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Shark fishing, like most offshore fishing, requires a significant
amount of planning and preparation. You should make a checklist
for each trip. Your checklist should also include what to prepare
before leaving your house. Before heading off to the boat, I always:
print out the most current water temperature charts; check the inshore
and offshore weather forecasts; make sure my mobile phone is charged;
prepare my coffee for the morning and meal for the day; and lastly,
don't forget any bait that has been in the freezer!
Once at the boat, I also have a series of items on a checklist.
The first of these items are, primarily, saftety and boat maintenance
checks. All Captains should have their own checklist, so I won't
go into details with that here. Then I get into the fishing checklist.
I make sure I have the gear and bait necessary for the day (see
page one). If I havn't already done so, I (or the mate) will begin
making the leaders that we'll use for the day. I usually make sure
we have at least 15 prepared leaders with enough wire on board to
create 10 more, if necessary.
On the way out
Since fresh bluefish is a great treat for makos, and they are in
such an abundance these days, it's always a good idea to bring a
couple of casting rods and wire line trolling rods. On the way out
to the shark fishing grounds, I usually troll around Montauk Point
for some fresh bluefish. When caught, I like to keep them in the
livewell. This keeps them fresh, out of the way of the other bait,
and available if we want to use a live bait. This is also a good
time to start preparing your baits and chunks (chunking explained
in the next section).
Setting a Chum Slick
So, you picked your spot and estimated your drift. You stop the
boat and realize there isn't any wind at all. Is this a bad thing?
Actually, yes. Because creating a chum slick is important to shark
fishing, wind plays a big part in that success. First, let me explain
why we chum and why the bigger the slick, the better. The reason
why we set a chum slick is to attract the fish towards our baits.
Sharks are very smell driven and if they pass through your slick,
it is likely they will follow it to the source. So, the longer your
slick extends, the better chance you have of getting a shark to
"bump into" your slick. However, even though most shark
trips require extensive chum work, there are times when you will
just happen upon a shark or sharks. This is not common, but it does
happen on occassion.
In the case of little wind, I usually start the slick with what
I call a "power slick". In this case, I set the chum bag
over the side and VERY SLOWLY troll the bag up about a mile into
our drift. To accomplish this, I kick one engine in and out of gear
just enough to get the chum moving through the water. If you have
absolutely no wind, there is the constant troll method. This is
much more difficult and I will discuss this in another article.
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