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Shark Fishing for Lemmon Sharks

October 22nd, 2009

I met Justin at his place and we loaded gear and bait and made a few quick stops for refreshments, snacks, and a belt for me to use that day. He had heard my encounters of the previous day and seen the bitten off cable and we both felt it was a good idea for me to at least have a belt for today. We met up with Straps57 and headed for the beach. Once everything was set up at the spot it was time to yak out some baits. Being that ive never been in a kayak in the surf before and the kayak we had on the beach was a little small for me I was delegated to watching reels as lines were taken out and anything else that needed to be done. Justin took out my bait on my set up (penn 4/0 metal senator – 10′ ocean master heavy rod – 600 yds 100lb power pro with 80lb top shot and wind on leader of 500lb mono and 480lb cable to 16/0 mustad circle hook) a few hundred yards off shore. This was around 11am and we went ahead and put out several other rods. Well we were sitting around talking and watching rods when Justin yells “your rod”, I took off at a jog but that wasnt fast enough for Justin and he yelled “run faster” as well as a few other sweet words of encouragement we will leave out for now. I grab the rod and start cranking. Mind you I have no gimble butt on this rod and dont have a belt on either. Im cranking away and then the resistance is there, and its a load. The tug of war lasted about twenty minutes with hard freight train runs and head shakes especially at the sand bar – well………………………………..she finally gives up and we have our first shark !!!!!!!!!!

Its a nice lemon shark at a measured 5’9″ and I was absolutely pumped beyond belief.

Straps57 and Justin did an awesome job helping the rookie out with words of encouragement, coaching, and making sure everything went smoothly. The team was clicking and it showed – it was like we had fished many times together before. Thats the huge benefit of following things like the handbook and everyone being a team player. So……………………………………………time to finish the chores, release the shark, and move on to the next fish. Hooks were rechecked, rebaited, taken back out and the waiting began again. We have out 5 or 6 rods by this point and the day is flowing well. The conversation begins again and out of the corner of my eye I see my rod bouncing again. This time I take off in a dead run and snatch the rod out of the holder. I start reeling in line and then I hit the wall. I jumped on the rod for all it was worth and made sure to have a good hook set. Thats when it began, the freight train run that wouldnt stop. Justin and I had already clicked well and he was awesome in coaching, he knew I could take the heat and he laid it on quickly guiding me what to do. This was a BIGGER shark and he knew it already. I had that look in my eye and the thoughts running through my head of wise words that a man told me about fishing a 4/0 for sharks. Many laughed basically and said it couldnt be done. Well I knew it could because I had already done it several times before this, this was different though. My little 4/0 puts out 25lbs of drag and it was close to locked down, this shark didnt apparently realize that though and continued taking line as if it were an open spool. I had a look of terror on my face im sure as I looked at Justin and said “im gonna get spooled”.

He takes off running away from me and I have to continue to concentrate on the task at hand. He comes running back with the mighty Alutecnos with a rod spike and an open loop at the end of his line and says “your not getting spooled now worry about the fish and dont think about that”.

My mind was at ease then because I have 100% faith in Justin and if he says its Christmas then you need to put up your stocking. Did I tell you that this fish was different ? The shark makes blistering run after blistering run and im feeling it in my arms, my hands, my wrist, my back, everywhere. Justin leaves again and comes back with my belt and gets my buckled in. This provides some relief as I can set the smooth butt of my ocean master in there and let it rest on the pin – its smooth though so I get no relief from the reel twisting every time I crank against 20+lbs of drag. The fight continues on and last for 45 minutes according to a bystander that was timing the whole fight. Well we finally get the shark to the surf after following it approximately 1/4 mile down the beach. The shark isnt happy. It continues to make runs of 20-30 yards at a time and we slowly gain the line back. Justin leaves my side and jumps in the water with Straps and begin the process of trying to leader the shark. The shark isnt cooperating at all. Finally the swivel is seen and the struggle begins. Straps and Justin do a great job and finally get close enough to tail rope the shark and start dragging it to the shore. Im exhausted both physically and mentally at this point and am in sort of a daze. Justin sees this and starts shouting instructions on where to get and how to get the pictures. Straps future wife is there taking pics like crazy (thank you !!!!) and im following orders.

