Let's talk sharks from the surf - The HuntingPA.com Outdoor Community
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post #1 of 16 (permalink) Old 06-26-2014, 03:12 PM Thread Starter
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Let's talk sharks from the surf

I'd like to try my hand at trying to hook up with a sandbar/ brown shark this summer. I fish Cape May NJ each year and either jig off rock piers with my bass gear for fluke and croakers or set up with a surf rod, bottom fishing using squid/clams and end up with mainly dogfish sharks.

Last year I watched some experienced guys use bait nets in a small tributary running into the ocean to capture some big minnows (approx. 5")and hook it up with heavy leader and sinker and just heave it out there and hope for a shark. I watched them bring in a very chunky sandbar shark a lil under 40" that put up a tremendous fight.

Do any of you have any experience or advice with targeting sandbar/brown sharks?

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post #2 of 16 (permalink) Old 06-26-2014, 03:40 PM
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Re: Let's talk sharks from the surf

Justgrad25 is the guy you want to talk to if I recall...

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post #3 of 16 (permalink) Old 06-26-2014, 03:48 PM
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Re: Let's talk sharks from the surf

Go bigger, especially with the bait.

A kayak will be your friend getting your baits out deeper but I wouldn't shy away from keeping one close (depends on the structure of the beach you are fishing and the depth of the guts). Try to fish near deeper areas/cuts in the bars (where a rip current could form on a strong tide) or near cuts/creeks.

Try to place you baits on the downsloping backside of the bars. Seems fish cruise here the most consistently.

I never liked using steel leaders and seemed to hook up/ land more with 2' long 400# twisted mono bite leaders (need to crimp it). I used 16/0 and 20/0 circle hooks and used 2-4# chunks of stingray or whole, plate sized rays, 12-15" long live mullet/whiting/biggest croaker you can get your hands on. I would slice a flap of skin on the tail end of the live bait to make it a flapper and let it bleed a little. I also used 6-10 oz spider weights on the TX beaches to hold my lines. I made a carolina rig that the hook was attached to the 2' bite leader and the other end to a heavy 200-400# swivel. I think attached a 10' 200-400# mono leader that had crimps 2' from each end. In b/w the crimps was a heavy snap swivel that could slide 6' to attach the spider wts. to. On the end, had another hvy swivel that the mainline (65# braid usually), would attach to.

I would also tie on a rattling popping cork to the bite leader to add some noise and help keep the bait off the bottom to keep it from getting crabbed out.

For cast leaders, reduce your larger leader to 4-5' so you can cast. I have a 12' Oceanmaster with a Penn 4/0 wide on it I can cast and a 10' Tsunami rod with an Okuma Eclipz EZ-90 spinner that casts real nice.

To cast the 5' leaders, you can hang your hook on one of the spider wt. arms and shorten it up a little to be able to cast.

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post #4 of 16 (permalink) Old 06-26-2014, 05:30 PM Thread Starter
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Re: Let's talk sharks from the surf

wow - def. not what I was expecting but great input. How big are the sharks that you target/ land JustGrad? I wasn't looking to tangle with anything ridiculous and would be thrilled with a 3 foot sandbar.

Do the baits have to be alive or can dead do in a pinch? I was considering stopping by the fish market down there and grabbing a whole fish on ice and using half.

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post #5 of 16 (permalink) Old 06-26-2014, 05:56 PM
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Re: Let's talk sharks from the surf

4'-6' sharks were landed regularly. Never landed anything bigger in my 2 yrs on the TX coast but several of my buddies got into larger bulls and sandbars that were close to 8'.

The guys on the southern TX coast were after the really big stuff and used 9/0s and 12/0s and big Penn 50s, 80s and 130s to target the 10-13' tigers, hammerheads and makos.

Fresh cut bait works the best if you go that route. You would be better off catching your bait fresh (cast net mullet) or use a panfish set-up to land sea mullet or small bluefish/croakers or whatever else is in the shallower surf that you can get on bloodworms or fresh chunks of shrimp or squid.

We shied away from 3-4" chunks of fresh cut bait in the TX because it was too easy for the bull reds to hook up on that. Lot of work went into setting up for and kayaking out baits for sharks. Bull reds on the Texas coast (35-50+") would be a nuisance at times... the reds would still hit the big live fish...

Had several 20 plus redfish days down there and I had smaller set-ups I used when targeting them. Actually used my Erie dispy rods/reels and planer board rods/reels to target them specifically. They are Shimano Triton rods/reels with 300 yds of 30# braid on top of 150 to 200 yards of 20# mono. I could cast them a fair distance but usually kayaked them 200-300 yds off the beach. We would chunk up large fresh mullet/whiting or half blue crabs on 10/0 up to 16/0 circles for the redfish using smaller 4-5' 200# mono leaders. We would still get sharks on these set-ups but had more bite offs and tail whips.

