The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Committee recently passed new rules regarding shore-based shark fishing in the state of Florida. The new rules, many of which pertain to the tackle and gear used to target sharks, are intended to increase survival during and after their release.
Here is a complete guide to everything you will need to fish for sharks from shore, both comfortably and legally, ensuring an adrenaline-pulsing experience for you and safe catch-and-release for the fish.
Having the proper weight tackle will ensure that it can be landed quickly without overly tiring out the shark. Depending on the size of sharks you intend to target, you will need a reel that has a max drag of at least 40 pounds and a line capacity of at least 800 yards of 50lbs test.
You will also need to choose between a spinning or conventional level wind reel type. Level wind reels tend to give you more torque when fishing for big game, however, spinning reels are better when you need to cast your bait. Iâ€™ve found Penn brand to be the most durable, especially when it comes to the harsh salt and sand environments you will find in Florida.
The Penn Senator is a workhorse of a reel that is reliable, easy to care for, and wonâ€™t break the bank.
For a heavy-duty spinning reel, the Penn Slammer 8500 is a good choice if you will be targeting sharks in the four to six foot range.
If you intend on targeting a wide size range of sharks, it might be a good idea to choose a two-speed type of reel such as the Penn Squall which will enable you to hammer down when you need additional pulling power for those really big ones.
Of course, if you are looking for a more economic option, the Burning Shark Level Wind has all the features of more expensive models like corrosion resistant die-cast aluminum frame and spool, and 4.1:1 gear ratio.
The best type of rod to use will be determined by how you will deploy your baits. If you are fishing from a boat, either trolling or free-lining, or deploying baits by kayak when fishing from shore, a shorter stout style of rod is preferred. A 6â€˛ big game rod will give you maximum control, especially when fighting a fish vertically. A rod with line-rollers will also cut down on friction and abrasion. A good example is this Okiaya Tuna Tango Saltwater rod.
If you will be fishing from shore without the aid of a kayak, the longer rod will enable you to cast your bait much further. They are also more sensitive and provide greater â€śactionâ€ť when battling big fish. Heavy weight surf rods such as the Penn Carnage between 10 and 12 feet, equipped with a heavy weight spinning reel, make for the perfect setup if you are targeting 4-6 foot blacktips just beyond the surf line.
According to the new FWC regulations, anglers must use non-offset, non-stainless-steel circle hooks when using live or dead natural bait when fishing from either shore and from a vessel. Depending on the size of shark you target and the size of the bait being used, an assortment of circle hooks between 10/0 and 20/0 is necessary. A good rule of thumb is that the size of the hook should be about the same size as the fishâ€™s eyes you are going for. The right size hook will ensure that it catches properly in the corner of the sharkâ€™s mouth and not further down its throat or gills.
When it comes to line, most big game anglers prefer to have several hundred yards of braid spliced with a monofilament â€śtop shot.â€ť Again the weight test will depend heavily on what size fish you will be targeting but a 65-lb braid such as Power Pro Spectra along with a 100-lb monofilament or fluorocarbon is a good general-purpose combination.
Having 75-100 yards of mono will give a little bit of stretch when a shark is making its run and will avoid cutoffs should the shark drag line against underwater structure or rocky bottom.
Along with the combination of lines, it is also a good idea to include a heavy leader to avoid having a shark biting through at the point closest to the hook. Four to five feet of coated wire leader will keep most sharks from doubling back and cutting through the leader. Make sure the leader is nylon coated or else sharks might detect the faint electric charge of the wire.
Of course, there are also a number of pre-made rigs that, although they may cost a little more, are already configured to the conditions you will be fishing.
In order to quickly remove a hook without potentially sacrificing a finger, anglers should always have a rebooking device with a long shaft that is able to keep hands as far away from the sharkâ€™s mouth as possible. We suggest this 13.6â€ł dehooker made from corrosion resistant aluminum that will keep your fingers away from the business end of the shark.
The new rules also require anglersÂ to be in possession of a device capable of quickly cutting the leader or hook. This is so that if an angler catches a protected species such as a hammerhead or tiger shark, it can be quickly released without needing to be removed from the water to remove the hook.
Since a good deal of time shark fishing is spent waiting, you arenâ€™t likely to hold onto your rod the entire time. Youâ€™ll definitely need rod holders for every one of your rigs.
Once you have a hooked fish, you are going to need all the leverage you can get. A good fishing belt will not only give you proper leverage but it will also save you from some awkward bruising.
Now that you have all this equipment and gear, you are going to need a way to carry it to your fishing spot. a good fishing cart will make this much easier.
Since you are probably going to be doing plenty of waiting, you might as well enjoy a nice cold beverage. Sip in style with this 20oz shark themed steel tumbler from Guy Harvey.
Marine bean bags were originally designed for comfort on long boat rides but they are also great for lounging on a beach with that aforementioned frosty beverage. These marine bean bags from E-Sea Rider are durable and resistant to the mold and mildew.
Of course, no shark fishing setup is complete without an official Sharkophile.com fishing shirt. These long sleeve performance fishing shirts are perfect for being out on the water, hanging at your local beach dive bar or just relaxing on the couch during Shark Week.
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