Posts Tagged With: surf 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.

//

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Categories: camping, fishing, Land Based Shark Fishing, outdoors, shark, Shark Fishing Reports, Surf Fishing, texas | 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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