Monthly Archives: July 2012

Monster Stingray!

Date:  July 21, 2012

Report By:  Chris

Team Members:  Chris, Tom, and Josh

Weather Conditions:  12 MPH southwest wind, dirty water with 2’ breaking waves, partially cloudy, temperate in the 90’s

 

After our success earlier in the week, I knew that I had to get down to the beach for the weekend!  The reports were calling for relatively clean and flat surf, which makes for easy kayaking.  We planned on fishing just south of San Louis Pass on the beach at our normal spot.

On our way out we stopped at Bayou Bait and Tackle in Galveston looking for some nice big shark baits.  They had just gotten in some good sized southern stingrays, so we bought five of them.  We had really good results with the stingray earlier in the week.   We brought along a cast net and some bait rods also, so we could catch some fresh bait in the surf.

When we arrived we were greeted with a chocolate brown surf with a slightly greener color way out.  Unfortunately, the clear calm water that had been around all week was nowhere to be found.

We did have one thing to be happy about!  NO WEED!  This was the first trip we have made since March that we have encountered absolutely no sargassum weed!  The seaweed is a plague to long-line, beach fishermen.  It floats through the surf in huge mats that will get tangled in your fishing line causing it to wash up on shore.

A mullet rigged up ready to be kayaked out

A bait stingray ready to be kayaked out

I quickly got my Penn Senator 9/0 rigged up with a whole stingray and my other Penn 9/0 with a whole mullet.  I got in the kayak and started cruising through the breakers and out into open waters.  I noticed that the current was really pulling.  I had to try my best just to maintin a straight path.  By the time I dropped the baits and got back to the beach, the current had pulled our lines out to a 45 degree angle from camp.  Josh baited up a whole stingray and encountered the same problem.

Kayak ready for another bait voyage

We decided to sit back and spend some time catching some baits to see if the current would slow down as the tide began to trough.  I took the cast net and began throwing it in the wade gut catching a bunch of really good sized mullet.  This fresh bait would be perfect for some nice sized sharks.

Fresh Mullet!

I was standing in shin deep water and I saw the tell tale ripple of a bait fish just below the surface eight feet away from me.   I launched a perfect throw of the cast net and immediately could tell that I had another good catch in the net.  When I pulled it in, I noticed that I had another 3 good sized mullet, but there was something else in there that I had never seen in person.  It was a very strange fish, but I knew what it was immediately and got very excited.

A southern stargazer, ugly yet kinda beautiful

A Southern Stargazaer!  One of the only electric fish in the Gulf of Mexico.  I have always heard stories of them and seen pictures, but never have caught one.  They have a spot on the top of their head that is supposed to produce the electrical shock.  There is a fisherman’s prank that is to tell a buddy that it will bring you lots of good luck to kiss this fish on the head.

Check out those teeth and that crazy little dorsal fin!

After catching plenty of bait, the current finally began to slow down around 6 PM.  We knew that we needed to get some fresh baits out for night time.  We had had a few small runs on some of the fresh mullet, so we decided to reel in those lines and rebait for the night.  We hooked up a one of the 9/0s with a fresh mullet and the other with a fresh whiting.

All the lines are out! We can relax!

At about this time the sun is now setting.  We get glow sticks on all the fishing lines so that when it is dark out we can tell which one is getting hit.  We get out the bug spray and hose each other down generously.  We then sit in the folding chairs and talk about the big one that we have all been dreaming about.  Josh and I take time to enjoy a couple of cigars and a few cold ones while we wait.

We sit and wait… and wait… and wait.  We aren’t planning on camping tonight, so we set a time for ourselves to pack up.  We decided that if nothing happened by 10:30 we would pack up and call it a night.  Well as time passes we aren’t seeing any promising signs.  We kept getting a few small runs where just 5-10 feet of line would get pulled.  We knew that these for sure had to be pup sharks.

That all changed at 9:50.  All of a sudden we hear the beautiful sound of a Penn Senator 9/0 screaming!  We all look up and the glow stick clipped to the line is rocketing through the air straight towards the ocean!  We had something good running with our whiting!  I climbed up in the back of the truck and picked up the rod as Tom and Josh worked quickly to get me into the fighting belt and harness.  Once they got me all strapped and clipped in, I slowly tightened the drag down and FISH ON!!!

