Everything That You Wanted To Know About Shark Fishing But Didn’t Know To Ask

As a charter captain, I make a living taking people fishing. I don’t really care what species they want to catch; I fish for them all. One common thread amongst fishermen is “I want to catch something big!”

Is this big enough? It’s almost 16 feet long and weighed 560#!
Hooking something like this is one thing….landing it is another story altogether. Not getting killed getting it in the boat is a skill. Releasing big sharks is where having experience and a really broad comfort zone comes in handy.

Let’s talk about releasing sharks today, as most of the shark fishing we do is catch-and-release. Rule Number One: Don’t get killed. Don’t get maimed. Don’t get wrapped up and pulled overboard. Be as kind to the released shark as possible. Catch him again sometime. Get some experience with someone who is good at it before going out on your own. Being comfortable wiring a shark to the boat is important. YOU ARE THE QUARTERBACK. You call the shots. The angler is an extension of your mind. If you remember only one thing make it this: The battle isn’t over until the shark swims away and the line is back in the boat.

Do not relax, nor let the angler relax, until that happens. So often the leaderman grabs the snap-swivel and the angler high-fives someone, relaxing. Celebrating. Wrong! The second that the wireman grabs the line, the angler should back off on the drag a little (lever drag is best) and get the rod away from his body, keeping the line tight from the rod tip to the wireman’s hand. I scream when I feel slack line hit my hand, arm, or head. If that shark runs away before we can cut it, that slack line can wrap around a body part and be deadly.

This is the most dangerous part of the battle. I tell the angler and wire cutting mate the following: “If the shark goes nuts after I grab the line, I may yell ‘NO’ and throw the wire away from me and let the shark swim away. We can always reel it back in. Not a big deal. We’re going to release it anyways and it’s all about the battle. It’s better to tire the shark out on the rod, away from the boat than to deal with an angry shark boatside where it can do some real damage.

This leads me to the following observation: “If I can keep its head above its tail, I can control the shark.” The second that he shark goes horizontal or gets its tail above its head it is time to throw the line in and start over. You will be amazed at how fast a shark can whip its tail around and hurt you.

It’s all about the rigging. We fish primarily with “Makaira 50’s and 50-wides”. Our mainline is 100# Tuf-Line and we put 500-700 yards on the spool and top it with approximately 150-200 yards of 80 or 100# mono. (we do a lot of Bluefin tuna fishing and the line reflects the possibility of hooking into a giant, giant tuna…so we want line capacity and power…a 500 pound tuna is not a 500 pound shark…it’ll take 800 yards of line against 40 pounds of drag without stopping.. the extra line buys us time to clear the deck and chase a fish like that.)

But I digress. We end our topshot with a bimini twist to which we attach a 20-foot long wind-on leader of 400# mono. We have this so we can reel the shark right to the wire leader. It is the safest way to do it. WE NEVER WRAP LEADER AROUND A GLOVE. EVER. We end the windon leader with a 4/0 snap-swivel. It’s a huge snap-swivel and to that we connect an 8’ single strand 174-195# wire leader attached to a 16/0 circle hook.
We use this rigging for the following reason. The wire man grabs the snap-swivel with one hand (it’s big enough to grip) and the wire rests on his other (gloved as well, obviously) hand. Lifting with one hand and using the other hand in this manner “eats” up about 4 feet of leader. The shark will be right below the lower hand…

The “cutting” person can then easily slide a pair of wire cutters straight down the wire to the shark’s jaws (or until he gets too spooked) where he can easily cut the wire. Biologists have told me than non-stainless hooks rust out within a couple of weeks. Since circle hooks penetrate the corner of the mouth 95%+ of the time, the sharks leave with a temporary piercing and are not much worse for the wear.

We also do a lot of sight fishing.. This is where we bring out the spinning gear. We use the same gear that we’d use for tuna, but we use 100-150# windon leaders and a shorter wire leader to allow for casting of baits. Of course, you can’t cast wire through the eyes, so that’s the reason for the shorter leader. When we’re casting at sharks… we use “breakaway” hooks. I prefer using 4/0 closed eye Siwash hooks from Gamakatsu.

I’ve never broken a hook on a shark UNTIL I WANTED TO… That is to say, they are very sharp hooks that hold well…so you set the hook immediately when the shark takes the bait. Using up to 20 pounds of drag, I have yet to bend one of those hooks. However, when we get the sharks boatside, the leaderman is able to grab the snap-swivel and can pull on the wire leader, bending the hook out of the shark’s mouth in one quick, relatively easy motion. If you are fishing without a mate or with inexperienced anglers, this is a great way to do it. It’s very safe and minimizes exposure to the sharks boatside. If the hook is straightened out, you can put it back in shape with a pair of pliers. Of course, it’ll weaken after a couple of sharks, but you’re going to release them anyways, so what’s the big deal if the hook breaks on a shark you’re going to release anyways?

