Report By: Chris
Weather Conditions: High 60 degrees, very light wind, sunny, very calm water, waves barely breaking, water muddy colored
Its that time of year when prime sharking season is approaching quickly. This is when I usually start buying new gear, building new rods, making new leaders, and catching bait. Saturday was forecasted to be a beautiful fishing day. I talked to Josh and we decided to head down to the coast in search of catching some fresh bait for shark season.
This would be the first time that I got to wet a line since September. With my wedding, deer season, and the holidays, there hasn’t been much time for anything else, so I was itching to get back in the salt water.
Earlier in the week we had gotten a really good tip on a great place to catch stingrays from a fellow sharker named Clint. He had caught 24 rays in 4 hours at this spot last year around this time of the year. He was feeling confident that the rays were, and that now was the time to go get them. The plans were for Josh and I to meet Clint around 9am on the beach and fish until we had a good bait stock. Josh and I ran into a little trouble when we ran out of gas on the way down to the beach. After a long walk to the nearest gas station and back, we were back on the road headed down to the spot.
We were first to arrive and started getting our bait rods set up. The standard rig for surf fishing for bait fish is usually a double drop rig. It gives you to places to place hooks with the weight on the bottom. For the last couple years we have ditched the double drop for heavy Sabiki Rigs. Sometimes people look at us like we are crazy for fishing Sabiki Rigs because they aren’t very common on the beach, but we found that they out fish a normal double drop rig 3 to 1 at least! We use the heavy rigs with 40lb mainline and 30 lb branches. Eventually, I plan on doing a whole article on the pros and cons of Sabiki Rigs.
While we were getting set up I talked to my buddy Ron, who was fishing a few miles down the beach from us. He was running into a bunch of problems with sea weed down there, so he decided to come join us.
Josh and I baited up 4 rods, each with a Sabiki Rig. Within 3 minuted of the first cast, Josh was hooked into a good fish. After a few short minutes he landed a pretty little black drum. We took a few pictures and then let it go to grow a little bigger. Black drum that size are great table fare and pretty good shark bait, but they weren’t what we were after that day.
Not soon after that, Clint and Ron rolled up and began to get set up also.
I decided to try a new strategy. I put my neoprene waders on, waded out until I was waist deep, cast my rods from there, walked them back to the beach, and stuck them in rod holders so that I could get the bait a little deeper. This was the trick for the day! We were having non stop hookups on the deeper rods. There were times we were pulling in 3-4 rays at once. Every fish for the next hour was a Southern Stingray.
We were so busy catching these rays that we barely got to say hello to the fellas that we were there to fish with. They were pretty busy also. Ron was catching some huge whiting and some good sized rays and Clint was catching tons of rays and some nice black drum.
After about 2 hours the cooler was filled. We decided to stop fishing because we just couldn’t take any more rays if we wanted to. Honestly, we could have doubled the number we caught if we wanted to. When all was said and done, we finished the day with 26 Rays, 1 Black Drum, 2 Whiting, and 2 Croaker.
What a day! I’ve never caught stingrays like that in my life. I’m very thankful that a Clint was so willing to share his spot with us, so that we could get a good bait haul. Now that we got the bait its just a matter of time before we catch the monster shark of our dreams! I’ve got a really good feeling about 2013!