While fishing the April Land based Shark Tournament in 2008 we decided to go locally and fish the first key in a chain of Keys in Florida. We rallied up the big baits, in this case since it was April the Charter boats cannot sell amberjack and so many of they just keep them and take them to the docks to show the tourist and when they have finished they clean the fish and use the roe to fish for snappers. Well, we contacted a captain and he offered to supply us with bait. he was a shorebound shark fisherman himself in his younger years and so wass glad to help our cause by donating bait. He would normally give us other carcasses like kingfish mackerel, dolphin, blackfin tuna, and cudas.
On this night I got there first with Brad and my son, we let out some of the carcasses and Brad was hit but immediately got cut off. Then it was my son’s turn, his rod got a massive hit, line was peeling and peeling on his 12/0 Penn reel. We placed the fishing harness on him and had to hold him back from the shoulders so he wouldn’t be dumped in the water with the rod strapped to him. It got to a point where it seem like a scence of a Matrix movie we had pushed him so far back that he looked like he was levitating and then, POP!!!!!!!! the line broke. The shark too it to the ledge of channel and the line rubbed until it popped. Boy oh boy we were pumped! We called Louis and told him to get to the bridge as soon as he could. We had to re rig all the rods and since the sharks were so big I did not dared to put my 9/0 in the water, we needed our big guns but I had only brought a 12/0. Well, we rigged, Louis got there and we spread the lines out so we could have some room. It started again click, click, rrrrrrr, zzzzzzzzzzzzzz POP!!!! Brad was hit first and his line popped again. We figured out it was a the dredge whole in the bridge area, water went from 9 feet to 14 feet deep. The government had dug a trench there to get materials for the footing of the bridge. We we moved our line a bot farther away from that hole so our lines wouldn’t run that risk again. And so again my reel this time goes click, click, rrrrrrr, zzzzzzzzzzzzz, I set the hook, zzzum, zzzum, zzzum, the fish slowly took drag and we knew what it was: The Slow Powerful Run of a Big Bull Shark. The bull shark kept going in the direction of the hole so I walked to my right trying to prevent it from reaching it, HUAC!!! SLAMMM!!! the shark pulled so hard on one of those moves it slammed me against the railing BAMM!! again, Oh boy, I felt it, I felt the rubbing of my line n that trench. I had to stop it from breaking my line so I began to slowly reel and reel when I could the the shark started to move upwards instead of running the shallows. I would gain 3 inches it would go 5 feet but little by little I was able to get it closer. It was then that we decided we had to beach this shark so I put my rod on my shoulders and started walking it to toward the footing of the bridge. Once I got to the footing I began to reel in again and again and started walking to the beach until we landed the big bull shar. It measure 8’4″ and had an amazing girth of almost 5 feet. This shark was easily over 400 pounds. After measuring it and a few pics we took turns reviving it almost 5 minutes went by and then the shark swam on its own. WOW!!! What a rush to see them swim away so strongly. We setup again, told a few jokes in between and as the nigh slowed down it was Louis’ reel this time click, click, rrrrrrr, zzzzzzzzzzzzz, Luis sets the hook and again , zzzum, zzzum, zzum, ANOTHER BULL!!! Same ordeal shark goes toward the whole, keeps tension on it, moves right, and the bull shark goes another direction. OH NO! OH NO! it swiming towards an anchered sail boat! NO! NO! the shark got tangled on the anchor lines and so Luis has to do the unthinkable he starts to reel in the boat and the shark at the same time. He puts the rod on his shoulders and starts to walk the reels in real fast coming towards the rail, doe it again and again, we walk towards the footing of the bridge and then POP!!!!! the line just brakes off. OH boy we were upset, really upset. Well we tried again loosing some more to cut offs and then it all died down. In this tournament we won the Bridge Shark Catch and Release division. We would have won biggest shark with the bull shark I caught and released but biggest shark went to length not tot he normal formula of lenght x girth squared divided by 800. But that is how it goes, we were happy we won that division and ended 2nd on most Catch/Releases.
Below are pics of us getting ready for the release
Releasing the bull shark and watching it swim away
Below are other sharks caught by the rest of the team:
Brad on a 5 foot bull shark
What can I say, we got caught fishing at a bridge we were not supposed to be fishing at. Below is Officer Wade Very Happy to give us $45 Tickets and we just had to do the line up picture
Luis with a Black Tip shark he caught the night Officer Wade busted us
Seth with a nurse shark he caught
Luis on a beach caught 9′ lemon shark
When all was finished we were exhausted and collected our winnings. First Place Bridge Shark catch and release. Second place most sharks caught and released.