We typically catch blue sharks in Massachusetts. North of Cape Cod, they are typically 225-300#, while they are a bit smaller south of Cape Cod. We have caught them approaching 500#. They are real monsters at that size. Catching 10-25 sharks in a day is quite typical, so we have a lot of experience catching, fighting, and releasing these sharks. Because it is a catch-and-release fishery for the most part, making sure that they survive the battle is important, thus the use of circle hooks. Keep following for the next shark fishing article: “What to do if you’re going to keep and eat a shark…”.

See you on the water! If you’re interested in fishing Massachusetts for sharks, tuna, stripers, or any other fish, take a look at us at www.blackrosefishing.com or call Capt. Rich Antonino at 508-269-1882. His email is captain@blackrosefishing.com and he is able to answer any questions that you may have about shark fishing, fishing in general, or Okuma fishing gear.

Okuma Makaira Slays 537-lb. Gulf of Mexico Bluefin Tuna

Here’s an awesome report we got recently on a big fish catch:

Hey guys,

 I thought I would share this with you…

See the attached pictures.  We caught this 537 pound Gulf of Mexico Bluefin Tuna 5.1.15 on an Okuma Makaira 50W with a stand-up harness.

Bluefin are rarely hooked in the Gulf and almost never landed because of the deep water they have access to allows them to spool almost every reel they encounter.  My Mak 50WII reel has about 800 yards of braid on the bottom and it took us down to a very narrow spool a few times.  Towards the end of the fight it was putting out 35 lbs. of drag and we later measured 46 lbs. when it was being winched up to the surface after it died.  The reel performed flawlessly and my friend did an awesome job fighting this thing stand-up on a relatively small reel.  We had some transmission problems so we had to walk the rod around the outriggers to the bow and fought the fish there for 45 minutes or so.  The fish was literally putting the stationary boat and we watched the line pour off the reel as there was nothing we could do.  Finally, we got the boat moving again and walked it back to the stern where the captain chased the fish and it eventually died about 3.5 hours in.  We flipped the adjust-a-butt to the bent butt position and winched the fish up in low gear inch by inch for the next hour because there was so much pressure on the line.

Finally, after dark, we saw the tail wrapped fish and pulled the beast through the door!  At the end of the fight, the drag was still silky smooth.  I was very impressed with the Makaira’s performance.  I have some other local Texas Captains buying some Makairas after they got word of this.  I will be buying some more soon but I may need a few 80WII for next year!

Capt. Clayton Meis


8-year-old Fishes First Tournament With Dad

Here’s a feel good read from Okuma Pro Staffer Anthony Hunt:

My name is Anthony Hunt, 5-Star Chef and FLW Tournament Angler. My days are spent cooking, parenting and practicing for tournaments everyday. I’m a father of 3 boys and one baby girl. Turns out my 8-yr-old Marlei just happens to be in love with tournament bass fishing. I wonder why?  From the age of 5 Marlei has been asking to fish, as he says, in “Big Boy Tournaments”. Something we dream about doing together 5oz(Dad) and 2.5oz (son) – the hunt tag team.

Fast forward to 2015  and our dream came true. We fished our first tournament at Holiday Park Florida in the King Of The Glades Tournament Team Trail. I had to set up a phone conference with the tournament and sign legal paper work for this to happen. After all he’s only 8-yrs-old! So we get confirmed and we are so pumped – its Game time!

Our practice was flawless and our game plan was simple: just go fishing. I told Marlei to fish his favorite Lures, of course he picks up a Gary Yamamoto 5” Black Kut Tail Worm Shaky Head and D-Shads. To be completely honest Marlei helped us find most of our big feeding fish spots fishing his strengths. It’s so important to let young anglers evolve into the anglers they are destined to be.

We spent most of the night rigging all 21 of our Okuma rod and reels. It’s 1:00 am and we had a 5:00 am wake up time, but that didn’t matter to Marlei. So the alarm never sounds off for me, because I was greeted by a living alarm called Marlei Hunt. “Dad, Dad, Dad, Dad wake up wake up!” Mind you, he was fully dressed. He definitely has the Bass Bug.