Fish On!!!

I immediately knew that this fish was much bigger than anything I had ever fought before!  Did we just hook into an 8+ foot shark?  Is it a Tiger? Hammer? Monster Bull?  As soon as the fish felt that he was hooked it took off, never wanting to look back.  He was pulling drag off my reel while it was locked down like it was no problem.  My reel was starting to get hot from all the friction of the drag burning off!

Fighting the monster

I fought the beast from the truck bed for a good 30 minutes.  As soon as I gained some good distance on the fish it would take it right back.  Finally, I got the fish to the 2nd sand bar.  As soon as this fish realized it was being pulled into shallow water it planted itself down and wouldn’t budge.  Hmm that’s weird.  Sharks usually don’t plant down in one spot.

battle

The battle rages on!

I’m trying to crank down on this fish with everything I’ve got, but it just isn’t moving.  Every once in a while it would gain some strength back and pull a few more yards of line.  I knew I had to do something, because the more that I let it sit there and rest, the more energy it was gaining.  I jumped down out of the truck bed and continued my fight with the monster on the beach.  I was able to muscle it over the sandbar by walking backwards slowly with the fish and reeling as I walked forward with it.

The fight continues on the beach!

I was finally able to get the fish up and over the second sand bar, but ran into the same problem when it hit the first sandbar.  I never even stopped to think that this could be anything but a shark, even though it was giving me all the tell tale signs that it was a completely different sea monster.  I battled the mystery beast for another 15 minutes or so and was able to horse it over the first sand bar.

The fish is getting closer!

We finally see the leader coming out of the water.  I hand off the rod to my lovely fiance while I run to grab the leader with Tom and Josh.  We were so eager to finally see the beast that I had been battling for almost an hour.  The three of us grabbed the 400lb mono and pulled.  Usually at this time we will see a dorsal fin swimming back and forth, but this time we saw nothing.  We only felt a lot of weight.  I again thought how strange this was.  Had I been battling a large plastic bag for the last hour?

Leadering the monster

We gave the leader another mighty tug and out of the wade gut emerged the most enormous Southern Stingray that I had ever seen.  I have seen many big stingrays caught.  I have also seen lots of pictures of peoples catches.  This stingray made all of the other ones look tiny.  This monster looked like something that should belong in Jurassic Park!  When we gave the last tug the stingray rushed up on the sand and immediately started flapping its wings.  It was making a loud slapping sound and throwing water 30 feet in every direction!

The monster emerges!!

Cutting the barb

We quickly cut the barb, so that we can release the fish safely.  A stingray will grow back its barb fairly quickly, but it would not be safe for us to try to unhook the fish and drag it back into the water with a venomous barb swinging around at us.

Tom, Chris and Josh Getting a picture with the monster

One last picture before the release

He was over 5 feet across and over a foot thick in the middle.  There is no way I can give an accurate guess of how much the ray weighed, but I’d say over 100 lbs easy.  Thank you to my fiance Kim who took all the pictures for us.  Yes, I know that we need to get a better digital camera for night pictures.

We bid farewell to the monster as the three of us dragged it into deep enough water for it to swim away safely.  We all celebrated and cheered as we watched the giant slowly fade away and sink back into the deep.

What a night.  After that fight we were done for the night.  I was sore from head to toe and now that the adrenaline was wearing off, I realized that all my muscles are burning.  We packed up camp and started reeling in the last of our rods to find that pup sharks and crabs had taken most of our bait.  We did have one bait ray get hit by a decent sized shark, but it missed the hook.

Ray with a shark bite

We finally arrived home at around 12:30 AM and all crashed for the night.  The next morning I spent some time cleaning up the stingray’s barb to keep as a trophy of the fight that the epic monster had given us.  I think I’ll get it framed in a shadow box.

The barb after it had been boiled and cleaned

Close up of the barb

We didn’t get the shark over 8 feet that we have been looking for, but we were lucky enough to battle with this sea creature.  Stingrays really are amazing animals, and it was a pleasure to be able to do battle with and feel the power of this fish.

