While plenty of surf fishermen catch sharks while targeting other species, a group of Lowcountry anglers from the Requiem Fishing Team targets sharks — big ones — and Edisto is one of their choice locations in August.
By big, these guys don’t mean 5-footers; they are after much bigger sharks, and catching them from the beach is not at all unheard of. The area where the South Edisto River dumps into the Atlantic Ocean is fertile shark fishing grounds, and last August, team member Blanding Levin landed a lemon shark that measured more than 81/2 feet long.
Levin and other team members have landed sharks more than 13 feet long off the beach over the past few years. Lemon sharks, spinners, hammerheads, tigers and bull sharks are just a handful of the species they catch.
Stan Warren, another team member, said they do most of their fishing here at night, when no swimmers are present and the crowds are low. They do everything in their power to lessen the impact they have on beachgoers, and he said the bite is typically better at night anyway.
“It’s a bit of a waiting game. You put baits in the water, then wait for one of the rods to go off. In the meantime, we try to catch fish or rays for bait — or work on gear,” he said.
Team Requiem’s style of fishing is more man-vs-nature than most anglers ever try. Anglers paddle a kayak out with big chunks of bait — sometimes half of a large stingray or a big fish. This is not for the feint of heart, especially through the crashing surf in the dark.
“That part alone is a thrill; it will get your heart pumping, and that’s before you even hook a shark,” Warren said.
Tackle suited for catching big, offshore fish is the norm, and aside from the joy of hand-to-hand combat with some of the largest creatures anyone will ever tussle with from the shore, team members tag sharks with tracking tags that help several agencies learn more about their lives and movements.