Posts Tagged ‘Hammerhead’

Saturday, July 16, 2016

This past weekend the surf and tide lined up nicely for an early morning fishing trip. I met my brother-in-law and a work friend out there. Our families joined us later.
The Lord painted a beautiful sunrise on a thunderhead west of us. Thankfully, the thunder stayed there.

Once the shrimp poles were in the water, I undertook getting the shark poles ready. Thankfully, I had some bonito fish-sicle with me from a previous weekend trolling trip, because the non-sicle fish weren’t interested in my shrimp offering.

For my big bait caster, I cut the bonitos in two, putting the smaller butt piece on a hook and the bigger head portion on the other hook. The bonitos itself was large, well over twenty inches, so I went back and forth about using the whole thing. I decide go big or go home! I used a kayak to drop the bait into the gulf one hundred and fifty yards from shore.

I returned to slow fishing. The shark poles sat quietly. The dolphins put on a show for us. We did catch one small blue runner. Eh. At least we weren’t going to be skunked.
At 9am, the big bait caster whispered, “click, click, click”. I picked it up. Everything went silent for a few painful moments. I felt a few tugs and then the drag screamed. It felt like I had hooked into a speeding train. The line was flying and I feared the fish would spool me. I tightened the drag as tight as I could and the fish just kept going. I tried to pinch the bail with my finger but couldn’t hold it and burned my finger in the process. I put all my strength into turning the fish around. I have never seen the shark pole bend like it did then.

Eventually, it took all of my line (over 300 yards worth). I looked in the bail and saw the end of the line tied around the internal metal rod. The fish continued to pull and miraculously the line didn’t snap. With my friends’ help, I ran forward to the shoreline to try to gain some line. I got a little back. I walked backward and then ran forward to gain more. Slowly I gained the upper hand.
After an intense 30 minute battle, there wasn’t much fight left in the fish. I felt a few head shakes but no more train runs. That made me think I had hooked into a giant stingray. About 15 minutes later the fish was close enough to shore to glimpse. I didn’t see a shark dorsal fin but did see a lot of white underbelly, so I really thought it was a stingray. It came nearer to shore and showed its true colors – a fowl hooked hammerhead shark!

We landed the worn out beast. One hook was loosely hooked through a belly fin. I think it was initially hooked correctly but the hook came lose and ended up in that fin right before it gave me the fight of my life. I would have thought it was dead on shore except for a little blink from an eye at the end of its shovel head. Then I saw the gills moving. We quickly captured a few pictures and then I escorted my catch back into the gulf.




Fowl hooked


Measuring 7’2” head to base of tail


Picking up the beast


Snuggling a hammerhead


The beast, my baby and me


Catch and release