10. Fishing Hard
Fishing hard means going to work and taking your fishing seriously. Many folks run down the beach and spend a lot of time chatting with people at other campsites, partying, and spending their time relaxing. That is cool. However, consistently producting handsome catches requires paying some dues to get the system down.
When learning to shark fish, a person is going to have to put enough time in so their mind begins to recognize the patterns. I can put all this nice stuff on the internet to give you an orientation, but you are going to have to hit the sand and practice the system enough to make it your own. As mentioned before, it takes about fifty days on the beach to become a consistent producer.
Most folks will need to make about five shark fishing trips for this stuff to start making sense. Be patient with yourself. Time on the beach will saturate your subconscious mind with information. After a while you will start to see the patterns. Eventually your brain will crack the code and it is all downhill from there. Just relax and experience the learning process.
Get the day started EARLY!
Many times we head down the highway and roll down the beach at night to find a camp before the sun rises. When the first person in the camp awakens at twilight, they wake everyone up. The best time to catch bait is the first hour of sun light. Within the first hour of sunlight baits are deployed and the fishing begins. Wind is usually calmest at sunrise so kayaking is usually best then.
Often the first shark is landed before 8:00 am in the morning when starting early. You need to be fresh for this. A hangover is going to put someone behind in the game, before the day has started.
As the sun continues to rise, the fishing slows by 10:00 am and the shark move out to deeper water off the beach when the water is clear and green, and the sun is bright. On those days, you can still get to them but the yak out is 300+ yards on a sunny day.
Yes, re-baiting your hook makes the topics list. Often a new fellow runs his bait out and lets it sit for six hours before checking it. Fish baits need to be checked and changed every hour and a half to two hours. Stingrays are very resilient and will not be eaten by the crabs so they may be checked less frequently. If you have ever fished a pier for redfish or pup sharks, you know that you need to check each casted rod every forty-five minutes to see if you still have bait. Shark baits are a little larger, so it takes the crabs a little longer to maul a bait.
Nothing beats a fresh sexy bait. Baits that have sat in the water a while with cloudy eyes are ready to be changed. Sharks are very picky eaters, I don’t care what Nigel says on Shark Week. Nothing beats a fresh bleeding bait. Most sharks will pass up the stuff you buy at the fish market; they want it fresh, as in caught today.
The Magic of Sunset
Some days the fishing is fast and some days it is slow. Some days every bait you put out is hit within half an hour. Other days the action is slow and your camp may only have a few pick- ups. By the time the evening approaches, many people are defeated since the camp has not produced a shark yet. Well, if you throw the towel in now, you are going to miss the best shark fishing of the day.
In my experience, the time of the day that produces the most sharks is the first hour after the sun dips over the horizon. As twilight envelops the surf, the sharks move in closer and cruise the shallower water looking for a meal. There have been times when my reels did not turn a click during the day, and all three rigs deployed were hit within thirty minutes of the sun touching down. It’s like watching roman candles as each rod bends over, reels start screaming, and glow sticks shoot into the darkness of the surf. Frowns turn to smiles, people can’t stop talking, and everyone is excited.
PUTTING IT ALL TOGETHER
In looking back at the material covered in this handbook, it is important to note that shark fishing is a process. And all the elements need to come together for the system to really work for the angler. Many time people will come along and be inventive when it comes to something new. My advice is to imitate the TSF shark fishing methodology as close as possible during the early stages of your shark fishing journey. This is the basic system that won a 9 month shark fishing competition here in Texas.
There is a lot of information in the handbook. It is wise to re-read it several times and absorb the details. The material is explained in a very condensed manner. It does not go to great length to explain why the elements work, it is simply an illustration of exactly what to do to get results. If you imitate success, you will be successful. It has been said that the dictionary is the only place where success comes before work. In shark fishing, hard work is the beginning, middle, and end of success.
Here is a recap of key elements in the system.
-You are going to have to be an optimist and have some mental toughness.
-You have going to have to spend some time on the beach to get this down. 25 Days of fishing just gets you started.
