The last two days have been fairly calm. The winds have been soft and the breakers in the surf have been small. This gave me a chance to head out “Beyond the Breakers” (BTB) to target both Sharks and Bull Reds. The beaches along the north Texas coast are loaded with both.
Many people think you need a bunch of heavy duty expensive equipment for these monsters of the sea, but that’s not necessarily true. You can have an adequate set up for a very reasonable price.
Below is a list of items for the frugal fisherman.
1. Seven foot Shakespeare Sturdy Stick ($15-20)
2. Okuma Classic Pro fishing reel ($40-$45)
3. Fishing line 30-50lbs (100-200 yards)
4. Leaders (The longer the better for sharks) wire, 100 lb mono or cable. ($2-to how ever much you want to spend)
5. Circle Hooks. (I prefer size #10 Eagle Claw) ($4-6 per pack of three)
6. Party balloons for the days there is little to no current. ($1 per pack)
7. Wire cutters/ pliers
8. Bait (Cow Nose stingray, Mullet, bonita, basically any fish)
This list will set you up for both bull reds and sharks. (Although I would stick with cut mullet for the bait when targeting bull reds.)
I usually target both species together. I equip one rod with a piece of cut mullet free lined off the bow. This requires a very simple set up; line, leader, hook, 3″-4″ piece of cut mullet. Using the head of the mullet is probably my favorite bait for bull reds. I simply hook it through the lips and chuck it out there and wait for the clicker to scream on the Okuma Classic reel.
When fishing for sharks I sometimes use the same set-up. This works best if there is a current and the bait stays off the bottom. If there is no current I use nearly the same set up. The only thing different is I blow-up and tie a small party balloon directly on the line above the leader. This acts as a float and holds the bait up higher.
Once hooking a shark I usually unhook from my anchor line and allow the shark to pull the kayak (A Texas Kayak Sleigh Ride). This eases some of the pressure on your line and your reel. Once the shark tires out I usually pull him close to the kayak for a few modeling pictures.
At this point, you’ll need those wire cutters or pliers I listed earlier. Cut the leader as close to the shark as you safely can. The shark will expel the hook with time. Watch out for the “tail whips”. They can really sting.
Red fish are a bit easier to deal with. You simply pull them to the boat, use some fish grips and pull them into your lap. You can almost always safely remove the hooks from a red fish. Even if its embedded way, deep in throat. Their teeth are usually small (sometimes sharp). Beware they have another set of teeth deep in their throat for crunching crab shells.
Now (July) is a prime time to target sharks. There seems to be a number of larger sharks not far off the beach. In the last two days I have caught bull sharks up to 7′ (Maybe larger) as seen in the picture at the top of this article.
Late summer through the fall is the prime time to target bull reds. Although they can be found off the beach year round. Just today I landed four measuring up to 40″.
As soon as I get a chance I’ll be back on the water trying to land some more monsters.
Until next Operationfish.com signing out,