Fishing Report July 20,2022

Sharks dominate TV, local waters

By Capt. Danny Stasny – Just Reel Fishing Charters

With shark week 2022 upon us, you can bet that many beach goers as well as anglers have a heighten awareness about what could be lurking in the pristine waters that surround Anna Maria Island.

And with the national and local television news media reporting shark encounters and showing footage of shark bite victims day in and day out, it’s easy to be convinced the world’s oceans are being overrun with sharks and that it’s not safe to go into the water. 

If you believe that nonsense that you might as well put your tinfoil hat and see if you can communicate with UFOs. 

In fact it’s the opposite. Shark populations throughout the world are diminishing due to overfishing and loss of habitat. It amazes me that a species that has been around since the dinosaurs is now becoming threatened after having to coexist with another species called humans. 

OK I’m going put the pedestal away now. 

After all I am a fisherman, and I’m not opposed to doing some shark fishing, especially during the summer when there’s a surplus of sharks that have migrated to our local waters.

I do practice only catch-and-release on sharks because I’m actually quite enamored with these majestic animals. In fact, I’ve loved sharks ever since I was a kid. So, when I’m targeting sharks I take a few extra steps to ensure they are released safely. 

First of all, using gear stout enough to handle a large fish is key. I tend to use large spinning reels packed with plenty of line combined with an 8 or 9 foot heavy-action spinning rod. Most of the sharks I catch range in that 5- to 8-foot range and this tackle seems to handle these fish just fine. Using this gear, a shark can typically be reeled to the boat inside of 30 minutes, which in turn, doesn’t put too much strain on the shark. 

Your rigging can also be helpful in ensuring a safe voyage for your shark. I tend to use about 2-3 feet of 125-pound hardwire as leader connected to a 9/0 circle hook. To this, I’ll add 8-10 feet of 100-pound mono which is then tied to the braid. 

The use of a circle hook is crucial, as I have experienced good results. The hook typically will attach itself somewhere on the outer jaw and usually right on the corner of the mouth. This aids in removal of the hook. 

And, going one step further, I like to use bolt cutters to remove the hook. But placing the bolt cutters right at the bend of the hook — below the hook’s eye —  and squeezing you can literally just cut the hook in half. This way the barb-side of the hook will literally fall out of the shark’s mouth as it swims away. That’s why we don’t see a bunch of sharks swimming around with lip piercings. 

Lastly, the whole event can be an educational experience — especially for visiting anglers who aren’t accustomed to seeing sharks. Both adults and children are fascinated with being able to get up close and personal with such a large animal and the mystique it carries with it. 

So if you’re going to get out and do some shark fishing this summer, just remember do it right, do it ethically, do it safely, and have fun with it.