Posts Tagged With: shark fishing

It Might Be Nice If I Could See Some Sharks

Date:  March 23 & 24, 2013

Report ByChris

Team MembersChris, Craig, Justin, Chad, Tommy

Weather Conditions:

  • General – light, misting rain Saturday in the AM, overcast entire day Saturday, thick fog rolled in Saturday early evening and stayed around until after sunset.  Cold front came through late Saturday night.  Sunday was sunny and clear, but cold and windy.
  • Air Temperature – Highs in the mid 70s lows in the low 60s
  • Wind – 5 MPH South East Pre-frontal wind after the front moved though wind picked up to 30 MPH North West wind.
  • Water temperature – 69 degrees
  • Waves – 2-4 breakers with 1-2 foot swells past the breakers,
  • Water Color – muddy and then cleared up to a nice green color with 2’ visibility.

The time had finally come for our first shark fishing trip of the year.   I had spent the last few months preparing gear, developing new tactics, and studying as much as I could to make this season our best one yet.  I still don’t know how I made it through the work week knowing that come Saturday morning I would be back at home on the sand.

The weather was going to be the main challenge we would face over the weekend.  A strong front was going to roll in Saturday night that would bring strong winds and cold weather.  It was going to be overcast and rainy all during the day Saturday, but nothing short of a hurricane was going to keep us off the beach.

Saturday morning finally arrived.  Justin and I left the house at 7:30 AM and headed over to pick up Big Red, our shark fishing trailer, from the welder, who had been performing some maintenance and upgrades.  He did a really great job and I couldn’t be more impressed with the work.  He fixed a bunch of the welds that we were having problems with and devised a new system to make our rails fold up and down and to be pinned into place.  After we got Big Red hooked up, we headed over to Craig’s to load her back up and head to the beach.

We were on the road by 9:15 AM with an hour and a half trip ahead of us.  The excitement was killing us.  I had read a report on Extreme Coast from the weekend prior in the same area that we were planning on fishing where the angler had caught 20 sandbar sharks in 2 days.  The average size of his sharks was about 6.5’.  That report kept me up every night that week!  We spent the hour and a half drive talking about what our weekend might bring and that if we were to have half the luck that guy did then we would have a heck of a trip.

Finally, we arrived at a new spot that I had scouted in the off season at 10:45 AM.  We immediately began catching bait, setting up shark rods with leaders and weights, and getting the kayaks ready to deploy our first baits.  Big whiting, black drum, and sheepshead were plentiful in the surf.  Our plan was to try a variety of baits and tackle setup to see what would work best.  Our first baits went out right around noon; a huge meaty whiting, a nice sized black drum, and a bloody plate sized stingray were on the menu.

Two new reels and the new rod I finished building just in time for the trip

New Reel on the rod I finished building just days before the trip

Whiting rigged up ready to go

Within the next 45 minutes our biggest fears came to life.  We watched our lines slowly start to bow and drift into the current.  The seaweed had found its way onto our lines and was weighing them down and wiping them out one by one.  We had even made special 2 lb. weights with stainless steel legs for this trip that didn’t stand a chance to the 50 lb. clumps that built up on the line.

Pre-deployment meeting as Tommy’s daughter watches on

At 2 PM we made a group decision to pack up camp and head to another spot that we had caught many sharks at in the past.  The new spot was on the other side of a pass that leads to the bay system.  We thought the pass could make a difference on the weed and conditions.

We couldn’t have been more right.  As soon as we got to the new spot we were greeted with beautiful, much calmer, green, clear water.  There were pelicans and seagulls diving in the surf.  The best part was the seaweed was very scarce here.  After being discouraged for the last few hours, this new spot gave us a second wind like a jolt of lightning.

