Guide Dillon Blythe of Charleston figures that conditions aren’t always ideal to target redfish on fly-fishing tackle, so he’s found a toothy alternative: inshore sharks.
Blythe, of Grey Ghost Charters (843-670-8629) said most of the sharks he catches on fly gear are black tips and spinners, and he’ll beef up or lighten up depending on the size of the shark, going with a 12- to 14-weight Sage rod for large sharks.
“Sometimes I will go with a lighter, 11-weight rod to when targeting sharks in the 20- to 40-pound range,” says Blythe, who spools his reels with tapered, intermediate sinking fly line, a 30-pound fluorocarbon tipped and a bite tippet of 93-pound single-strand wire attached by a barrel swivel. The majority of the sharks that Blythe targets on the fly are Black Tips and Spinners.
When targeting sharks on the fly, Blyth will fish several hundred yards off the beach in 10 to 30 feet of water, and he’s looking for clear water.
“Water clarity is very important when sight fishing for any fish,” said Blythe, who chums with cut mackerel, ladyfish, bluefish or shad under a popping cork to draw sharks to the surface.
“Sometimes, I will chop up a bunch of fresh menhaden and leave them in the baitwell with the top open,” he said. “That way, the boat will be producing a constant blood trail. Usually, after you get the attention of one shark, there will soon be more.”
Blythe suggests looking for dorsal fins following the blood trail. When casting homemade flies he ties on Tiemco SP hooks, Blythe finds them anything but picky.
“Anything that has bright red or orange colors will attract a shark’s attention,” Blythe said. “Baitfish patters such as a Super Mushy can also be very productive flies.”
After hooking up, you can expect smaller sharks to fight around 15 to 20 minutes and larger ones to fight about 45 minutes, he said. A heavy duty dehooker and a good pair of gloves are essential for safely handling and releasing hooked sharks safely.
“When fly-fishing in the Carolinas, redfish are what people thing about,” said Blythe. “A lot of times the conditions are not ideal for redfish, and fly fishing for sharks is a great alternative. Sight-fishing for big fish in clear water; that’s what fishermen want.”