For light-tackle line-screaming action, look no further than shallow grass flats in the bay. Small, 5- to 10-pound sharks are cruising the flats.
Bonnethead and blacktip are the most common. They'll take anything from a piece of cut bait to a fast-moving lure.
An easy way to find them is not to look for them at all. Let them come to you. Set out a chum block and wait. It won't be long before they'll start homing in.
Once they appear around the boat, throw out a piece of cut mulleton a long-shank 1/0 or 2/0 hook. Use a float to keep the bait from getting buried in the grass, and it will put the bait right in front of the shark's nose. Live pinfish and whitebait also work, but hook them through the belly near the pectoral fins so they'll swim erratically and draw the shark's attention.
To tease one into biting an artificial, present it in a way that the bait is trying to escape from the shark. Cast in front of the shark and when it gets close to the offering, jerk it away fast. They just can't handle that and will attack it with such quickness it will be hard to see.
Most of the time, 30-pound monofilament leader is fine as long as you use long-shank hooks or plugs. It's a good idea to double the line to your leader with a spiderhitch knot in case of tail-whip.
Take care in handling these special critters and get them back in the water as soon as possible.
_ Capt. Rick Frazier runs Lucky Dawg Charters out of St. Petersburg and can be reached at (727) 510-4376 or by e-mail at captrickluckydawg.com.