Justin relaxing at the new spot

Justin getting ready to kayak in the cold water as Chad and Tommy help him suit up

Rushing to get baits out, we deployed 5 rods back to back.  We again had a spread of baits that consisted of jack crevalle, stingray, whiting, sheepshead, and black drum.  As I cross the 3rd sandbar, kayaking the 4th bait, I hear my brother on the two-way radio call to me and say, “Chris, you better drop it there and turn around.  I can’t see you any more”.  I turned around and realized that I could barely see the shore.  A thick blanket of fog had overcome us at a tremendous speed.  I kayaked about 50 more yards, dropped the bait, and headed back to shore.

Black Drum rigged with double J hooks

It was now about 6 PM.   Justin headed out for what would be our last bait deployment of the day.  The fact was that the fog was just too thick.  We couldn’t see anything past the 1st sandbar.  Honestly, we probably shouldn’t have let Justin take that last bait out (A key to staying safe during this process is maintaining visual contact.  If something happens to one of us we have a rescue kayak ready to spring into action).  When he got back we all had a discussion and decided that it wasn’t safe to go out in the kayak any more, even though we had 2 other rods ready to go, tons of fresh bait, and a decent amount of daylight left.

Fog so thick you can’t see the dunes

Way too thick to kayak

Having deployed all the baits we could for the evening we decided to rinse off, throw on some fresh clothes and sit around the camp fire.  I got undressed, rinsed off, wrapped up in a towel, and headed for my clean clothes in the truck as Justin went to take his turn rinsing off.   Right when Justin starts rinsing off the 9/0 with a chunck of sheepshead starts a slow roll.  I realize that we are the only 2 near the rod and we are both wearing nothing but towels.  I climbed the ladder to the platform as quickly as I could ready to do battle in my birthday suit when the fish dropped the bait and decided not to come back.  Thank God because that could have made for some of the most embarrassing blackmail pictures.  Imagine a 230 lb white boy fighting a shark in nothing but a fighting belt.  It’s enough to make a blind man scream.

Camp set up for night fishing

Things remained pretty quiet until right as the sun went down.  Almost every rod got picked up.  We had 6 runs in 45 minutes without a fish ever committing to a bait.  My guess is they were all small sharks because they only took about 10 feet of line each run and dropped it.  We all sat around the fire as our adrenaline rushes slowly subsided after the frenzy of runs slowed and then stopped.  We spent the rest of the evening talking about women, fishing, and the good old days and eating a beach dinner.  Around 11 PM we all decided to settle in to our tents and call it a night.  We still had 5 rods out at this point and we were pretty sure that 3 of them still had bait.

Sleeping on the beach is one of my favorite things to do.  There is nothing like falling asleep under the stars with a nice gulf breeze carrying through your tent and listening to the sound of the waves rolling in the background, hoping to be awoken by the chaos of a reel screaming as a shark picks up a bait.  That peacefulness ended around 3 AM, but not by the sweet sound of a screaming drag, but instead by the predicted cold front.  Poseidon decided to let us feel his wrath.  The winds were upwards in the mid 30 MPH range.  Justin and Tommy’s tent collapsed.  Craig’s tent pretty much collapsed.  I thought that my tent cot was going to get tipped over.  Chad was surprisingly comfortable.  Fortunately, we all made it through the night, some with a little more sleep than others.

Craig is sleeping somewhere in that pile!

We awoke to clear, sunny skies and a furious wind.  When we brought in our baits, my suspicion of small sharks toying with our baits was solidified.  The jack crevalle roast was gone, the jack crevalle head was fully intact, the 2 rods with sheepsheads had the bait taken, and the rod with the big ray had a bunch of small 3-4” diameter bite marks taken out of it.  With the 30 MPH wind sandblasting us and blowing directly into the gulf, we decided it wasn’t safe to try to kayak any more that morning.

What we woke up to

We spent the next hour or so packing up and reflecting on our trip.  We left the beach slightly disappointed yet fulfilled at the same time.  We had our first skunking since July of 2011, but I feel that we couldn’t have fished any harder.  We left nothing on the table.  Luck just wasn’t on our side this weekend, but we still had a great time and were able to be back on the Texas Gulf Coast doing the activity I love most in life, fishing for sharks.  It’s early in the year and we have a long season ahead of us.  We’ll get ‘em next time.

