We had waited all day but finally the tide was right for a rematch with yesterday's lost lemon shark. Paulos and I were on the beach, fresh bait caught, rods cast - sat back waiting for that 28 foot twitch!
And we waited. Two hours later we hadn't had a touch. On Paulos' advice I put a fresh mullet head on one of the red drum rods, chucked it out as far as I could and minutes later it was away.
I could tell it was a shark as it peeled all the 25lb line off the reel and onto the backing, eventually working it back and a 5" 2' lemon shark was on the beach (below). Not as big as last nights lost fish, but that really didn't matter - delighted!
After a missed run an hour or so later a shark rod was away again, I hit it and was pretty sure I was hooked up to a big sandbar shark. As before the first run stripped all 200 yards of the 40lb line and quite a bit of backing braid, but I opted for a relentless fight - bullying the fish whenever I could...
And 25 minutes later Paulos grabbed a fairly fresh 6" 7' sandbar shark from the surf. One angry shark thrashed about being unhooked and smacked me round the head with its tail as we measured it - that will teach me to rush he fight!
With a six footer landed on a night with only 3 runs we called it quits and headed home for some much needed sleep. Mission accomplished!
The weather was cooler, the skeeter activity had died down and we were on the beach to fish the low tide. Two heavy shark rods were cast and we were setting up the red drum rods when I glanced over, one of the shark rods was away. After a good run I hit the fish and nothing... How does that happen?
The rod was rebaited with fresh stingray, cast out and soon away again - same story, I missed it! Over the next hour the same rod was away 3 times, Paulos missing two fish (at least it wasn't just me) before Roger finally hit one - fish on!
We wound in the other rods and were set for an epic battle, and after hammering out to sea Roger worked the shark back into the surf, in the spotlight we could see it was a good lemon shark, six foot plus - then the hook pulled - f&$k!!
That was the last of the shark activity but both Roger and myself landed a consolation red drum at 37' and 39' respectively. We'll be back for those sharks tomorrow...
We were on the beach to fish the low tide at midnight, it looks like the nocturnal sandbar sharks are our best big shark option. Not a touch for the first hour or so but then the rod baited with a whole bluefish head hammered away - the nightlight shooting out across the water.
After a 200 yard run I set the hook (you can't set the hook until they stop), then began a brilliant 40 minute fight in the starlight. Long runs left and right with lots of angry head shaking before Paulos collared him in the surf and dragged him up the beach.
A 6" 6' male sandbar shark, not as bulky as the females but all muscle - well worth the late night!
We quickly followed him up with a small sandbar shark and a small sharpnose shark to Paulos. Then as suddenly as they had arrived they disappeared - the rods remained motionless for another hour or so before we called it quits.
With the weather set to change I'm really hoping to get another trip or two in - fingers crossed...
Back to Florida for the afternoon and the water and weather conditions looked perfect for sharks - excitement levels were running high as we made the first long range casts...
But the first few hours produced only a bluefish (for bait) and a catfish to Paulos. We were really struggling fishing in the open surf, and had to drag ourselves away from what looked like an ideal spot...
We moved to an inlet and let some bluefish chunks soak, after about an hour one of the rods hooped over, another blacknose shark at 4" 4' a new PB for the species, they don't get much bigger...
Half an hour later the rod hooped round again, but this felt different - pure power - it hammered out to sea before the line went slack. The shark had bitten through the 210lb wire!!
Paulos said it was probably a tiger shark - would have liked to have seen one of those, but these things happen. And a 4" blacknose shark on the next cast partly made up for it.
To avoid the skeeters we headed to the offshore coast; wind, weed and dirty water - not ideal - but hopefully a shark or two would play. It was a long walk through the wet sand and we sat for an hour or so before one of the rods knocked round - a stingray lost in the darkness.
Next up was a 37' red drum (top photo), perhaps we'd made the right move, a sandbar shark about 3 foot soon followed. Half an hour later a light rod nearly ripped from the spike - shark on!
