With the waters warm and plenty of bait just off the beaches of the Grand Strand, fishermen are finding plenty of big tiger sharks for daily battles. Capt. Tom Cushman of Myrtle Beach Fishing charters said his parties have caught and released dozens over tigers over the past two weeks.

"They are very abundant from three to 15 miles out right now," said Cushman (843-997-5850), "We are catching a lot of good fish on both half- and full-day trips."

 

Although none of the tigers he's seen have been anywhere close to the 1,780-pound world record that Walter Maxwell caught off the Cherry Grove Pier in 1964, Cushman said fish between 50 and several hundred pounds have been common. 

 

Artificial reefs and livebottoms have been holding schools of baitfish, which have attracted the big sharks. Known as one of the most aggressive sharks in the ocean, tigers require huge quantities of food, often eating between 25 and 40 pounds per day. s a result, tiger sharks will eat just about anything resembling food. But, live and cut bait is still the best option.

 

"Fresh mackerel or pogies will get them going most of the time," he said.

 

Chumming is the trick for bringing these big sharks to the surface and near the boat.

 

Regardless of the water depth, the tiger sharks will feed high in the water column. Cushman will fish his baits in the upper end of the water column, usually between five and 20 foot of the surface.

 

Heavy-action rods, high capacity reels, and stout terminal tackle are required to get these fish to the boat. Cushamn recommends using 80- to 130-pound line to get these fish to the boat in a relatively short time, because they're almost all released.

 

"These are impressive creatures that should be respected and returned to the ocean," he said.