//

Categories: camping, fishing, Land Based Shark Fishing, outdoors, shark, Shark Fishing Reports, Surf Fishing, texas | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Our Biggest Bull Shark Yet “We gotta mess with that!” 8-17-2012

Date:  August 17th and 18th 2012

Report By:  Chris

Team Members:  Chris, Craig, Justin, Josh, and Tom

Weather Conditions:  Temperature in the high 80’s and Low 90’s, scattered thunderstorms, 3-6 foot breaking waves, light to medium weed, and muddy colored water

After taking two weekends off in a row, The Lost Boys were at it again!  We decided to hit our normal stretch of beach with the plan to fish Friday and Saturday.

We studied the weather and water conditions all week and the forecast didn’t look promising.  Originally the water was supposed to be clean and flat, but as the weekend approached some bad weather rolled in.  The waves were breaking at up to 6 feet and the water looked like chocolate milk, but the weather conditions were the least of our worries.

A few of the thousands of Shad killed by the Red Tide

A red tide bloom had come through the weekend before and killed massive amounts of fish on the beach.  Red Tide is a naturally occurring toxic algae bloom that comes through occasionally in the later summer.  It can kill fish, birds, and other animals.  It will shut down beach fishing for the year.  Luckily it was a light bloom that didn’t appear to stick around.  However, we had come this far, so we were fishing no matter what.

Shad as far as the eye can see

A close up of some of the shad

We arrived on the beach Friday and quickly set up the trailer, camp, and started catching bait.  Fishing was rough from the start.  We had the hardhead curse.  We couldn’t catch anything except for those nasty catfish.  Every once in a while we would pull in a small whiting, but nothing else.

A nice big whiting for bait!

After we were able to secure a few decent sized whiting, Justin decided to kayak out one on Josh’s rod.  It was our only bait out, while we were putting fresh line on our other rods due to all the break-offs we had last trip.  It sat for about 45 minutes and then took off with the strongest run that I had ever heard.

It was lightning fast.  We fish with a 40 foot sliding trace leader, so the shark won’t feel the weight until it has run 40 feet.  Well, that 40 feet went in about 3 seconds.  Then the shark paused for a split second, as expected, when it picked up the weight, but then it took off even faster.  Josh grabbed the rod and started spinning the star drag to slow the fish down.  He got the drag completely locked down and didn’t slow down the fish for a second.   Then all of a sudden tragedy struck!

The suddenly went limp.  It had been cut.  It wasn’t a pop, just a slack.  We think there had either been a previous abrasion, or a mystery fish swam into the line and cut us off.  FUUUUUUUU!!!!! It would have been nice to land that fish, but that screaming drag gave us a sudden wave of adrenaline.

Justin, the kayaking God, testing his walkie talkie before taking out a bait

Justin and I began taking turns getting baits out, first, Justin with a stingray, then me with a whiting, and then Justin again…and again…and again.  Justin is a kayaking machine.  He will run a line out 400 yards through six foot breaking waves, get back to the beach, grab another line, and do it all again.  I don’t know how he does it!

The trailer is set up for the evening. You can see how bad the weather is in the background.

An awesome glowstick we picked up from the dollar store. We also had green tridents.

After the machine gun kayaking, we had 4 lines out with good baits on.  Two bull whiting and two nice stingrays.  We were feeling good for the night.  Justin has a sixth sense when it comes to fishing.  We gather around him at the beginning of every trip, like he is a witch doctor, and wait for his prediction.  He was predicting a big shark for the night!  We started to settle into camp with some gas station burritos, Cheetos Puffs, a nice camp fire, and cold drinks when all of a sudden we see our lines drifting from right to left.  It had to be seaweed!  FUUUUUUUU!

Oh well, we had a nice camp going and good company, so we decided to hang out for a while before we began the arduous task of bringing in the weeded out lines.  After about an hour of camp life, we decided to pack it up and call it a night.

