Weds evening we set out with a group of people visiting from NJ. They were hoping to hook up on a shark or
goliath grouper for the first time ever! As they arrived we were doing our normal set up routine. Unloading all the supplies we carry down to the beach. Kayak, harnesses, paddle, 3ft pvc rod holders , 3 larger avet reels , 4 spinning set ups , tagging & dehooking equipment, go pro, snacks, chairs, cooler and bait. This is what everyone takes fishing right? Andrew was out in the kayak dropping the first bait when our clients explained they were going to head to dinner real quick and would be back in 30 mins. This concerned me, bait in the water and prime shark time, something could come along while they are at dinner. As slow as its been out there in this location, we just decided to leave it in the water.
Of course everyone could guess what happened next. The ONLY bait out gets slammed. I was just speaking to Andrew earlier in the day about how the smaller sharks really havent given us really great runs this year. This was the first fish of the year to pull serious drag taking about 400 yards of line from the 80w before I could get her stopped. I was able to gain 200 yards back pretty quickly, but this shark wasnt just coming in like the sandbar sharks would this winter. As much line as I gained she took right back, I could feel that whatever was on my line was pretty heavy. At one point we had concern it was the HUGE sea turtle that was hanging around Andrew while he dropped baits. About 20 mins into the fight I started to realize we were on a stand off and this was very familar to my last large bull shark about two years ago. Then I started to feel the head shakes. I was almost 100% sure this was a big spring time pregnant bull shark.
At the 30 min mark we had her at the leader before she took off again taking 75-100 yards back out into the depths. I was pretty tired at this point so I sent Andrew in to hand line her the rest of the way. This shark felt as if she was staying a few inches off the bottom fighting the whole way in. They really dislike the feeling of the sand bar on their belly! We finally got her in the shallows and wow was she a girthy fish. Female and pregnant. We measured her at 8 feet 4 inches, I did not take a girth measurement due to time factor. As soon as we saw her size we knew she needed to be released as fast as possible!
The crowd at Boca Grande really helped today! It was super of them to assist with pics so we could focus on getting her and tagged and ready for release as fast as possible. I like to keep my feet behind the peck fins while dehooking, it just makes me more comfortable and I am able to move away faster. Not with this big girl, she was so large that I could not reach her nose in my normal position! Special thanks to the guy who held our leader during dehooking! I had to use both hands and all the strength I had left to lift her mouth open so Andrew could successfully dehook her.
A beautiful bull and my longest shark battle to date on my 80w! I might be respooling next week due to the heavy abrasion on the first 100 yards of my line. This was the first fish I caught using my new custom Barrett Rod and I really loved it! Bullsharks are one of my favorite species even in their smaller sizes they are just a power house of energy! A lot of fun for the angler and I can say a few days later im still feeling the power of this shark in my aching muscles. I look forward to a possible recapture of her in the future. FULL video of this catch will be on http://fishintube.com later today!