Monday, October 8, 2012
Sharks are known around the world as one of the most ferocious and aggressive animals in all of the oceans - and they are certainly at the top of the oceanic food chain. Not all sharks are created equal, either. Nurse sharks are so tame that divers often hassle them - not a good idea, but they have such a pussycat reputation, that it's hard to convince some folks to leave 'em alone. They can still put up a good fight - especially on light tackle.
For Danger: Makos or Tigers!
The Mako shark has the reputation as the most dangerous to anglers. That's probably because Makos become extremely agitated when hooked and have been known to leap twenty to thirty feet in the air, occasionally landing in the boat -- a serious danger to any fishermen. Another of the more dangerous sharks is the Tiger shark. They are fearless and venture into shallow water to feed. They rarely give a courtesy pass before biting a potential meal. Tigers are a popular target in the shallow water area north of Grand Bahama called - yep, you guessed it, Tiger Beach. Instead of chumming with fish parts, though, anglers often use oatmeal in order to chum up the snappers and that will attract the Tigers without putting blood in the water.
Recreational shark fishing was not a very popular activity in the United States until 1975. In Irish waters, blue sharks are considered one of the largest and most valuable marine sport fish. And in Canadian waters blue sharks represent 99 % of sharks landed at recreational shark fishing tournaments. Blue sharks have also been targeted by anglers in southwest England since the 1950s. They are not very large but are very curious and will follow any object moving thru the deep blue water.
Shortfin mako, blue and thresher sharks are commonly taken in recreational fishing off the East Coast of the United States. In the South African province of KwaZulu-Natal, dusky and milk sharks are the most commonly caught species in the competitive shore recreational fishery. Bull and sand tiger sharks are also reported to be a component of the recreational shark sport fishing in this region. In New Zealand, spiny dogfish, school, rig, mako and blue sharks are caught as recreational fishing. In Australia, sharks are still a very important part of recreational fishing around the Australian coast.
In the Florida Keys, we target Mako, Bull, Tiger, Black Tip, Lemon and Hammerhead sharks. Last June we caught - and released a 100 lb. lemon shark. We catch Tiger sharks off Key West, too, and had a field day when we found a group of large Tigers feeding on the carcass of a dead whale. Some of the Tigers had to be 500lbs. It was horrifying and beautiful at the same time. See more of the tiger shark fishing photos and videos from the Southbound charter out of Key West.