Craig and Justin digging out the fire pit

Chris, Tom, Craig, and Justin relaxing around the fire

We started with my rod, which was swept out so badly that it was almost horizontal to the beach.  As I’m finishing up bringing in my rod, Josh starts bringing in my other rod.  About three minutes into Josh’s battle with the weed, his rod baited with a whole stingray takes off hard.  We knew this couldn’t be seaweed.  I picked up the rod and let whatever was on the other end eat for about 20 seconds and then locked down the drag.   I felt nothing.  No head shakes and nothing pulling.  I was thinking that the fish must have missed the hook, so I set it back down and loosened the drag back.  Moments later it took off again.

Josh hooked up!

Something was on, but it had to be a small shark.  It wasn’t fighting at all.  All Josh could feel was the weight of the seaweed on the line.  Justin, Craig and I took the release kit and waited in the water to unhook this pesky little shark.   After about 20 minutes, the first thing I see is a giant ball of sargassum weed mixed with sauerkraut weed riding on top of the leader.  Justin and I worked to get it all cleared, when we looked up and see a dorsal and tail fin bolting back and forth in the gut!  Shark on!  It was no pesky little shark either!  It was a nice big bull!

Justin and I quickly leadered the fish, pulled it on the beach, and got it unhooked while Craig snapped pictures the whole way.  While we are pulling it up a fish starts squirming down the side of the shark.  Justin shouted, “There’s a baby shark on it!”  Hahaha! Oh Justin!  It was a remora, but it gave us a really good laugh and Justin may never live it down.

Justin and Chris pulling in the shark

By the time we had it on the sand, Josh met us with the bolt cutters.  We cut the hook and had the hook out in no time.  The next step was to get a measurement.  We look down at the tape…six feet eight inches and fat as can be.  Holy Wow!  Our biggest bull shark yet!  Unfortunately we didn’t break seven feet, but we were happy.  We get a few more quick pictures before the release the big male bull shark.  He swam off nice and strong and couldn’t have been happier to get away from us.

Cutting the hook with bolt cutters

Cutting the hook helps us release the shark quickly and safely

Justin – “I wouldn’t mess with that Chris!”
Craig – “WE GOTTA MESS WITH THAT!!!”

Josh with the trophy shot!

In normal fashion, we celebrated with some warm Cold Duck!  It was getting late by this point and we had no more lines out, so we decided to pack up the trailer and head back to the house for a good night sleep in a comfortable bed.

The next day was fairly uneventful, so I will make the rest of this report short and sweet.  Tom joined us in the morning, and we got to the beach in the early afternoon and set up another variety of baits that ranged from stingray, butterfly ray, and whiting.

A butterfly ray rigged up

At around 5:30 we were joined by a new friend named Ron.  We had never fished before with Ron, nor had we even met him in person, but we had an awesome time with him.  We tried to share some of our shark fishing knowledge with Ron and he shared some prime baits with us.  He came equipped with some awesome shark gear and some great baits.  He had a fresh southern ray that was about two and a half feet across and the biggest whiting I had ever seen (almost 20 inches).

Ron’s Monster Whiting

We tried our best that day, but didn’t even get one run.  It wasn’t for a lack of effort either.  The waves had picked up, so we were dealing with some of the roughest kayaking we had done yet.  We had nothing to show for it though and sadly we weren’t able to put Ron on a big land based shark.

We talked tom into putting on a Dinosaur hat we picked up at the dollar store earlier. He’ll probably kill me for posting this.

The Lost Boys with our new friend Ron

We all had a great time though with some great friends, which is all that really matters.  Sometimes the ocean gets the best of you.  This summer has been hard fishing.  We just haven’t been able to get the stars to line up for us.  However, we still have been doing alright on the beach and hopefully we continue to catch fish.

Categories: fishing, Land Based Shark Fishing, outdoors, shark, Shark Fishing Reports, Surf Fishing | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

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