Initially it stayed deep but then surfaced, we saw it in the spotlight - the double dorsal fin showed it was a lemon shark in the rough water. Great fight, and fifteen minutes later a 5" 3½' shark was beached - brilliant, these are the ones we're after!
We hoped there were more but the lines were getting weeded up so we packed up and made the long walk back.
Seven straight days fished and blogged - and without a blank - not a great deal of sharks but that seven footer more than made up for it, plus the monster stingray and those hard fighting reds. I'll take that any week!
There's a cold front coming, not enough to kill the mosquitoes but will probably put the sharks off - so going to take a couple of days off - then we'll grab the gear and head to Florida...
Another day fishing in paradise. Except post hurricane paradise has become infected! Mosquitoes are everywhere, you have to be inside or within a couple of feet of the ocean in strong daylight to avoid them - you can't even read the paper on the porch or take your time walking to the car!
Fishing in the afternoon sun was great, and we landed a butterfly ray (new species), a 35' red drum (above), a 30' sharpnose shark, four small sandbar sharks and four little stingrays.
We even had a take on the heavy shark gear but despite an impressive first run the hook failed to find a hold.
Because the mosquitoes have been getting more and more active over the last week we were prepared - or so we thought.
Post hurricane land is full of pools of stagnant water and they have had chance to breed like mad, several locals said it's the worst they've ever seen...
Sunset was getting close and the little vampires were on the move. Despite the heat we were in hoodies and trousers - there were fish to catch and a bunch of bloody insects weren't going to stop us...
The air became still and the attack began, we stuck it out for 4-5 hours in the dark, but it was really unpleasant fishing - getting bitten hundreds of times.
The reason we stayed was the red drum were around, we landed 4 more of them to 41', including a beautiful orange fish to Roger. And we thought there might be a shark or two hanging about eating them. It was too much, at about 2am we made our retreat!
One more day and I'll have fished and blogged the whole week - need to find somewhere with a bit of wind tomorrow, hopefully keep the skeeters from landing...
Our best tide of the trip so far was due to peak about 10pm last night, we set off in the dark and were fishing by nine. An hour or so later I heard Paulos shout SHARK!
I grabbed the rod and watched the first run take all 200 yards of mono and about 100 yards of braid backing with nothing I could do about it, while Roger and Paulos pulled the other gear in.
The fight can't be rushed, with 40lb line and a 200lb+ shark one mistake will spoil the trip. Paulos and Roger just watched as I slowly gained and lost line, target one is to get off the backing, target two is to see the shark surface in the spotlight - this took about 40 minutes.
Another 15 minutes later I had her in the surf, Paulos waded out to grab her while Roger kept the spotlight on proceedings (including keeping an eye out for gators). The shark was safely beached, a new PB and a seven footer!
I was absolutely shattered but a 7" ½' sandbar shark was quickly measured, photographed and returned. Mission accomplished, brilliant - thanks Paulos and Roger.
Before the main event I managed a little sandbar shark and Roger landed red drum of 42' (above) and about 40' - great stuff - and we're hoping the bigger sharks have moved back in...
We ventured out to a beach facing open water, it was rough and really muddy but Paulos and I thought we'd give it a try.
And a couple of hours later there was a gentle pull on one of the rods, I struck and all went solid. Then it ran, initially we both thought shark but then it went solid again - big stingray on 25lb line?
Paulos noted the time and wished me luck!
Fighting a stingray is really hard work, if you stop at all the fish will bury itself... Well 45 minutes of unrelenting, back breaking fight later she was in the shallows.
Paulos managed to grab her in the dirty water and dragged her up the beach, one angry monster of the deep. I was delighted, my biggest stingray by a long way.
And until now we've only caught species that are freshwater tolerant (reds, sandbars & lemon), perhaps the big sharks are on their way in - fingers crossed!
I also added a 38' red drum and a little eel (the hook wasn't in it but it didn't want to let go of the bait). We then fished on well into darkness with high hopes of a shark or two, but just one dropped run in three hours for our efforts.
No sharks tonight but conditions keep improving...
Patience. The sharks (and stingrays) are hopefully in the open water, and we'll hopefully be able to get on them later in the week. And for now I really don't mind catching red drum - I'd only caught three before this trip.
