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Crabby’s Corner: “Beat the Heat”

We all love the warm and tropical climate we live in, but through the next few months the afternoons can be downright unbearable. In this article I will give you a few summer time ideas that will keep you cool and produce some very impressive catches.

Night fishing has always been a summer time favorite of mine and there are few fish that are more active and willing to bite than our coastal sharks. Depending on the size of the sharks you are targeting and weather you are fishing from a fixed position or a boat your tackle and presentation are key. For smaller sharks in the 50 to 100 pound range conventional reels in the 4/0 and 6/0 category filled with 30 to 50 pound
mono are perfect. For terminal tackle a six foot piece of #9 wire and a 8/0 4x strong circle hook with enough lead to get the bait to stay on the bottom is as simple and effective as it gets.

Bait is a little more complicated though. While most dead baits will work well, fresh far out performs frozen. My favorite fresh baits include sting rays, ladyfish, mullet, and especially mackerel. If fishing from a boat just anchor up away from any swim buoys near the passes and fan some baits out around the boat checking them regularly as smaller fish will pick them clean over time. (One of my favorite brands is BAITMASTERS – chum and sardines) The waiting is the hardest part but bringing some chum can speed up the action. Leave your reels in free spool with the clicker on and when something picks up the bait let them swim away for about 10 seconds, then just put the reel in gear and start reeling the circle will do its job. If fishing from the beach you will need to change things up a bit. First you will need a kayak or stand up paddle board to get your baits out past the sand bar. Just as important is your sinker. You must use a “sputnik” or surf lead. These specially designed weights have wires that stick out to anchor them in the sand and keep the baits where you put them.

For the truly large sharks in the 150 to 500 plus range you have to beef it up quite a bit. Reels in the 9/0 to 14/0 category with short stiff rods and roller guides are the weapon of choice here. Monofilament line won’t cut it here you must use braid or dacron in the 130 to 200 lb range
and don’t forget your fighting belt either. Terminal tackle is quite different also, stranded 400 pound cable and 14/0 ultra strong J hooks. The cable or bite leader only needs to be about 5 foot, but a 250 or 300 pound mono shock leader around 15 feet or so will need to be crimped to the swivels between the main line and the bite leader. One more trick is to wrap the cable leader with electrical tape to help it from putting off ultra sensitive electrical signals that can deter some sharks, sounds crazy but it works.

Bait is still the same but instead of using chunks use whole baits with slits cut in them. These techniques will produce some true monsters and make you a little nervous the next time you go splashing around on the beach. But don’t worry we are not on their menu.
As always, thanks for reading and have a safe and memorable summer and always keep an eye towards the sky as afternoon thunderstorm are very common this time of year.
Thank You,
Brian Crabtree,
Madeira Beach Marina Manager

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