I met Teresa at Herring Point beach Wednesday afternoon, we arrived early for shark fishing. 5 more to go, and we are done … nothing like a personal shark week … upclose and personal that is. I was anticipating catching some red drum, weakies, and/or pompano. I haven’t actually surf fished in weeks it has been all sharks. I really wanted to just catch some dinner, and chillax in the sand. These past couple weeks have been some serious work/fishing. John Lindsay was hammering 2-3 pound bluefish for bait at the Indian River Inlet. No luck on the fishes for me in the surf, but we did get our area set up, and geared up for shark fishing. Chris Fortner let us borrow his rod and reel, just in case we wanted to get lines out 1500 feet. Turns out we didn’t have to go much farther that 400 feet all night long. Chris Dunn arrived in the evening as did Kristen, and Bill. The research team would arrive at 7:30 p.m. and only staying until midnight. Sounds like we had some work to do, and had better get started ASAP. We had 5 rods and 3 kayaks, but I didn’t want everyone to unpack so much gear for such a short duration. We used the Jackson Coosa Kayak, provided by Delaware Paddlesports, to take baits out front. The Coosa cut the waves, and water with no problem, we may as well have been on the edge of a lake last night. It was calm, clear, serene, and pitch black. I like being able to sit up higher in this kayak, when I am out there in the dark, waiting for something to bump the boat.
I yaked out Teresa’s baits, then Chris Dunn’s, and finally Kristen’s. Bait was out, soaking, now I sit, drip dry, and we waited for a reel to scream. Everyone has gotten “jumpy” over the past few weeks. Every time I hear a reel tick, I am on my feet. Problem is, this was in a restaurant, I am pretty sure we didn’t have any lines soaking, and I don’t think I am allowed back there. The bugs in the dunes sound somewhat like a reel ticking, and that has thrown us off. Every time someone checks drag, or whatever, they have my full attention. Pavlov would love this conditioned response we have all acquired. I know we have a time limit tonight, and when we are shark fishing in the surf, time flies. FISH ON!! is heard, a reel starts to scream. Chris Dunn has hooked up, and is readying himself for the retrieve. Fighting belts, and harnesses are a must for this job. Chris landed the shark like a champ, I dragged it out of the water with some help. It was the largest of the night at 8 feet 6 inches (roughly). He was very excited, having just brought some light off shore gear with only 50 pound test he had to “work” this beast into the surf. Everyone has been buying new gear to catch these sharks, this is a once in a lifetime opportunity. I know how they feel, that tiger shark was a “once” for me.
We release the beast to the depths in the surf, which can be tricky, dragging a large shark backwards into the surf. They can tail smack you, and whip around. The big ones are easier to release than the smaller ones, they can whip around, and take your hand off. We reset Chris’s line and waited again. While I was trying to land the kayak, Teresa’s reel was screaming. She geared up for the retrieve, and brought in a nice sized angry male sand tiger shark. We released the shark, and geared her up to go out again. Kristen pulled in her baits to check, and then reset. I had everyone pull baits more frequently, since we were on a timeline, and we had buckets full of bait. I reset Kristen’s line, and then took out Teresa’s. No sooner trying to land the yak, again, Kristen’s reel starts screaming. At this point I am rather tired from kayaking out bait every 25-30 minutes, but we all have our jobs. It is 11:45 p.m. when the team finishes with the third sand tiger shark. I am expecting the research team to pack for the night. Nope, they will stay for an extra 45 minutes just in case. 20 minutes later Teresa’s reel screams, she has her second sand tiger for the night, and we are pretty sure, a grand total of 10 for her personal tally.
We did have a few “click and slacks”, this is when the reel ticks once or twice, barely, and then the line goes slack. Reason being, the shark is eating the bait on the move, and it is headed towards you. Sometimes they just sit there chomping on the bait, and you have no clue. Slack line is a big indicator that something is playing with your line, because a pound of weight does not move of its own accord. Several of these clicks and slacks resulted in a chewed up bait. When inspected you could see the jagged teeth pattern in the sides. This was our most productive night yet. Granted we only caught 4 sand tiger sharks, we did it in 4 hours. Last 4 in a row tally, took all night, and now I know why (not telling). Given the time we have to catch the remaining sharks needed, the research team only has 5 acoustic transmitters left. We should be done by Saturday morning. However, I believe we can catch upwards of 15 more for location tags. Some of these tags may have been used on the sandbar sharks, and the 2 tiger sharks. I will find out gang, I would like to break our 4 in a night record. Last night could have easily been 9 sand tigers bagged, but we will take 4, and some friends would be a tad upset if we filled all the tags. Rest up gang, we go again on Friday, and I have all the help DSF needs. Catchin Jiants is coming to the game, and they are lucky Teresa and Kristen are not fishing tonight. I appreciate everyone’s enthusiasm and help. Last night was very smooth, Friday night will go the same way.
GOOD LUCK!! Kristen Kemper fishing Poor Girls this weekend. DSF is being represented on her teams T shirt and I am very proud of that fact. Thank you for all your help and representing DSF. Your support has been amazing, and I am grateful. This website has come a long way from just fishing reports for some friends who wouldn’t stop calling me while I was fishing. I have met some amazing people while in the field “working”, and yes believe it or not this is a lot of work. I rarely get the time to just sit and fish. I am on the move 24/7 unless I am on a beach trying to catch 25 sharks on a deadline. (pun intended) These past 2 weeks have been very exciting, and I am looking forward to the conclusion of this adventure, a lot more than you know. That is for the next, and final shark report. Until then, see you in the suds, at the rail, on the pier, jockeying a rock, or drifting the bay.
RAFFLE TICKETS: DSF will be at Old Bay restaurant at 4-8 p.m. for happy hour (ends at 6:30) Thursday night (tonight). Come out get your raffle tickets, and hear Teresa’s adventures pulling toothy units from the deep, during her own, personal shark week.