Categories: fishing, Land Based Shark Fishing, Shark Fishing Reports, Surf Fishing, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , | Leave a comment

July Bull Shark Bonanza 7/16&17/2012

Date:  July 16th and 17th 2012

Report By:  Josh

Team Members:  Josh, Justin, and Craig

Weather Conditions:  Scattered showers, minimal seaweed, low 90 degrees

Day 1

Afterour successful March trip, the following weeks of fishing were filled with frustration in the form of high winds and thick sargassum weed.  You can’t fish when there is a lot of sea weed because the weed will wipe out your fishing lines. 

After a team meeting, the unanimous feeling was that we needed to get more sharks on the beach and it needed to be soon.  Fellow Lost Boy Justin Foye, my wife, and I decided to head down to Surfside Beach, Texas Monday afternoon after we read reports of flat surf and minimal weed.  I checked the tides and we were going to have a strong outbound all afternoon.  We arrived on the island at 2:00 pm and were immediately welcomed to flat conditions and breathtaking green water that was well within reach.  I had successfully landed a few stingrays back in June and we had three left, so all we needed was a few pounds of dead shrimp to catch some fresh bait and we were all set to go. 

We finally parked at what looked like a promising spot on the beach and unpacked.  As I set up the rack, rods, and leaders, Justin took to the surf wielding our trusty Sabiki rigs to catch some fresh bait.  Justin immediately landed a few small whiting but we released them in hopes of landing a larger bull whiting.  We pushed forward and ran my Penn Senator 9/0 out baited with a whole ray close to 400 yds. off of the beach into the pristine green water.  By this time the seagulls and pelicans really got active and were bombing the water all over our general area.

Justin Kayaking Baits

Justin Paddling out a Bait

A Good Spot

We picked a great spot on the beach and the water was beautiful!

Rods Out

Getting all the baits kayaked out and the rods in the rod rack!

Stingray Rigged Up Ready To Be Kayaked Out

A picture of our rig with a stingray getting ready to be baited up

Justin and I both went back to catching bait and still were only managing 6-10 inch whiting, so we returned to the truck and baited my Penn Special Senator 4/0 with another ray.  At 4:00 P.M. we got ready to run the ray out with the kayak, and my 9/0 started screaming!   We ran to the rod and let the shark eat for a few more seconds.   I tightened the drag down and harnessed up.  The shark quit fighting and I could feel no action coming from the other end of the line.  The weight still seemed snug in the sand so I put the rod beck in the rack and we waited.  Not 30 seconds goes by and it starts screaming again!  This time I harnessed up tightened down and reeled it all the way in.  Still with no action coming from the end of the line, we were all skeptical at what was going to show itself, if anything.  As the top of the leader exited the water I began to feel some very strong headshakes and then that beautiful dorsal fin erupted from the calm water in the second gut! 

With leader in hand, our first shark hit the beach.  A gorgeous 58 inch black tip hit the sand and this trip was already a great success!  After a few quick pictures we waded her out and she swam of very strong.  We couldn’t believe after only thirty minutes with a line out, we already had one shark landed and released. 

Justing and Josh posing with a nice 58 inch black tip shark

We baited the 9/0 with the final ray and ran it back out roughly 400 yds.  We finally got the 4/0 with the half ray that we baited earlier ran out to roughly 300 yds.  Justin and I went back to looking for that perfect whiting and finally we caught it!  A good 14 inch bull whiting and in no time he was rigged up and out into the green water about 250 yds.

Whiting Rigged

A picture of our leader rig with a whiting ready to be kayaked out

At about 6:00, Justin returned from paddling baits out and the 9/0 took off again.  We harnessed up my wife and the shark was on.  She did a wonderful job using that heavy set up, and especially since it was her first shark and her first time using a non-level wind reel.  We definitely baptized her by fire ha-ha!   This fight was just like the previous, but did have some good head shakes all the way until the leader surfaced.  A few more good head shakes and my wife had her first shark on the beach.  Another beautiful black tip and this one taped out at 48 inches which was her first shark and her new personal best. 

Catherine’s biggest shark to date! A nice fat Black Tip!

We snapped a few quick pictures and released her and once again the shark swam off very strong.   With night approaching quickly, we hurried to get the final half of ray baited up and kayaked out. We finally had all the lines out and could just relax.  The mosquitoes began to swarm and we had neglected to bring any OFF, so we retreated to the truck and watch the glow sticks that we had attached to the lines for any sign of line coming off the reels.  Around 9:50 pm we decided to give it another thirty minutes before we called it quits. 

