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Old 02-18-2009, 05:32 PM   #1
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Default Big 7 mile bridge Hammerhead

Hello everyone I'm new on here but we have many shark fishing stories to share with you so I hope you enjoy this big hammerhead story with pictures.

We finally got a nice hammer!!It was bound to happen we've been getting together weekly in the keys and Florida's west coast and actively pursuing the big sharks and it's starting to pay off.You can say we are like special forces unit in training for a particular mission,,,,, getting ready,honing our skills for the 2009 land-based shark fishing tournaments.We are getting back to basics doing what have been sucessfully doing for many years -catching big sharks while working as a Team.I am convinced that by the time April 2009 rolls around we will be a fine tuned shark fishing machine able to out manuever, outwit any shark that comes our way-I hope.

Anyway on to the fishng report.The weather man reported a strong cold front due to blow into south Florida by monday night but we were too hyped up after losing last week's big sharks to change our plans so my buddy Julio and i headed out to the 7 mile bridge to meet up with shark club members Jimbo and son Jimmy,Big Will and his wife Irma,and Luis iglesias to spend some time bridge fishing.Luis as usual was the first to arrive at the bridge after leaving his house at 4 am and buying his live shrimp in Islamorada(as usual) at six am he arrives early and starts fishing for regular fish.Lui is a snapper and grouper specialist with his surf rods and his live and cut baits he targets these fish weekly in spots that have taken him years to find and develop techniques to outsmart the bridge dwellers.Lui who fishes the bridges in the keys every week will catch bottom fish along with a wide variety of other fish including huge barracudas, Jacks of all types,mackeral,kingfish,tarpon,cobia,etc,etc you name it Lui has caught it on the bridges at one time or another.My buddy Julio and i are the last to arrive at the bridge and set up basecamp at sundown.The wind is blowing from the north a steady 20 mph hour, the water is murky and lots of seaweed on the surface of the water moving through with the incoming current that had just started.After unloading and setting up our stuff i look around and see so many familiar faces i pronounce to everyone -"tonight we are ready for a big shark,we've got the personnel to handle anything",,,,,,i would later find out just how vital each and every one of us would become.

By now most of guys have there shark baits in the water i've brought along a frozen bonita,a half a jack from last week,and a frozen cuda to use for shark bait.My friend Lui catches two bonnethead sharks back to back the second one three foot long i put out live on my 16/0.On my 14/0 i put out the half jack crevalle.Just like Julio and i Jd hammer and his son Jimmy are using frozen baits brought from home,a big snapper carcass and a snook carcass also from last week.After putting out our shark baits we are getting our bottom fishing rods ready for action when i pass by Jimmy's 12/0 with the snook carcass for bait and it starts screeching out so i grab it and call out for Jimmy to run over and get this shark.He sets up ,the shark is big and starts dumnping half his spool of Ande 125 lb line.We can just watch as this shark is putting this youngster in training through his paces.We gather around him trying to coach him into stopping the big fish but it has to run it's course and tire out.Big fish no doubt out probably 350 yards by now when he feels his line hitting a lobster pot rope.Next thing you know my cousin big Will who is fishing 50b yards away gets a fast hit on his 14/0 and his wife is calling out for someone to come help him out because he's set up and the shark is also like Jimmy taken half the reels line off the spool.Before i take off to help big Will i see Jimbo trying to help Jimmy who's fish is stuck on a lobster trap ,slowly they begin to manuevar to get the shark free from the bouy but Jimmy says he can't put alot of pressure on the fish because he's only got #12 leader material and a short leader,,,,,,,,,i tell myself this big shark stuck on a lobster rope with #12 wire won't last long and sure enough after a short while the wire has kinked off and the shark is gone.Big Will meanwhile is calling out for some water to pour on the 14/0 that is heating up so Lui pours a bottled water on it.The shark is taking off sideways and we follow and the reel continues to lose line .The shark slows and starts to go in the opposite direction down the bridge and we follow and big Will is huffing and puffing but he's staying even with the fish.Then the shark charges and big Will is having to crank the reel as fast as he can to catch up with it ,when he does the shark catches it's second wind and is now blistering the big Penn Senator again; this time the shark takes out another 200 yards and by now Will has less then a half a spool.Slowly and inch by inch the shark is tiring and Will starts to regain his lost line.About an hour later the shark has started to swim towards our left away from the main channel and we follow to help big Will with whatever he needs.We are happy we can almost taste victory,,,,, at this point we are gonna get this big fish, thanks to our team work and persistant dedication to fish good spots on a consistent basis.We continue to go left the big fish taking short runs but overall Will has him turned.The shark charges again and this time he's almost to the bridge when big will catches up to him,he is trying to swim under the bridge Will tightens the star drag and sits on the rod butt,the line holds and the beast shows himself with a mighty jump right under us "it's a big hammer" the cry goes out we are estatic.First time i've ever seen a hammer jump.The shark takes off again 150 yards gone in an instant but we now know what we suspected its a hammerhead shark and a solid one at that.The beast takes a run again to our left and then disaster strikes the shark out about 100 yards is wrapped around a lobster trap.Damm lobster traps they should have a law where they have to set them out at least a mile away from any shoreline.Big Will is dejected, feels like all the hard work for nothing.I ask Will what he has for leader and he tells me 15 feet of #19 wire and 20 feet of double line.Jimbo instructs Will to slowly try and drag the shark and the lobster trap towards the bridge but it calls for big Will having to hammer down the star drag on the reel and bring the 125 lb Ande line close to it,s breaking point.Will is sweating profusely and very slowly gaining line.After another hour of slowly gaining line the shark can be seen dead by now wrapped around the lobster trap rope and getting closer to the bridge with every turn of the big reel's handle.We decided to end this long battle as quickly as possible since everyone is tired,so we gaff the lobster trap rope and the dead hammer once they are right below us and we proceed to drag the whole mess down to shore.Three gaffs,three sets of gloves ,one camera,two flashlights and six tired SOUTH FLORIDA SHARK CLUB members take on the task of dragging the heavy load and the biggest shark of the year for a club member the half mile to the end of the bridge.We walk past a group of Koreans who look down and are astonished to see the big hammerhead and tangled mess of rope with a lobster trap in tow.We get down to the end and get a closer look at the shark which tapes out to a solid 10 feet 5 inches.Some hammers are 10 feet and are skinny this is a muscular thick bodied hammer who fought to the very end.What a majestic and powerful fish.We are all saddened the shark died on the rope but it's part of things that happen in our sport.We are all very tired most suffering some ailment or other from the long ordeal,me i get back to base camp open a cold beer and lay down on my sleeping bag to take a break and nurse my rail scraped cut up knuckles and to comtemplate what just took place.My cousin keeps saying thanks man for destroying your knuckles for me;and i just laugh ,,,,i know what it takes and do whatever it takes to get the job done.The people that know me know i am a madmen with a big shark bridgeside or boatside. That night the wind picks up and is howling to 30 mph and the next day the water is milky and the wind is ruining our chances to fish any more and we decide to pack it in.We go home early and satisfied that we accomplished something few can say,,,,we caught a big hammer from a bridge.Pictures later today ,,,going back to bed now.