So as we pull up to the boat ramp, I notice all the anglers just couldn’t stop looking at us. Most were really impressed and excited Marlei was fishing his first “big boy” tournament. I just couldn’t stop smiling. If you have kids you’d know what I’m feeling.

We are boat 36 and we run to our first spot, nothing. Second spot, bingo! We caught a ton of keepers, just not much size. Out of 60 boats I think we finished in the top 20. Marlei was satisfied with our finish despite the 8-lb.+ bass he lost at the boat. So it looks like we are Tournament Partners already and I’m a Happy Daddy.

I would like to take this time to address the fathers or mothers who are wanting and are actively fishing with their kids. Some things to keep in mind if you want to keep them as fishing partners.

1. Keep soccer daddy or mom locked up. I stopped  myself from being that guy. It sucks for our kids when its about how much you want them too be you overnight. It isn’t going to happen on your pace for them. Shut up and let your kids enjoy and have fun.

2. When they ask you more than once to go home, go! Think about it, how is your kid going to understand fishing when you’re having all the fun hunting for big Momma and the fish are not biting fast enough for them. Take them home and let them play something else , and thank them for going fishing. Even though later on down the line they’ll honor the times you took them, build the memory and that’s how you make them fall in love with the sport. Trust me Marlei remembers everything: “Hey Dad do you remember the time you caught the orange and red Snuffaluffagus from under the brown dock daddy? Huh huh? So I’m like “Yeah man I do, lets go try to catch another one!”

I love fishing with my son, more than anyone. I didn’t have a dad to take me fishing, so this is extra special for me. I know one thing fishing at an early age literally saved my life and kept me off the streets.

Anthony Hunt aka 5oz.

Team Okuma Midwest Walleye Anglers Excel Across The Board

When we released the Dead Eye product line, we understood that entering this arena would take time. Fact is, a number of manufacturers were operating within the community and delivering consumers serviceable product.

Team Okuma Midwest Captain Mick Broughton with a couple dandy fish.

Okuma Fishing Tackle shares characteristics with just a handful of these “manufacturers”, the ones that own and operate their own factories. When we enter a market we define angler needs and market opportunities, then construct product from the ground up. We work in the region and bring forward-thinking concepts to life. With a world-wide team of engineers, we embrace projects to elevate performance, inspire participation and deconstruct barriers between anglers and top-end tackle. Dead Eye rods and spinning reels, ultra-light yet supremely strong RTX spinning reels, crossover-construction Trio spinning reels, Cold Water Low-Profile Line Counters are all new and relatively new concepts in our product line.  While “new” is the lifeblood of fishing lures and rigs, new hard goods take visionary leaders to adopt and demonstrate performance.In the world of Okuma walleye, 2015 has been a game-changing year. A few years ago, visionary anglers noticed the product, tried it and created momentum. Confidence in both technique and product grew. And now this year, the tournament wins are rolling in.


Ali Shakoor, winner, AIM Walleye Series

Ali Shakoor and partner hoist their winning fish.

Bill Sutton, Minnesota NWT tournament winner.

Zak Jobes, winner, AIM Walleye Series

Zak Jobes and Josh Wells, winners, Lake Erie Walleye Trail


As results continue to prove performance on the water we’re proud to welcome superior anglers like Mick Broughton, Todd Shirkman, Dan Hassevoort, Logan Spanel, Brian Woodard and Chuck Holub to our Midwest Teams. They come for inspired design and winning performance, today, tomorrow and the years ahead.

The hits keep coming as Dan Haeevoort hoists a couple beauties.

Some details from the anglers on recent wins…

Okuma Pro Staffer Bill Sutton bested a field of 126 of the countries best walleye anglers at the Cabelas National Walleye Tour opener May 7th and 8th in Lake City Minnesota. Using the Okuma Dead Eye bottom bouncer rods coupled with the Cold Water series line counter he was able to lead wire to wire and bring in a two day total of 46.58 lbs for the win. “A big key in this win was the performance of the Okuma Deadeye rods I was using, these big fish in current can be difficult to land but the rod made it much easier. The bottom bouncer rods, which is what I used, has excellent back bone yet a soft tip to withstand the head shakes and runs these walleye were taking”.
During the last day of pre-fishing sutton located his fish jigging with the Dead Eye jigging rods, “the sensitivity in these rods is exceptional.” His best fish, however, came live bait rigging a combination of leeches, crawlers and chubs.

Bill Sutton brought home a win on the National Walleye Tour. A massive accomplishment for any angler.