At 10:10 the smallest setup we had which was an Okuma level wind began to slow roll.  As we exited the cab with our adrenaline starting to pump, the line started screaming off the reel.  We quickly removed it from the rack locked down the drag and fish on!  This shark was mad and wanted us to know it!  He drug us up and down the beach and nearly into the water!  After gaining line and having it ripped off for over an hour, we finally reached the leader.  The shark was exhausted as we drug its massive body onto the beach.  It was a very thick Bull that taped out at 72 inches!  The excitement was overwhelming but we needed to get this shark revived quickly and back on its way.   We snapped a couple pictures and began to revive the shark.  Fifteen minutes later the shark began to kick strong and swam off. 

Josh with his 6 foot fat bull shark!

Justin with the big beautiful bull!

The bull was finally landed after a nearly 40 minute battle!

The day and night were such a huge success we turned our one day trip into a two day and decided to stay the night at a hotel.

 

Day 2

Day two started with a bang as we were greeted by even calmer conditions and green water to the beach.  We stopped by Bayou Bait and Tackle to grab some more rays and a few more pounds of shrimp.  Luckily, the rays had just been brought off the boat and were extremely fresh.  We hit the beach at around 1:00 PM and found our spot from the day before and began to unpack.  Justin hit the surf again for fresh bait and returned with a few decent whiting.  We rigged them up on the small Okuma and ran it out for a short drop of 200 yds. 

The Penn 9/0 set out ready to catch something

Once again as we started to rig up the next line, it started screaming.  We let it eat, locked down the drag but nothing was there.  We set it back in the rack and went back to rigging the 4/0 and 9/0 with rays.  After running out both of the other rods, we had all rods out and began to wait.  Another fellow Lost Boy Craig Emmite showed up for the afternoon and evening bite, and not long after the action started again! 

The Okuma started screaming once again and this time we let it eat good.  Justin locked down the drag and fish on!  After a few good head shakes the line went light and we feared the worst.  As we got the line in I grabbed the leader and our fears were realized as the hook was bare. 

We gathered ourselves and ran it back out with another whiting and waited some more.  At 4:00 PM the 9/0 slow rolled and then took off without any end of the run in sight!  I harnessed up and shark on!  This shark put up a very little fight until it got in to the second bar.  That is where it made some good runs and good head shakes just before the leader surfaced.  As the leader came out of the water, the dorsal fin showed itself and in no time the shark was beached.  Another great bull shark, which taped out at 60 inches, was successfully landed and then released. 

Justin, Craig, and Josh pose with Josh’s second bull of the trip!

Josh walking a bull into water deep enough to for it to swim off strong.

We got the 9/0 rigged back with ray and dropped it the farthest all trip at around 500 yds.  It’s now 5:30 and Craig and I are headed to the surf for more bait when the 4/0 takes off.  Craig harnesses up and shark on again. 

Craig fighting a nice bull shark, while Josh video tapes the action

Craig fought the shark for roughly 20 minutes with little fight once again.  Once the shark hit the second bar it showed it’s dorsal and tail.  I grabbed the leader and pulled another great Bull shark to the sand.  This one taped out at 64 inches and a new personal best for Craig.

Unhooking Craig’s Bull

 

Josh, Justin and Craig work quickly to get the shark unhooked, so it can be released safely

Justin and Josh releasing a bull

We revived her and sent her on her way.  We ran the 4/0 out with another ray and changed the bait on the Okuma from whiting to a ladyfish that Justin caught earlier in the day.  Finally, it was time to relax and build a fire for some light as the night was growing nearer. 

Josh, Craig, and Justin pose in front of the rods as glow sticks hang.

We waited as long as we could but the only action we got before calling it a night was the Okuma getting weeded out.  This was our queue to leave.  With a successful trip and a 5 out of 7 hook up ratio, we were pretty excited about what the trip had produced.  This was definitely a great trip filled with great memories and some even better, personal bests!

Categories: fishing, Land Based Shark Fishing, Shark Fishing Reports, Surf Fishing | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

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