Sharks: There's something about catching sharks that kids love. It could be the sense of good guy vs. bad guy or the feeling of conquering a dangerous enemy. Either way, it's a summertime challenge that makes their eyes light up when a toothy adversary comes boat side.
Sightcasting: Sightcasting to smaller, bonnethead sharks is a great way to introduce junior anglers to the skinny water etiquette that could eventually transform into stalking tailing redfish or even permit prowling in the shallows. Most grass flats have a clear and bright outside sandbar before the bottom rolls off into deeper terrain. Use a quiet trolling motor or a push pole to move down these edges looking for sharks. A bonus for the adults could be the occasional appearance of cobia or tarpon.
Bait: Bait selection might be surprising. No need for buckets of blood or big, nasty chunks of meat. Bonnetheads are connoisseurs of shrimp and will go out of their way for a piece of frozen squid. If several sharks are found in the same general area, sliding the anchor in to hold the boat's position and chumming will draw them into casting distance. They seem to have a strong sense of smell and will home in on diced-up offerings.
Brent Gaskill runs Summer Vacation Charters out of the St. Petersburg area and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or (727) 510-1009.