-You will need to build a crew of team oriented people and manage the politics of keeping that crew together.
-Be prepared for the beach environment.
-Use metal pipe for rod spikes and dig these in deep.
-Take care of your bait and change your bait every hour or two. Always keep you bait on ice, not in the sun.
-Best time to catch your bait is in the morning.
-Introductory reel is a 6/0 wide or 9/0. Penn and Daiwa make great reels in this class.
-Spool these reels with 50 lbs mono, except for the last 50+ yards of 80# or 100# top shot.
-Good starter rod is 6′ to 7′ with a metal rod seat. Rod should be rated 60 to 80 class range.
-Get a fighting belt, even if it is not very expensive.
-20/0 circle hooks, coated with electrical tape.
-Leader is 6 feet of #250 lbs plastic coated cable on the lower end, connecting to a snap swivel, and ten to fifteen feet of #400 test weed eater line or heavy mono on the top section.
-Weight is a 3 inch section of 1/2 copper pipe filled with lead, and the prongs of the weight are 10 gage copper wire for standard weights and 8 gage for heavy weights.
-Bait is a 10″ to 15″ long surf fish, unless a 1 lbs chunk of stingray or baby ray. 15″ long fish bait will catch an 8′ tiger shark.
-Generally, baits are deployed 300 – 400 yards out to where the water is at least 10′-12′ deep. Exception is Matagorda where the sharks are in closer. If seas are too rough, baits may be dropped between the second and third sandbar as a backup.
-Baits are run into the direction the current is coming from. Most of the time lines should be angled at least 30 degrees into the current.
-Timing of the waves makes kayaking easier. Paddle fast over the bars, and conserve energy where the water is calm. Big roller waves come in sets. Time the waves before crossing the bars.
-Try out a kayak before you buy it.
-Don’t forget safety.
-Use the mousetrap system to increase your hookup rate.
-Be prepared for catch and release. The time that is most disorganized is when you leader the shark. Have your gear ready so you can deal with chaos.
-Quickly pull the bolt cutters when you have problems getting the hook out.
-Keep the shark in the water as much as possible when handling it.
-Small camps produce more sharks.
-Fishing hard means fishing with dedication. A good trip is at least two days and one night straight.
-Catching sharks requires confidence. Don’t be discouraged when the bite is slow.
-Most blacktips are landed early in the morning or at sunset.
-Celebrate the success of others.
-Bring plenty of spare tackle. Best way to always find yourself fishing alone is to be the guy who is always asking someone else for weight, hooks, and line.
-Make your leaders before you get to the beach.
As you start to fish there will be times the bite is on and there will be times the bite is slow. When someone comes up short several trips in a row, they start questioning how they are rigging their baits, what baits they are using, and questioning everything they do. The answer to this is look at what you are doing and compare it to the handbook. But if you are doing what we say, you just need to keep making trips and not get discouraged. Do not reinvent the wheel and over engineer what works. Most of the creativity in shark fishing is where you fish, not how you make your leaders. We have provided you with an excellent system that catches sharks.
To learn this sport, you are going to have to fish the calendar. There are hot seasons and slow seasons. and when you mega productive a great trip, don’t be discouraged in the future. if every trip is not a top trip. Remember this is why they call it fishing.
If you are new to the sport or an experienced sharker, this is a good read. As Sir Francis Bacon said, ” Some books are to be tasted, others to be swallowed, and some few to be chewed and digested: that is, some books are to be read only in parts, others to be read, but not curiously, and some few to be read wholly, and with diligence and attention.” The Shark Fishing Handbook is to be read with diligence and attention. We recommend you read the materials three or more times studying the diagrams and details.
As you have questions, join our messageboard and post your questions directly to me concerning the handbook. I will be happy to answer them on the board. If you do not have a messageboard account, please sign up and participate in our forum. Post up and tell people who you are, what your experience is, and where you are from. We will be happy to work with you and make the shark fishing dream real for you. Here is a link to the messageboard: TSF MESSAGEBOARD.
Christopher Deaver ~ THE POWER FISHERMAN