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post #6 of 16 (permalink) Old 06-27-2014, 06:42 PM
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Re: Let's talk sharks from the surf

Great bay has 3 good tides in july and again in august. Browns. Cut mackerel never let me down.
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post #7 of 16 (permalink) Old 06-27-2014, 06:43 PM
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Re: Let's talk sharks from the surf

Forgot to mention a boat is huge plus. Also Chum is a must.
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post #8 of 16 (permalink) Old 06-28-2014, 12:39 PM
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Re: Let's talk sharks from the surf

sandbars can be hard fighting fast fish...a 6ft sandbar can be a beast...


ive done a bit of surf shark fishing...


i use a totally different setup than justgrad does..


my leaders are 8-10ft when they are finished..the "issue" can be getting tail whipped...when line rubs on a sharks skin and/or tail its so abrasive it can rip right through it...

the solution? a leader longer than the shark youre after..


my leaders are castable but take a bit of learning..

i start with a big 3 way swivel..dont buy cheap ones..spend 4$ and get the better pack..

from there i crimp on 6-8 foot of good round weed eater line to one of the free ends of the 3 way.. (yes for your lawn trimmer)..400# mono works as well...said to be better but ive never tried it..400# mono is expensive!

the weed eater line is then crimped to a good barrel swivel..then the bottom of the barrel swivel I crimp on 3-4ft of coated 7 strand cable..which is then crimped to a 20/0 circle hook...


Then you have 1 free end of 3 way swivel uptop...I attach a spider weight to that swivel..


So...how in the world do you cast a 8-10-12ft leader from a 11-12ft rod???

Easy! Hang the hook/bait from one of the legs of the spider weight...I make a bigger loop when crimping my hook and that's usually what I slide over the spider weight leg ton hang the hook from...I also bend the legs of the spider weight as shown in the following pics..that's key to getting a spider weight to hold...



That's the top of the leader..


Bottom portion...



Bait hung from the spider weight...ready to cast...that was before i started hanging it from the cable loop...if you can get it to hang from the hook it works too...you want it secure but you need it to fall off the weight too...gotta find what works..gotta be able to cast it but it has to separate too...

A good 11-13ft rod rated to 8-12+oz is needed as you can imagine...I think the spider weights are 8oz on their own...and I regularly cast another 4-8oz of bait..I like jumping mullet heads, bluefish heads, whole jumping mullet or 8-12" blues etc...pieces of stingray work great too...(I fished southern NC so my bait may be different...

Securing bait can be an art...I use a lot of zip ties...


I also wrap my hooks in electrical tape..some swear sharks sense the magnetic field off the hunk of metal...I say they feel the metal on their teeth and drop it...some catch a lot of sharks without doing anything to the hooks..

Casting the mess is an art too...takes a bit but I can get a long cast with some practice...its gotta be a slow heave....

The bait usually falls off the spider weight right before it hits the water for me...once it hits the water I jerk it a fee times to try to make sure it falls off..

Then you have to SET the spider weight...once its on the bottom reel in the slack and then slowlyyyy pull your rod tip back and to the side at waist level..you want that spider weight to drag across the bottom and DIG in...you'll feel it..it'll bite in...if not keep trying...once it bites in you'll know..as it can be a bugger to free...


Secure the rod in a sand spike...I use PVC and use the suction method..I can burry a sandspike by sucking the top of the pipe and it won't move...neat trick if you don't know it...then set the line fairly tight...and set your drag...I like mine set medium..a bit lighter than I can barely pull out by hand...

Sounds complicated and tougher to describe than it really is...but it works..













That second ray was caught on the exact pictured leader...







That last shark is a funny story...I was fishing the inlet from my buddies boat one evening and had a shark break me off...it was days later..I think a week or 10 days...I was back out in the inlet...we had the girls with us..they wanted to hang out on the beach a while...so I caught a 16" bluefish and ran it out into the inlet on the boat and dropped it and came back to shore and we hung out...I couldn't cast the bluefish...way too big...

Wasn't long and the fight was on...I fought it off the beach and he didn't break me off that time...same shark!! And I got my leader back...I couldn't believe it was still there..what are the odds?!?! Days later and I caught it again!




Can see a hook in each side of its mouth there...





I guess I fought it from the back of the boat but it was anchored and I was on the beach....still counts as a land based shark in my book lol...also with my homeade boat rod...i found it on the beach...it was a surf rod that broke about in half...it made for a sweet boat rod after i put a tip on it...



my reel is a Okuma..not the greatest but i didnt have a ton of cash and didnt buy it with shark fishing in mind...i put in custom carbon fiber drag washers which are amazing...and spooled with 80# power pro..

my rod is an 11ft 8-12oz..again i didnt buy it for shark fishing or id bought a better 12-13ft rod...but it worked for me...
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post #9 of 16 (permalink) Old 06-28-2014, 01:25 PM Thread Starter
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Re: Let's talk sharks from the surf

Mauser, I knew you had some sharking experience and was hoping you'd jump on the thread. Thank you very much for your thorough explanations with photos!

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post #10 of 16 (permalink) Old 06-29-2014, 02:53 AM
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Re: Let's talk sharks from the surf

Very informative mauser06 and great pics!
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