Another lemon shark. This one was different though like I said earlier. Almost another four feet in length from the previous one. 9’6″. Holy cow this friggin thing was huge. We had a crowd of people around us and Straps and Justin do an excellent job of making sure everyone was safe – including me as I was still in shock at what had just happened. This is a huge adrenaline rush – if you could bottle this feeling there would be alot of drug dealers out of business !!!!!!!!!! Pictures were taken and the shark was released safe and sound. It was then that I was presented with a gift – a 16/0 mustad hook that had been cut at the eye – Justin had pulled the hook to make sure I had a souvenir of this shark (thanks Justin).

OK the celebration continues and I informed that I am done and I gladly comply – I couldnt have pulled a tennis ball back in at this point and I was content to help everyone else with whatever needed to be done. I brought in my rod and didnt even bother rebaiting or sending it back out – I was spent. We reel in a few rods and check some bait and move a little ways up the beach. Baits were taken back out and while one bait was being taken out another rod went off. Straps was out in the yak so Justin was up and he took the rod like the seasoned pro that he is. I try to remember all the things he did for me to make sure he had everything he needed. Once I got him strapped in and made sure he had some water to drink it was on.

Justins battle didnt last quite as long as mine I dont think because he was on a 9/0 I believe at the time – more line – stiffer shorter rod – and lots more experience. I stayed by him the whole time as we worked our way down the beach with this shark. We all knew it was a big one and I was stoked that we were getting two BIG hook ups on the same day. Im guessing around the 15 minute mark the swivel became visible in the water. Straps grabbed the leader and we began the tug of war with this one. Straps was incredible, he knew I had never leadered a big fish and was patient and understanding as well as instructional on what he needed me to do. We finally got the tail rope on and began the tug to the beach.

So we get the beast in and its another BIG lemon !!!!!!!!!!!!

Justin and Straps take care of some dental work.

Justin gets the measurements. 9’2″ lemon shark !!!!

Justins “shark” face.

Gettin’ a little feisty !!

Ok for those who werent counting thats “2” lemons 9′ or better so far this trip. Well………………………..we said there were three didnt we ? We go out about the work at hand and get rigs repaired and hooks rebaited and deployed out and the waiting game begins. We have no idea what to expect. Its getting a little ridiculous at this point and the conversation is all about what a perfect this day has been. It wasnt long before Straps makes the dash to his rod and starts reeling in. Did we miss it ?
Are you kidding ? Straps knows whats up and he sets in to a tight line and sets the hook, Im running around getting a belt for him and get it secured to his waist, “THE BITE IS ON” !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! AGAIN !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Straps is a seasoned pro and makes it look so easy, again his team is right there and makes sure everything he needs is there. We finally see the leader and get our hands on it – this shark is none to happy about being hauled in and gets a little feisty when he sees the head lamps. Shaun has to not only reel the fish in but set the rod down and come down into the water – its dark and with an inexperienced leader man like myself theres no use in taking chances. We all pitch in and get the shark to the beach.

INCREDIBLE !!!!!!!!!!!! The tape reads 9’0″ !!!!!!!!!!!! Thats three sharks 9’0″ or better in ONE day !!!!!!!!!!! How exciting is that ? It was truly a “BANNER” day.

We at this point are all exhausted but keep going to make sure the shark is healthy and ready for another fight in the future.

We decide to pack it in as its now getting close to midnite and food is a big priority at this point. After we all get loaded up we make our way to the closest Dominos and scarf down a large pizza and some sodas in the convenience store parking lot and relive the day. I would like to personally thank Justin, Straps, Straps future bride, and Justins girlfriend for an amazing experience. We put a team and a plan together and put in alot of work and paid our dues, the teamwork was incredible and I have made some new friends for life that I have shared an experience with that few others in life will ever get the pleasure of doing. I look forward to our next trip and am already eyeballing a new AVET 50w two speed and a kayak. Ive hunted all my life and I can tell you assuredly that I would trade all of that in to do this more in the future. Until next time brothers, Thank you all for the wisdom, the advice, the support, the forum to share all of these experiences on, and the most important of all the friendships that were made and solidified for a long, long time.

Scout (Dustin)