“We were fishing in a very snaggy area of a back channel using a three way rig with pencil weight droppers, Matzuo rip & roll and sickle hooks on our rigs. I quickly figured out that the best way to catch these fish was by leaving the rod in the holder, I think our normal reaction is to yank on the rod to quickly. By leaving it in the holder the weight would get stuck then spring forward and lot of times trigger a bite. If I had the rod in hand the tendency is to pull it free to quickly. Fellow Okuma Pro Staff member Dan Hassevoort was huge in helping to figure out this slight variance to traditional live bait rigging.”

Here’s a look into the decision making of Zak Jobes and his tournament partners…

AIM Weekend Walleye Series, Detroit River

April 19, 2015

The event was an incredible win for tournament partner Max Wilson and myself. After fishing the Cabela’s MWC and placing 20th we told each other we were just going to go out and have a fun day on the river. The AIM Weekend Walleye Series is a unique tournament circuit that uses a catch, record, release format. In other words when an angler catches a fish they photograph it, record the length in inches, and release the fish immediately. The fish’s length is then converted into weight based on the AIM conversion scale.

We knew from going into this event that the big female walleye we needed to win were spawning and then leaving the river in a hurry. We concentrated on the lower part of the river on the Canadian side within sight of the lake. During practice we had found that the key was getting the bigger fish early which is exactly what we did on this day. We had 4 fish over 28 inches by 10:30 am. We were lucky enough to weight 5 fish with a converted weight of 52.02 pounds and take the victory by less than .5 pounds. The smallest fish on our scorecard for the day was 28.5 inches in length.

The first key to success was a Lance Valentine Signature Series jig in chartreuse color tipped with a black and silver flake Wyandotte worm and stinger hook. Vertical jigging our presentation in 12-21 feet of water and finding the transition from hard rock to soft mud bottom seemed to be best. The second key was my Okuma Dead Eye 6 foot jigging rod and Trio 20 reel.  We spooled our Trio reels with 8 pound Berkley Fireline Crystal which allowed us to feel our jig bumping bottom and dial in the correct jigging cadence to trigger the bigger fish. The Dead Eye jigging rod has a soft enough tip to allow me to target the hard bottom to mud transition but enough back bone to get these giant walleye to the boat.

Lake Erie Walleye Trail, “Ole Pete” Memorial, Sandusky, Ohio

May 16, 2015

Jobes and Wells executed on a solid game plan to win.

After a solid 6th finish in the previous LEWT event tournament partner Josh Wells and myself put a lot of effort into this event to try to make a run at the prestigious LEWT team of the year and knock out challenge champion. On the Thursday before the event we found an active pod of massive Lake Erie walleye on a contour northwest of Lorain in 39-41 feet of water.  A quick pass Friday in this same spot Friday proved to us that this was the spot that had the potential winning fish for the tournament.

On the day of the tournament we were greeted with cloudy skies and a light south wind which was perfect conditions for our 25 mile run to the fishing grounds. Our presentation was Reef Runner 800s in brown perch, trolled at a speed of 1.3-1.6 mph. Most of the fish seemed to be very close to bottom so to get our presentations deeper we used a 2 oz. snap weight 30-feet above the lure. We ran our presentations 90 to 95 feet behind our planer boards putting them within 3 to 5 feet of the bottom. When fish are deep, putting snap weights ahead of your crank bait can be a very effective way to get your bait down deeper.

By 10:30am Josh and I had well over 40-pounds of fish for our best 5 fish. We knew with the caliber of anglers in this event that we would need more than just 40 pounds if we wanted to win the event. After catching over 20 fish in the 5-8 pound range we were blessed with two 10-pound upgrades that allowed us to cull two 8.5-pound fish. We knew we had a great bag of fish heading to the scales but had no clue our best five fish totaled 48.75 pounds. Our fish were indeed good enough for first place, besting the second place team by over 8-pounds.

I can honestly say that this massive bag of walleyes would not have been possible without my 8’6” Okuma Dead Eye rod teamed with an Okuma Coldwater reel. The Dead Eye rod is actually a bottom bouncer action that I have converted into my planer board rod. The great thing about this rod is it has a stiff back bone and a very soft tip which is crucial when you are fighting giant Lake Erie walleye to the boat. The core of the Coldwater reel is a smooth drag. When a big fish makes a run to get away from the boat it allows the hooks to stay in the fish. For me it’s a confidence thing and with my Okuma Dead Eye rods and Coldwater reels put more fish in the boat.

The win allowed Josh and I to advance to the “final four” in the LEWT knockout challenge and put us in second place for team of the year just 4 points from the lead going into the championship. Be sure to stay up to date on the Team Okuma Midwest Facebook page about the Okuma Midwest team along with product information.