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Discussion Starter #1
I will be traveling down to Pensacola to visit my brother who is stationed there as a Marine the first week in June. Up in ohio i do alot of flathead fishing and do well with that. You guys have an awesome forum and I was hoping to get some advice on where to shark fish from the surf in pensacola. also any tips on rigs. I Have a cast net to collect bait here, and was wondering if I should use that to catch bait for sharks or if I should fish for my bait first? Not trying to catch monster sharks either but something fun while visiting. Any advice will help.
 

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Blowhard extrordinair
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I caught an 8' hammerhead on a hard tail head a few years ago. Small bait doesn't always mean small fish. I would suggest a Penn 6/0 W or bigger. I can't remember where I got my info on shark leaders, but I'll look. If you are going to cast baits look at the Penn fierce 8000. It's solid and big but pretty cheap.
 

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Blowhard extrordinair
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Now that I'm on a keyboard instead of my phone I can give you more detail.

Shark will eat anything bloody and if it's alive that's even better. I surf fish for fun, food and shark bait. Fun and shark bait generally are the same fish, hardtails, baby jacks, lady fish have all produced for me. The biggest shark I've caught, a 10' hammer, was on a speck carcus that I filleted. I keep a 5 gallon bucket on the beach with frozen water bottles and throw anything in that I think I want to eat or a would make good bait. If I have a buddy with me I go ahead and just paddle out bait and drop it if there isn't anyone around swimming.

I've done two types of leader, piano wire and 49 strand. I prefer the 49 strand because it seems to be more supple. I usually do about 5-8' of wire leader and another 8' of weed eater line. Use the round stuff because the fancy line is hard to get through the crimps.

You want to get your bait out past the 2nd set of breakers if possible, especially during daylight hours. If you're more man than me you can swim them out, but I use my kayak. I usually go out to the point where the water calms a bit past the 2nd set, usually 50 yards or so. Depending on the beach, that's going to be 150 to 300 yards out. Lots of guys go further, but with a 6/0 you don't have that much line. Rule of thumb seems to be that you need a minimum of 300 yard of line after the drop. My 6/0 has about 500 yards of 60# mono on top of 300 yards of 100# braid.

If you are casting baits you should try for about 20-40 yards past the breakers or in the first gut and you'll probably have better luck after dark. Casting a big bait is dang near impossible and casting a long leader is too. For this you'll want a long stiff poll, but remember, the longer the poll is the more advantage the fish has on you. I opt for a short stiff poll and just cast into the first gut. Honestly though I've not caught any sharks like this. I only do it about 3 days a year though. Plenty of guys do catch them in the gut. For this, you have to compromise your leader length. I make my bite leaders (the metal part) about 2' long and my shock leader (weedeater line) about 5'. With a 6' pole and a short man body that's as long as I can cast. Your bait obviously has to be smaller too. This will have to be trial and error. I can cast 1/2 of a baby jack pretty easy and that's what I caught me 2nd largest fish with, an 8.5' hammer.

I'm thinking of trying something new this year after shark fishing from a boat last year, a big live ladyfish kayaked out and anchored with a brick or large rock. I've read articles on it and after hooking up with 3 fish that broke my 60# line like this, I've got to try this from the beach now. With dead bait a 3-4oz pyramid weight is usually plenty, but it's no match for a big lady fish. If I recall correctly you tie the brick to the same spot on your leader that you would attach you weight, but you do it with about 3' of 10-15# line. When the fish bites, the line on the brick breaks and you're just fighting the fish. Before it breaks you have a big thrashing bait near the bottom. :thumbup:

I'll be out there about 2 weeks after you. Don't catch them all. :thumbsup:
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Really appreciate all of the help first off. I unfortunately will not have a kayak with me and I definitely am not man enough to swim my bait out that far lol. Sounds like I sound go out and find a sandbar and cast in the gut right after the wave breaks, but if I can get it out past that first sandbar with a cast try and do that? I will probably buy a 10ft pole from walmart to try and get it out their farther too.

Question with bait fish as I have no knowledge and cant find any threads on this but what is the quickest most effective way to catch bait for shark? Up here I catch bluegills or cast net for shad. Is there a spot known to cast net easy for bait, or how should i go about catching these bait fish?
 

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Blowhard extrordinair
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You can bait fish with a "fish finder rig" basically a carolina rig or a pompano rig. I do mine like this guy.

I like fishing with spoons like kastmasters, jerk baits, basically anything you bass fish with. Shiny and noisy is good. Use the big ones for big fish and little ones for little fish. I like the 1/2oz kastmasters the best. You can cast straight off the beach into the gut or wade out to the first sand bar and cast further. I do both depending on the weather. After dark I don't go in past my knees. :whistling: Spooks and topwater jigs work, saltwater powerbaits work good and I love fishbites. http://fishbites.com/ Iv'e had the best luck with the shrimp flavor, worst with the bloodworms. They will actually outfish fresh shrimp sometimes because a bite usually means a hookup. With shrimp, a bite often leads to an empty hook. If you know how to use a cast net, bring it with you. There are often huge schools of baitfish easily within throwing distance off the wash. I don't know how to throw one. Also don't be afraid to cast just out of the wash. I've caught fish literally at my feet.

Read the "how to read the surf" thread several times. I've been doing this for 7 years and still read it a week or two before I come down.

Like any kind of fishing, sometimes you catch a fish every cast and sometimes you sit for hours without a bite.
 

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Really appreciate all of the help first off. I unfortunately will not have a kayak with me and I definitely am not man enough to swim my bait out that far lol. Sounds like I sound go out and find a sandbar and cast in the gut right after the wave breaks, but if I can get it out past that first sandbar with a cast try and do that? I will probably buy a 10ft pole from walmart to try and get it out their farther too.

Question with bait fish as I have no knowledge and cant find any threads on this but what is the quickest most effective way to catch bait for shark? Up here I catch bluegills or cast net for shad. Is there a spot known to cast net easy for bait, or how should i go about catching these bait fish?

don't over think this... there are many sharks caught with the wal mart surf set ups. simply cast out as far as you can, and wait.... use a circle hook and there you go, with a wire leader...
 

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Discussion Starter #8
sounds like I should have things under control come June. I will definitely look at getting some more spoons though to catch baitfish instead of relying on just my cast net.
 

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Blowhard extrordinair
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Make sure you rinse everything off in slow moving water every day when you are done.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Ok that's a good heads up. Didn't even think about that.

When you use that bottom rig usually going with 3/0 or 4/0 circle hook?
 
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