A very special Thanks!! to every one who helped out and made the catch possible.

unloading our gear to at the seven mile bridge

Jimbo's son Jimmy is hooked up as the old man coaches him on

Lui at the ready with the gallon of water to cool off the Penn 12/0

Now big Will gets hooked up and it's officially a double header

Dragging the whole mess down to the seawall,,the Koreans were freaking out

The ropes kept getting tangled and people on the bridge had to move there stuff off the rail's edge to let us get by

At last the hammer is on land -10 foot 5 inches long

Big Will his wife Irma and the hammerhead shark

Big Will and Jimbo with the hammerhead shark

Shark club Team
President -South Florida Shark Club
Founder-Big Hammer Challenge Shark Tournament
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Old 02-18-2009, 05:34 PM   #2
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Default RE: Big 7 mile bridge Hammerhead

You killed Henry! Nice job though..What was hooked up on the other rod?
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Old 02-18-2009, 05:39 PM   #3
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Default RE: Big 7 mile bridge Hammerhead

thanks for the great report....thats a hell of a shark from the beach
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Old 02-18-2009, 06:07 PM   #4
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Default RE: Big 7 mile bridge Hammerhead

Nice! Im getting one of those one day!
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Old 02-18-2009, 06:36 PM   #5
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Default RE: Big 7 mile bridge Hammerhead

Freakin amazing shark!!! My only question, what and the hell do you do with a 10'5" dead hammerhead?
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Old 02-18-2009, 08:25 PM   #6
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Default RE: Big 7 mile bridge Hammerhead

Nice Hammer!!! Good job fellas.:bowdown
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Old 02-18-2009, 08:42 PM   #7
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Default RE: Big 7 mile bridge Hammerhead

where is the 7 mile bridge?
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Old 02-18-2009, 08:42 PM   #8
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Default RE: Big 7 mile bridge Hammerhead

FL Keys.
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Old 02-18-2009, 08:54 PM   #9
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Default RE: Big 7 mile bridge Hammerhead

olilly (2/18/2009)where is the 7 mile bridge?
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Old 02-18-2009, 10:00 PM   #10
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Default RE: Big 7 mile bridge Hammerhead

That is a awsome catch.:bowdown
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