Me and Roger did manage 3 little sandbar sharks, the biggest one above in pearlescent purple - wouldn't mind seeing one about six or seven foot. Then I landed two hard fighting red drum - great fights, long runs and they never give up - especially the second one...
With flooding tide and strong winds Paulos knew of a 'beach' that might be ideal. The beach was a strip of sand about 8 foot wide, ocean in front and a swamp behind.
That's; hopefully sharks infront of us, probably alligators behind us and possibly rattle snakes on the path in between. We needn't have worried - it was the mosquitos that were trying to eat us alive!
Starting fishing well after dark it didn't take long before I hit a shark, another little one, but this one was a lemon shark - one of our target species. We're hoping the bigger ones are in the open water - and hoping we can get on them soon.
The only other action was from a 42' red drum, not a bad shark substitution, really like catching these - the barbel of the sea - man they fight!
First trip out in search of a post-hurricane shark and we began by exploring some recently reopened beaches, the wind was really strong and the sea was full of debris - but Paulos was still hopeful we would find a fish - and I hoped it would be a shark!
We found a sheltered section of beach and cast out some fresh mullet sections and an hour or so later a slow take on my rod and I connected to a sandbar shark, only a little one but a shark was on the beach - great stuff, where's there is one hopefully there will be more.
Over the next couple of hours me and Roger hooked up some hard fighting red rum, 40' above, 43' below and 41' bottom photo. All 20lb plus and an arm ache of a fight
Paulos then added another shark, a second little sandbar shark. With the little ones feeding we were hopeful we'll be able to find something a bit bigger. The tides are against us and the wind is howling at the moment, it's set to die down later in the week - and we'll be able to get to some more remote marks.
But a great start, as well as the fishing we also saw a lot of local nature including; dolphins, eagles, pelicans, spoon bills and even a manatee. Can't wait to get back out!
"And he who plans to go shark fishing for the second half of October, and who books it so long ago may be struck by an almighty storm. The waves will reach thirty foot in height and the winds will blow at over a million miles an hour..."
I was going to chuck the remaining bait away from the weekend, I thought I might as well chuck it in the local river and put a hook in some of it. I only had an hour but glad I went, three chub to 4lb 5½oz and two barbel to 4lb 14oz. The biggest chub was almost white, I've heard the colour has something to do with their diet - to the Google!
A second trip to The Stour hoping to better last times PB chub of 5lb 14oz and hopefully push me over the six pounder mark. It's not easy fishing, in fact it's tough going, but the odd glimpse of a monster keeps you focussed.
James opened proceedings with his tradition chub first cast, just under five pounds, and I was so close to falling in netting it - how I turned and grabbed the vegetation I don't know - perhaps I'm a secret ninja?
I had a lot of ideas since the first trip on this section and plugged away throughout the day landing chub of 3lb and 4lb 2oz on rolled meat, a 4lb 1oz chub on float fished maggot, and a 4lb 4oz on ledgered meat after dark.
The big ones didn't come out to play and we didn't surpass the five pound mark this time, but I'm starting to get a handle on it and will hopefully find a six soon - fingers crossed.
I did land a surprise pike on rolled meat, hooked fair and square and was even more surprised it didn't bite through the line. Plus 4 grayling to about 12oz and some smaller chub on the trotting gear... Can't wait 'til the next trip.
Armed with the kitchen scales I was out before dawn to put some weights to these monster minnows (and try and catch a roach). I was soon catching them and about a million minnows later I had one of the big ones, carefully putting it on the scales it went 12 grams - 50% of the record - I was more than happy with that...
I continued catching them and added a couple of 11 gram specimens before swinging in what I thought was a small gudgeon - James watched and didn't believe me when I said "it's a minnow". Neither of us had seen anything like it - it was massive - on the scales it went 18 grams...
That's 75% of the record which makes it my most specimen fish ever. To put it in perspective it's the same as a 35lb 1oz pike, a 15lb 12oz barbel or a 3lb 3oz roach. And even though there is no entry for minnows so far - it's going on my PB list!