This has been a great summer for fishing up and down the coast of the Carolinas, but it’s common for the bite to slow for many species in August. That’s not the case for sharks, however. Their appetites don’t seem to slow down, no matter how high the temperature gets.
Black tip sharks are on guide Rob Bennett’s mind this time of year. They are plentiful and easy to locate, and plenty of bait is also easily found. Bennett, who runs Lowcountry Inshore Charters out of the Kiawah Island, S.C., area, said he can load up his livewell with enough menhaden for a full day of fishing with just a few tosses of his cast net this time of year.
Finding the bait is easy. They are in large schools 2 to 3 miles off the beach. It’s easy to find the black tips, too. They travel the same lines the shrimp boats, which are usually within 3 to 4 miles of the beaches.
“It’s a lot of fun to watch an angler make a cast just behind these shrimp trawlers. The sharks are always following them, and it doesn’t take long to entice them into biting a menhaden hooked through the nose,” said Bennett (843-367-3777), who ties an 8/0 hook to a leader made up of 3 feet of 100-pound fluorocarbon tied to 3 feet of single-strand steel wire. The leader is tied to 65-pound Power Pro braid spooled on a 4500 series spinning rod.
Bennett uses a medium-heavy rod, an 8/0 hook, a 4500 series spinning reel spooled with 65-pound Power Pro braid, and a 6-foot section of leader of 3-feet of 100-pound fluorocarbon and another 3-foot section of single-strand wire.
“You need the wire to keep the sharks from biting through, and the fluorocarbon gives it some flexibility,” he said.
And if the shrimp boats aren’t there, Bennett said it’s not a big deal. The sharks get used to swimming those lines, and they’ll be there this time of year — even if the shrimpers aren’t.
Anglers shouldn’t use more than two rods at a time when fishing this way. Having more just causes tangled lines and chaos.
“No matter how many anglers are on my boat, they’ll all get their share of time fighting sharks. Having two rods out is plenty,” he said.
Once a shark is hooked, Bennett moves the angler move to his boat’s front deck. He then cranks the outboard and follows the shark while the angler keeps the line tight. When the boat is within about 30 feet of the shark, Bennett puts the outboard in idle so the angler and shark can go head to head.
“You’re not going to land one of these sharks without wearing it down first. So this gives the anglers a good fight, and it tires the shark to the point that we can safely land it,” he said.