The shark fishing, however, is anything but calm.
SeaSquared Charters primarily targets lemon, blacktip, blacknose and bull sharks, typically ranging in length from three to eight feet. We often see nurse sharks, but try not to catch them as they don’t offer the same fight as other species. On occasion, we also encounter tiger and hammerhead sharks which can attain lengths of fifteen feet and more!
Regardless of size, all sharks are capable of providing you quite a memorable thrill.
Center console boats are ideally suited for shark fishing.
Center console boats, such as those in the SeaSquared fleet, are more appropriate for low depths than outsized sport fishing vessels. The SeaSquared boats also facilitate 360-degree fishing – essential as the sharks tend to lead you on quite a chase around the boat!
SeaSquared Charters always matches the tackle to the species’ size and fighting ability.
Our gear, tackle and rig choices vary according to species of shark and size of the bait. The majority of SeaSquared Charters shark fishing is done in shallow waters where we target lemon, blacktip, blacknose and bull sharks. Here we use 20-pound spinning tackle with 9/0 circle hooks.
In deeper waters where we fish for the larger bull, hammerhead and tiger sharks, we have at least two 30-class conventional rods on the boat and upgrade our hooks to complement our gear.
To entice the sharks to the boat, we use any oily fish as dead bait, such as jack crevalle, bluefish, bonita, ladyfish and the like.
We have bait freezers that we keep filled to the brim with shark bait. Abundant chum creates a heavy scent, which excites the sharks and spurs them to bite aggressively.
We hang some carcasses from a fish stringer off the back of the boat. Tossing smaller dead baits or carcasses out to the sides makes the slick that much more enticing. These smaller baits also serve to feed the nurse sharks and stingrays. Their feeding activity attracts the targeted shark species and before you know it, we have frenzied waters.
Now we wait.
It can take as little as just a few minutes for the sharks to show up, but at times we’ve had to wait a bit longer. The excitement is always worth the wait!
The appearance of nurse sharks and stingrays at the boat is a good indication that our guest of honor is not far behind. You will see them maneuvering themselves toward the boat. Then it’s as simple as picking your target and casting your bait to it. Sharks are competitive in their quest for the baits.
Once you get one eating, another follows and another and the action mounts to a frenzy. When you have a bite, allow the shark to eat the bait and swim off with it for a couple of seconds.
Then it's game on!
Each species of shark has its own unique features and habits, making every catch a unique experience. Typically the sharks put on an exciting run away from the boat before slowing down to duke it out with the angler.
On the flats, the lemons make a long, 200-plus yard initial run, bulldog back to the boat and make another half run before they succumb to the pressure.
The blacktips and spinners normally rocket skyward when they feel the steel of the circle hook in their mouths. Long, energetic runs are then mixed with jumps.
The bulls, hammerheads and tigers tend to slug it out, with some fights lasting two hours or more.
The thrill of the catch cannot overshadow the importance of a proper release.
The reason we use circle hooks is that the hook will lodge in the corner of the shark’s jaw and will do no long-term harm.
Sharks are very unpredictable and no two behave the same when they feel trapped close to the boat. If removing the hook cannot be accomplished safely, we cut the wire leader as close to the hook as possible without putting anyone in harm’s way.