What's hot: Shark fishing in the passes has provided steady action recently. Anchoring over natural hard-bottom outcroppings during periods of good tidal flow has led to the best success. Boat position has not been critical as it would be for grouper or snapper fishing because chum has lured sharks in from a distance.
Tactics: Begin by hanging a frozen chum block off the transom. Supplement the slick with a steady flow of fresh cut bait. Periodically throw a few live baits into the mix that will scurry around and excite a bite. Two nose-hooked baits can be free-lined back in the current and placed in rod holders while two more weighted baits can be dropped to the bottom. The sharks have varied in size from 2 to 4 feet with an occasional 5- to 6-footer.
For the kids: Kids love catching sharks. It could be the thrill of flirting with something potentially dangerous or conquering a perceived villain. The Discovery Channel has helped fuel their curiosity and enthusiasm with an annual Shark Week special. For most children, shark fishing becomes a teachable moment. To feel the power of the fight and touch a live shark's skin at boat side is unforgettable.
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.