Land Based Shark Fishing isn't a matter of life and death, it is MUCH more important than that
Why Do We Do It
I think the reason I love land based shark fishing is because of the adrenaline rush you get when that reel starts screaming for your attention saying "SHARK ON!!!" Sharks are what some consider taboo and frightening. I also got into catching sharks because what else can you catch from the beach that is bigger and badder than you? I cant afford an offshore boat to go after big boys, so I found something I could catch from the sand. Land based shark fishing is a great adventure.
Shark Fishing Information
Shark Fishing is very hard work, and takes many hours on the beach to reap rewards. Some get lucky on their 1st time out with victory, but this is rare. Determination and methodology can lead you to the shark of your dreams. I strongly suggest you study on shark fishing web sites, forums and blogs, and be active. Ask questions, offer suggestions, meet people, fish with experienced shark fishermen/women. Sharks are usually most active at sunset, and sunrise. You're also seeing more and more women shark fishing, so it is now not only a mans sport!
It's not just the fight thats rewarding, it's also the challenge, the photos, tagging and the releasing of the shark the gives you the feel of success! For info on shark tagging. Tagging instructions can be found at NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration)
Be sure you have proper and up to date fishing license. Game wardens can, and sometimes will take all your fishing gear and or fine you. Most any bait shop, sporting goods store carry them. Some that allow you to drive on the beach requires a permit. Strange as it may sound, you may need more than 1 permit per state. They are pretty cheap for a year.
Shark Fishing Gear and where to get it
I once heard "good is not cheap, and cheap is not good" and I swear by this. You do not have to have the biggest, baddest reel made to pull in big record sharks. Find you a budget, and buy the best you can afford, and upgrade when you can. Buying cheap can cost you an record breaking catch or that personal best shark.
Reels I have found to be the most popular for starters and have proven to be able to catch some nice sharks are the Penn 6/0 and 9/0. Daiwa 600h and 900h has also been a very proven reel as well. All 4 of these models will do you a fine job shark fishing from a beach.
I personally use a Penn 12/0 and also a Daiwa 900h and have been very happy with them both.
Some of the newer model reels are 2 speed, and those are nice. A bit more costly, but nice. I have seen a 3 speed reel, but I think thats a bit of a over kill for landbased shark fishing.
Places To Fish For SharksMost any beaches and bays, jetties, some places better than others. Make sure you know the rules, and laws before attempting to fish for sharks. Some states do not allow shark fishing, some just don't allow it in some areas. Some states allow you to drive on the beach, some will not allow it.
You'll need to look at the rules on camping. Many beaches allow it, some don't. Same with camp fires. Those that don't allow camping on the beach usually will allow you to fish all night, just not pitch a tent, or tent cot and sleep on the beach. Most beaches have the rule posted as you enter.
When your shark baits are run and your wait, get your cast net and seek more bait. Use a bait caster and fish for more bait. Remember, fresh bait is always best. Your better baits are Stingray, whiting, mullet. These are what I use most. Sometimes, tuna heads are really good. Skipjack is also another good bait. You'll want to try several different baits. If there are several shark rigs in the water, try different baits and different distances.
Beach EthicsMost important, be sure to clean up after yourself, do not leave trash behind. Leave nothing behind except foot prints and tire tracks I believe all beaches do not allow glass bottles, or glass containers. Keep your alcohol consumption under control. Don't provide minors alcohol. Keep camp fires under control. Remember the people that live in the homes close by the beach, at dark, keep music levels lower. Last but not least, be respectful to those around you. If fishing for sharks, and others come to swim, be fair, tell them in advance what you are fishing for. Some people don't want to be around it, and will move to another location.
Remember, salt water is very hard on your vehicle. I strongly suggest getting it undercoated. Sand is also hard on a vehicle if you're in a state that allows driving on the beach. Most of the people prefer 4 wheel drive, and is wise to have. Many places will be marked "4 Wheel Drive Only". If you have 2 wheel drive, and go in a 4 wheel drive area, chances are, you're going to get stuck. I doubt anybody will help you. Now if you're in 4 wheel drive and get stuck, people are usually pretty good in helping out. Having a winch is also a very good idea. Make sure your engine fluids are full. In the sand, transmission coolers are always a plus, oil coolers are good to have as well. Always, and I can't stress enough, always have a tow rope or tow strap. Some people use chains, and I have never been much of a fan of those. If one breaks while under pressure, somebody could get hurt, and major damage to your vehicle. After your trip to the beach, it is a good idea to take your vehicle to the car wash and get a belly wash. I also carry a GPS to mark spots I have fished and liked. It's real easy to forget exactly where you was at if you visit several beaches. Your best bet on tires is a good All Terrian tire. A wider foor print is usually best. I personally like the BF Goodrich AT tire. Goodyear also makes a good looking AT tire.
Beach SafetyIt is wise to always have first-aid kit, but sometimes, you need more than that. Have a route to the closet hospital. You'll not always be within cell towers and be without service. If at all possible, have 2 kayaks at your camp in case the person deploying your shark baits gets in trouble. If a hook is stuck in you, and comes back out, just cut the barb off, then hook will come out easy. Having a small set of bolt cutters for larger hooks is advised, and smaller hooks, a simple wire cutter should be fine. Good idea to have walkie talkie's to stay in contact with the person in the kayak. Some people use an air horn to signal the person in the kayak. Ham radio or CB radio is also a good idea in case you need to contact somebody if there is no cell service Having a weather alert raido is always a good idea
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