I've hit the beach one already for sharks this summer, but unfortunately I got skunked on my first trip. I went up to Sanibel at the end of Tarpon Bay road, and although I have big reels with a lot of line, I was a little disappointed with how big the sandbar was. I had to paddle forever just to get into 6-7 feet of water to drop the baits...This was after Debby though, and maybe the storm made the sandbar bigger.
I normally shark fish off the beach down closer to Bonita, so I headed back down that direction last Friday night. I set up with two of my friends Tim and Zach shortly before sunset at around 7:00pm. I personally like setting up before dark so I know where everything is and I'll generally stay until midnight-2:00am. We ran into a few stray storms right after we set up. Apparently it was going to be a long wet night. My girlfriend's two cousins Taylor and Tanner met us out there right around dark.
I already set out a spread of 5 rod-holders. I like to roll with 3 shark rods and 2 rods out soaking for big snook between the 3 shark rods. I had ladyfish, spanish mackeral, and bonita that night.
Gotta love this one
After Taylor and Tanner got there and we got rained on some more, one of the snook rods went off. I grabbed it out of the holder, let the circle hook do its job, and we had fish on! I had a 2in chunk of ladyfish on that rod and I figured this might be a big female snook that was sitting in the deep trough inside of the sandbar. I handed the rod off to Taylor to let him fight the fish and hopefully land the snook. The fish was peeling drag like a freight train and took off a hundred yards down the beach before we had a chance to catch up. In the heat of the moment we all went with the fish instead of staying with the rods...a mistake I won't make again. As we were fighting the fish down the beach I though "Oh shoot, the rest of the rods" and decided to run back and check on them. As I ran back I heard the clicker on the 4/0 with half a ladyfish screaming. By the time I got to it though the fish was gone, ladyfish and all. Oh well, at least I didn't lose the rod. Still, I felt like a bushleager. If I got there sooner I might have got a hook up.
Long story short, I found out pretty quick the fish I thought was a snook wasn't a snook at all. After a few minutes into that fight and watching taylor fight the fish I knew it wasn't a snook. My suspicions we're confirmed when we saw that it was a monster stingray. The biggest ray I've ever seen that close to shore on the beach. The ray was completely immovable with my snook rod. That rod in particular is a 12-20lb Star Rod Stellar Lite with a Quantum Cabo 40 and 300yds of 20lb power pro. Normally I can put some heat on a big snook with it, but not that ray. After an hour long fight the 30lb flouro broke off and left Taylor pretty disappointed.
After another 1.5 hours we had another small run on a bonita chunk, but lost the fish. Shortly thereafter, we had another hookup on the 2nd snook rod. Another ladyfish chunk got picked up, but this time it was picked up by a 4-4.5ft nurse shark. Taylor and Tanner fought the fish in and grabbed some photos with is shortly before releasing the fish.
Taylor and Nurse Shark
Tanner and Nurse Shark
Overall it was a slow night with not much action. I'll be going again this Friday or Saturday night though and hopefully we'll have a little more success. I'll post that report a couple days afterwards, so be on the look out!