Warm late summer water temperatures typically draw lots of sharks, and this year there seems to be more than ever. Sharks of all sizes have taken over many fishing spots from the inshore flats to the deeper wrecks and ledges. So what is an angler to do when the sharks take over? Go shark fishing, of course.
If you have extra-heavy tackle and enjoy marathon battles, there's no better time to try fishing for giant hammerhead or bull sharks. There have been many reports of sightings of hammerheads up to 15 feet. Three world-record hammerhead sharks, including the overall record of 991 pounds, were caught along the west coast of Florida during the summer.
Most big sharks take hours to bring to the side of the boat and can be dangerous in close quarters. Tackle should consist of at least 130-pound braided line and heavy stainless steel cable leader. Pros usually use a 10-foot section of 500-pound aircraft cable and two 14/0 tuna style hooks. At the top of the leader is an oversized swivel that connects to a 10-foot section of hollow braid rope. This rope at the top of the leader gives the person grabbing the shark something to hold on to during the tug of war.
Most sharks are released by clipping the leader after a few photos at the surface.
_ Ed Walker charters out of Palm Harbor. Call (727) 944-3474 or e-mail TarponEdaol.com.