13 posts in this topic

Hey guys, thanks a lot for the info on this forum. I'm buddies with mwheatley, who posted here before our last trip two weeks ago. The info you guys have shared with us has proved to be a big help. Our first trip was a big success. Our first time out we caught two nice sharks, the largest being a 6 1/2 foot sand tiger. We went out again to <acronym title="Assateague Island"><acronym title="Assateague Island">AI</acronym></acronym> this last weekend Friday night/Saturday morning, a few miles down from our spot two weeks ago. This time we got skunked (except for a tiny 18 incher). If you don't mind, I've got a few questions.

When we went two weeks ago there was no moon and the beach was full of sand fleas and crabs. They were everywhere. I can't help but think fish had come in to feed on these critters, and other fish came in to feed on those fish, etc., and sharks were more active.

This time, it was nearly a full moon so there was plenty of light and no crabs/sand fleas. Plus there were no bigger sharks caught. (The moon did set about 4:00 am, and the crabs did come out then, and that's when we caught our small 18 incher.)

So my first question is, have you guys seen any correlation between lunar cycles and shark catches (i.e., it's better with no moon, worse at full moon)? Or are other factors more significant, i.e. wind direction and water temp, more significant than the lunar cycle. (Last time we went (July 16/17), I didn't record the air or water temp, but there was a definite east wind, and the air seemed a bit cooler. This time, the wind was from the south-southwest, and it seemed generally warmer.)

Second question is we're halving our bunker, casting out 1/2 pieces (5-6 inch head and tail). We did the same last time and caught some nice sharks with it. But if we were to cut the bunker into thirds, we could cast it further out. So there's trade offs with small bait (less blood trail, harder for sharks to find) cast out further or larger bait (more blood trail, easier to find) cast out not nearly as far. Are you guys halving your bunker or are you cutting it into smaller pieces and getting it further? What do you think yields more hits?

Thanks in advance for the info. You guys have been a big help.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Welcome to Atlantic Anglers!

In my experience, a lot has to do with the water temps. Certain sharks, the sand tiger for example, can tollerate the cooler water. When the water reaches the mid 70's you will likely find quite a variety of the larger and feisty toothy critters. I have had the best luck with sandbar sharks, spinners, duskys and blacktips with warmer surf temps and they get pretty hungry around dusk. The moon, air temps, wind direction or the location of the big dipper don't seem to affect the bite.

As far as the moon cycle and sand fleas, it would make sense there would be a coloration there. However, that is something I need to research a bit more. I will say that I was fishing during a (nearly) full moon on Wednesday and while walking in the surf my feet were getting pelted with big sand fleas. When I walked a bit down the beach, there were none. About 30 yards further I found another big patch of them in the wash. Water temps were in the mid-upper 60's and I caught a few nice kingfish... but no sharks.

Bait: When casting shark baits, I usually cut them into four pieces. The head makes one bait, two center sections and the tail end (cut off the actual tail at the base). Of course, if you are cutting up smaller bunker, you may only get two or three baits. The fresher the bait, the bloodier the bait. I will often cast out a small rod for kingfish and spot. In my experience, you can't beat a fresh, bloody kingfish head...

When you rig up for tossing shark baits, you should have a nice length of rub leader that attaches to your shock leader. I use around 5 feet of 200lb mono rub leader that I crimp to a barrel swivel. On the other side of the swivel I twist a foot of Malin wire for the bite leader. I use a haywire twist to attach a 9-12/0 circle hook. I connect my sinker to hefty snap swivel that slides up and down the rub leader.

Casting this set up can be difficult, especially if you are accustomed to launching much shorter striper or drum rigs. If you have a tough time getting a decent distance with this setup, you could shorten the rub leader a bit, but understand the skin of a shark is like sandpaper and will quickly rub through your main running line and even your shock leader.

It is very important to keep your hooks SHARP! It makes all the difference when it comes to hooking the critter.

I keep my reel's drag fairly tight because I want that hook to dig into the corner of his mouth before he realizes it is not a fish bone and spits it. However, you don't want to set it too tight. If you do, you risk snapping your line or your rod. Even if you happen to be paying attention and looking right at your gear, good luck getting to it before it hits the suds and displays a very nice "rooster spray" as it heads east.

Check out this article for more info on shark fishing from the surf: Beach Shark Fishing

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

good post sam, not much i can add to that.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Sam et al, sorry for the delayed response, I've been in Idaho slaying the trout for the last week.

Thanks a lot for the input. It sounds like we're using the same rig. I'll keep a better eye on the water temp.

I should be going out again this next week. I'll keep you posted on any success.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Water temps are looking very nice right now. Good luck to all!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

wind direction is HUGE when it comes to surf fishing, especially in the summer. East wind will push ashore the top of the water column which has been warmed by the sun. This will dramatically increase surf temps. Southwest and west will do exactly the opposite. It will push out warm water which is then replaced by colder water from the bottom of the water column. Ever notice how summer brings some of the coldest water of the year even with temps over 90 degrees? SW wind...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
wind direction is HUGE when it comes to surf fishing, especially in the summer. East wind will push ashore the top of the water column which has been warmed by the sun. This will dramatically increase surf temps. Southwest and west will do exactly the opposite. It will push out warm water which is then replaced by colder water from the bottom of the water column. Ever notice how summer brings some of the coldest water of the year even with temps over 90 degrees? SW wind...

Ditto

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks for the info, guys.

Is there a weather website that you guys prefer that gives wind direction forecasts and water temp for the AI area? I'm in Arlington, VA, and I've been checking weather.com but it's not giving me all info I'd like. Any suggestions?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

if i see west or sw winds for several days in a row, it means font make the trip, its not worth it, two weeks ago was the slowest it has been for shark all season. then last week we had a few days of east winds, warmed the water up enough to produce nice size shark all week long. just my 2 cents.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

or just click on ocean data and enter the location you would like, that will take you to the same link.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!


Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.


Sign In Now