Saturday, December 16, 2017
Outdoors

Captain's Corner: Sharks follow mackerel

What's hot: For more than a month, there have been schools of king and Spanish mackerel offshore. Every year, the mackerel migrate here to feed on the abundance of baitfish. And every year, there is the certainty of sharks following right behind. The vicious cycle of smaller fish being eaten by bigger fish makes saltwater fishing so exciting. Sharks are the top predator. They are known to seize any chance to take a meal when presented. But sharks sometimes can be finicky eaters while at others have voracious appetites.

Technique: Tossing out any old stinky bait isn't going to make sharks bite. One of the best baits is a freshly caught mackerel or, better still, a bonita. Recently, we hooked seven 350-pound blacktip spinner sharks, though only three were brought to boatside. The blacktip spinner is one of the hardest-fighting, fastest-running and most difficult to land of all sharks. When the spinner shark hits, it jumps like a tarpon and spirals like a corkscrew in midair. Most often, the leader is ripped to shreds due to it wrapping around the shark's fins as it goes airborne. There is almost no way to avoid the end result of broken leaders. Just getting one to strike is more than worth it. If you see them in action, I'm sure you'll agree.

Larry Blue charters the Niki Joe from Madeira Beach Marina. Call (727) 871-1058 or visit CaptainLarryBlue.com.

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