Author: Patrick Meek
The fall surf fishing season hasn't changed too much since summer...IT'S STILL HOT!!!
A lot has been going on with the weather (Hurricane Michael), kids, house projects, and just dealing with the have and have not's of life, that I did not get to get out to the beach as much as usual in the past two weeks. I did managed to get out on the sand early one afternoon and was accompanied by my wife. We had been fishing for a couple of hours and the bite had been slow only catching Ladyfish that I would later use for shark bait. The gulf surf temperature is still relatively warm being 83-84 degrees and I've never really had any trouble bringing home a fresh Pompano for dinner until today. However, my wife Heather made up for my lack of catching. Before I even knew what had happened, Heather's Van Staal VR150 loaded with 30# Bullbuster braid was screaming a little drag and the rod had bent over. After a short battle, my wife was able to bring home the groceries by putting a nice slot Redfish in the cooler.
Honestly, I think I was more excited than she was. Not so much for her catch, but just the mere fact she enjoy's being on the sand surf fishing just as much as I do.
It wasn't too much later when a tourist from Tennessee who had been watching us catch fish approached us and introduced himself. He went on to tell me that he enjoyed fishing, but had never caught anything from the Gulf. He admired my spinning reel that I designate for shark fishing (1st gen Penn Torque 7) and I told him that I would be casting that reel out for sharks once the sun sets and the swimmers are out of the water for the day. He asked if it was okay for him and his family to come back out after they ate dinner to watch since they had never seen a shark up close. The guy was very nice, so I didn't have a problem with him and his family coming back out to join us to watch and learn.
Right at sunset, I casted out half of a bloody Ladyfish I had caught earlier. While we were waiting for a run to happen, the tourist from Tennessee along with his family showed back up. One of my wife's rod's started tapping and she let the young daughter of the tourist from Tennessee reel in a saltwater catfish. Sure we just scored some negative points in the species department, but to that little girl it was a trophy catch. It was at that moment I heard my shark reel loaded with 65# Bullbuster braid start singing! I let the shark eat for about 6-8 seconds and tightened the drag. Once I knew I was hooked up, I surprised my new friend and unexpectedly handed my rod over to him. He was a little hesitant at first, but with a little coaching he was able to land a nice size 6 ft+ Blacktip shark that he will remember for a lifetime.
After I safely released the shark, my new friend from Tennessee was so excited about letting him catch a fish he could have never imagined catching from the beach. We said our goodbye's, packed up, and called it a night. On the way home, I told Heather how our new friend's would never forget this night. What we take for granted as a way of life, others often dream about. We are truly blessed to live on the Florida Gulf Coast.
Until next time...
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