Land Based Shark Fishing in Florida
I’m writing this post for two reasons. Once is to explain the sport. The second is to open up any debate regarding the Florida Fish and Wildlife’s intention to propose serious restrictions on the activity.
Most people think that land based shark fishing is a crazy undertaking. I will admit that when I first started taking part, I thought so as well. I was staying on Sanibel Island and one night while walking the beach came across a bunch of Florida natives (Not Seminoles) sitting and watching these ridiculously large reels. I questioned them as to what they were doing and they stated—“Tarpon fishing.” Okay, I’ll buy that. In reality, they were kayaking bait out into the Gulf with the reels remaining fixed on the beach in holders fishing for shark.
I watched in awe as the fishermen had a hit—shark on, or so I would learn. They ended up landing a seven foot Bull Shark. I was hooked. I tend to be a bit gung hoe with many things and decided to learn what was involved the sport. I found out it was a lot of work and the learning curve—huge. In the end, I have landed hundreds of decent sized sharks on the shores of Ft. Myers Beach, Sanibel and Captiva. Bull Sharks, Blacktip, Hammerhead, Lemon and Spinner. We have had a few huge sharks on the line as well, I’m assuming large Hammerheads or Tigers.
Every shark we have caught has been catch and release, all swimming away strongly. We take photos and sometimes tag the larger species. We are always respectful of the beach and the other people on it. We do not fish during the day as it is un-nerving to beachgoers. The reality is, the fish are right there, sometimes just yards off the sand—ignorance is bliss.
We don’t fish for sharks very often anymore as it is a lot of work and the novelty has worn off a bit. None-the-less, it’s still a buzz when you get a big one on. I just returned from our condo a few weeks back. We had an epic night where we landed 9 and lost a monster.
Okay, what’s up with the FSW… hooligans who have no respect for the beaches and beach goers’. Some fishermen think it’s their god given right to be able to fish—even if it mean dragging up a 12 foot hammer head on a busy beach filled with little kids and swimmers. I get it, but it only takes a few to ruin things for the many. I think that the FSW is flexing its muscles a bit to try and rein in the idiots. I agree with them. I learned the hard way one day when I hooked onto a medium sized shark by accident, while fishing for Snook. The line went sideways and ran into this guy, who fortunately, turned out to be understanding. If I’d had one of my big reels out with 120 lb line on it, it could have been a mess.
I love Florida and my time there doing the things I enjoy the most—fishing for all sorts of species. I guess, this is my call out to all of those idiots who just might spoil things for the rest of us. Be respectful to the fish, the beaches and to others and we will be able to do what we love for a long time to come. Check out my shark fishing scene in my first book: Devil in the Grass.
Southfloridasharkclub.com is a very informative site.
That’s all for now. Feel free to ask me any questions on the subject.