Matlacha shark fishing

The sharks have been very active recently in the backwaters of Matlacha Pass.  In the winter, it was bonnet heads that seemed to be most active in these waters, however, with the warm summer water and higher summer tides, blacktips are now seen swimming the surface looking for an easy meal.  I’ve been watching– and catching these beautiful creatures for the past month with great excitement.  Prior to moving to Matlacha, my only shark fishing experience was from trips to my grandfathers home in mount pleasant South Carolina, where we would take out his 24 foot Grady White and find a deep hole on the inter coastal waterway.  I really enjoyed fishing for baby blacktip sharks from the front of his boat.  However, the sharks in South Carolina seem to stalk the deeper water holes of 20+ feet that can sometimes be hard to find.  The inter coastal also has a very strong current so using a lot of weight on your line is key to getting your bait down to the bottom.  The shark fishing around here seems to be a different game.  I have had success catching the blacktips in 2-3 feet of water behind my house.  I use a float to keep the bait off the bottom and out of the mouths of those pesky catfish.  Pinfish seem to be a favorite for the sharks– even a small 1-1 1/2″ pin fish can lure in a sizable shark, say 24 to 30 inches.  I say sizable considering the depth of water I’m fishing and the light tackle I’m using.  Landing even a small shark can be tricky because they like to run off with your bait held only loosely in their mouths.  When they start to pull on your line, open the drag and let them run for 10 or 12 seconds unhindered.  If they feel any sort of tension on the line they are quick to drop the bait.  You will be able to tell if they are actually hooked because they will begin frantically swimming in different patters to try and break free.  Once you get to that point you should be able to tire them out and reel em’ in.  Good luck on your next shark adventure!

The pictures below are quite possibly of the same shark that I caught on several occasions.  Based on the markings on his stomach we surmise I landed this shark as many as 5 times!  Bennie the dog is an avid shark fisher as well!

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