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I'd Love to Catch a
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The Report:

Last Saturday, my buddy & I went trolling at the beach for a couple hours & managed five solid spanish mackerel, which we decided to keep for bait for the following night. Unfortunately, our proposed Sunday night trip never ended up happening.




I was hellbent on making a trip during the week still, so I kept the spanish on ice in the Yeti until finally, on Thursday evening, Mitch said he was down to hit the beach.

We both made it home from work around midnight, & ended up leaving to make the trek out to our spot on the beach around 1AM. By 2:15, we had our spot set up & all three baits out. Mitch ran a smaller spanish out about 350 yards, at which point I began to scream to him that he needed to drop his bait, as he was coming close to spooling himself. I ended up reeling his bait in about 30 yards after he dropped it, as I was nervous about him leaving it out with only +-30 yards on his reel. After he returned with the yak, I chose to run a 24'' spanish out about 225 yards, & a smaller one out about 150 yards.

Our first run came at 2:45. I had what seemed like a solid pickup on my shorter drop, but I ended up pulling the hook on the fish about ten seconds after engaging the reel. It was an exciting start to the night, but I would be lying if I said it wasn't a bit disheartening! In hindsight, I am fairly certain that this pickup was from a smaller blacktip or spinner shark.

Thankfully the surf was beautiful, so the task of re-running a bait after only a half hour of fishing didn't sound too horrible to me. With that being said, I decided to run another smaller spanish out about the same distance as the first drop. Ten minutes went by, & for some reason I caught myself thinking that I was somewhat surprised that Mitch's bait had not been picked up yet. Not fifteen seconds after that thought passed through my mind, & Mitch's rod started bowing up. His 6/0 had just begun to sing the song of victory, when the line went slack. He reeled until the line was tight again, & then, discouraged, turned around to go sit down. I guess sitting down was the ticket, as his rod bowed up & his reel began to scream again about a minute after we had returned to our chairs. This time he was on!




The shark made a couple good runs, but for the most part it came in easily. Within ten minutes from the time he hooked up, I had the tail rope on the fish & he was running for the pliers, measuring tape, & camera. Unfortunately, the fish was gut hooked. Being that we only use circle hooks, I was a bit confused how this could have happened. We ended up cutting the cable as close to the hook as we could, & proceeded to measure the fish at 68'' & then take a few photos before releasing her to fight again another night.




Mitch decided that one solid shark was good enough for him for the trip, so he opted not to put on a new rig & retired his rod for the night. At this point I was super happy for him for putting a good fish on the beach, but a little bummed out that I had screwed up my shot at doing the same. I was determined to get another shot! Thankfully that chance came around 4AM, at which point I watched my longer drop rod bow up. The clicker on my 900H shrieked for a few seconds, & then the line went slack. Thinking it was another smaller shark, I didn't think much of it. That is, until twenty seconds later, when the rod contorted itself to a 90 degree angle & my drag clicker began to make sounds that I had never heard before. I knew when I struggled to remove the rod from the rod holder that I was about to be hooked up with a good fish, & a good fish it was.





For the next 35 minutes, I fought the best battle of my life thus far, most of which, was at full drag. She dumped somewhere in the neighborhood of 150 yards of line on the first run, & from that point on it was a colossal game of give & take. Every time I gained a few yards of line, she would take double that amount back. Finally, close to 4:40AM, Mitch was able to wrangle the tail rope around her massive caudal fin.

Knowing that hammers are a fragile shark & that they fight to the death, we raced to remove the hook, measure the fish, insert a tag, & snap as many photos as possible, all while keeping the beautiful fish in the surf, within the span of a few minutes. Unfortunately, my heart dropped when I walked the hammer out & could not get her to swim off. I couldn't believe it. I had just landed the best fish of my life, but I felt absolutely horrible about it. Did I do something wrong? Could we have done everything faster? Thankfully, after about fifteen minutes of walking the shark around in chest deep water, she began to swim. Slowly, at first, but after another minute or so, we watched her take off into the darkness once again. SUCCESS! Words cannot express how happy it made me to see such an impressive creature return to the Gulf, what an awesome night!









At this point, it was well after five o'clock, so we decided to return our sharking gear to the car & exchange it for our king setups. Since we had already had such an incredible trip, we decided to launch the yaks a little after sunrise to see if we could make it even better before heading home. Luckily, it paid off! Mitch hooked into a short king a few minutes after we launched, & then managed a solid one about an hour later. At 8:15AM, with our fishing marathon complete, we were packed up & finally ready to head home.




I can't tell you how excited I am about putting my first hammer on the beach. I know it's not a monster, or even large by any means, but the fact that I was able to land, tag, & release one feels nothing short of awesome. My appreciation for these fish has always been great, but after this experience, it has grown even more. I am really looking forward to our next outing - a tiger is next on my list!

Tally for the Night:

Mitch: 68'' blacktip
Me: 91'' greater hammerhead (personal record)

Tight lines everyone.
 

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Awesome going Sawyer!!! Looks like a great time brother!
 

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Squid technician
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Great fish :)

I love the exaggerated fins on the Great hammerhead. Such a badass looking thing. Good on you for taking the needed time to revive the fish in full before release.
 

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I'd Love to Catch a
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Discussion Starter #11
Great fish :)

I love the exaggerated fins on the Great hammerhead. Such a badass looking thing. Good on you for taking the needed time to revive the fish in full before release.
Thanks Chris! The monster dorsals on these greater hammers really are super cool. I had always noticed how large they looked in photos, but I never realized how MASSIVE they actually are until I saw this one in person. It's nuts!

On another note, I posted photos of this fish on Instagram, & a couple kids said that a hammerhead washed up on Pensacola Beach a few days ago. I think I would be sick if I found out it was the fish that I caught & released. Has anyone heard anything regarding this?
 

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Haven't heard or been able to dig up anything about it, but if it was yours the tagging program you participate in will likely notify you. That is by far my biggest fear in shark fishing, a large dead shark...
 

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I'm very impressed with you guys.........love to see young people with a burning desire to fish. That hammerhead was a beaut and to fish again after daylight shows spunk! Enjoy our wonderful sport......Ed
 

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I'd Love to Catch a
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I'm very impressed with you guys.........love to see young people with a burning desire to fish. That hammerhead was a beaut and to fish again after daylight shows spunk! Enjoy our wonderful sport......Ed
I really appreciate the compliment man, & I'm glad you enjoyed the report! I was a bit on the exhausted side after fighting that hammer & half-considered not doing the king trip in the morning, but it sure was worth it! :thumbup:
 

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Family is visiting from Ukraine, so right now its just surf fishing trips to the beach for me haha :) Waiting for the cooler weather to go yakin' on the rivers again :) Will definitely hit you up soon
 
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