Author: Outcast Fishing
Monster Sharks Offshore South Carolina
Yesterday, the Smiga family had one thing on the mind. Big Shark. Matt Smiga is a longtime customer of mine with a shark obsession that rivals "Hooper" from Jaws. I'm not complaining, it just fuels me more! For the last few years, the smaller sharks have been his destiny, but that finally all changed. Last year, the 50-120lb blacktips wouldn't allow the bait to sit longer than 10 minutes. He never complains, just soaks up every minute of all the battles and loves it.
"The bait sat for about 5 minutes and WHAM!"
I haven't been shark fishing in a couple of weeks. Ive spent most of my time targeting Tarpon and Redfish lately, and went out of town to tag Great Whites in Massachusetts, so I was chomping at the bit to see what was in my shark hole. The first bait was deployed, the head of a fresh bonita. Within about 15 minutes we were hooked up, it was a 70lb blacktip. Nice! ...but not exactly my goal. Within 2 minutes of releasing her, I was firing another bait right back out. Another bonita chunk, the midsection.
"It was obvious the fish was not a lemon"
The bait sat for about 5 minutes and WHAM. This usually isn't a good sign. Typically, if the bait gets picked up quick, its a smaller fish, and five minutes (here) is pretty quick.
"Going live on Facebook... this is a gamble for me"
I wasn't expecting a hard run, but the reel was taking off. I went from thinking it was probably a blacktip, to "holy crap, this is a good one". After about 10 minutes, it was obvious this fish wasn't a lemon, that it had to be a big bull or tiger, so I asked my customers if they wouldn't mind going live on Facebook. They were all about it! This is a gamble for me. Live means- if someone goes over, breaks a rod, loses the fish, gets pulled over...everyone see's it, and mistakes go viral. But, bottom line, its fun and it promotes fishing.
To make a long story short, we battled this Tiger for an hour. She never really took any real long runs. She never circled the boat like all big tigers do. She was a sweetheart boatside. I didn't see any scars, I didn't see any hooks. Just a fat ole beautiful fish! I filmed it live for as long as I could, but when I turned the camera off I was able to get both hands on the leader and get full control. We leaned over and took a DNA fin clipping for my science buddies, removed the hook, and said our goodbyes. She swam off healthy and Matt and his kids celebrated like we won the lottery. She was 13 feet, a little over 1,000lbs and our 2nd largest Tiger of the season.
Ive been doing this for many years. The one thing that never gets old is seeing the sheer excitement and shock from a group that has never even dreamed of seeing something so large in person. Live the dream down here!
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