shark Fishing Thoughts


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…………

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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