As all anglers know, there is one apex to contend with: the shark. In bodies of water that have shark populations, the predators can haunt a day of sport-fishing, and they can regularly be found in our Treasure Coast waters. Offshore, they hang especially by the reefs. Even in the flats, there’s a breed in particular that appears with more frequency—hammerhead sharks.
With piercing eyes and distinctive head shapes, they are majestic and peculiar looking creatures found locally. And they like to eat. I’ve seen the dreadful look that comes over an angler’s face when one of their distinguishing sickle-shaped dorsal fins breach the surface. The fisherman’s tarpon hook up was perfectly executed. The fight for the catch was exhilarating. But it’s time to pay the taxman. The catch is much easier to reel in now, but dang, there’s nothing left on the end except for the gills and head of your devoured prize.
On the flip side, it’s becoming increasingly popular to target sharks. Kayaks are utilized to drop bait out further from the shoreline, reels are heartier, and rods are built for the fight. The reciprocal is a shark’s ability to fight until there is no fight left when it’s hooked. It will die. To ensure a safe return, have a dehooker ready at all times, and keep your hands as far away from the mouth as possible. Keep the shark in the water to release.
Sharks usually win, but anglers targeting sharks are bringing heavy artillery. However, this has been proven detrimental to the health of shark populations. Be mindful of how you are personally affecting the chain when you haphazardly land that majestic creature.