by Carl Hyland
Specifically targeting sharks can be a very worthwhile exercise if fishing from the beach. Tackle need not be expensive and the rewards can well be worth either getting wet or cold for.
In this part, we talk about rigs what has worked best for me plus look at some footage of large shark’s being taken from the beach.
This is an activity that can be done with the whole family and great action can be had not only during daylight hours but of an evening with perhaps a fire on the beach (check local regulations).
Rigs are simple…..forget all your expensive lines and traces, simple rigs like the ones explained in this video are great and you can even simplify that further by buying materials in bulk and manufacturing a heap of rigs in advance.
Of course we all know that hooks or the incorrect use of hooks can be the difference between taking home flake for dinner or going home with an empty bag. I don’t go past circle hooks and the larger the better when off the beach. Circle hooks, as I have explained in previous writings, are just starting to take off in the Island state and boy, they are the bees’ knees. My hook up rate has increased plus my loss rate at hookup has declined and I can also get way without using a wire trace sometimes as the hook only penetrates the side of the mouth and misses and teeth that happen to be in the way. As I also said, my target species is gummy shark, but occasionally, I come across seven gilled shark or school shark close inshore(usually on the night of full moon).
Circle Hooks are great!
Rigs for sharks with teeth vary from angler to angler but a simple wire with a swivel is all that is required. If you don’t use a swivel, you stand losing any fish you catch in the surf as this is where they tend to go ballistic and like a crocodile, do a death roll, over and over. A swivel obviously takes the tension from the trace plus allows a little give in your rigs.
A trace is essential if chasing shark with teeth.
One aspect of a shark rig or any surf rig that is overlooked is the anchoring weight or sinker. I prefer to use a sand sinker with spikes as they do prevent the rig from rolling around thus adding to tangles. Where you are fishing may be relatively calm or behind the surf zone, but I can guarantee your rig will be on the move. A ball sinker will move your bait around, to the point it may become dislodged or even erode through traces resulting in abrasion to mono and the loss of the rig. A spiked sinker will stop this and keep your bait in one spot. With baits I prefer to wrap mine in bait mate (hat elastic) or a finger bandage. Yep that’s right. A whole pilchard will last a lot longer is wrapped up like a finger with a tube gauze wrapped around it. This not only prevents sea lice removing the bait (and they can strip bait in minutes) but also adds a bit of life to your bait and entices big fish to the location.
Sand sinker with spikes.
I also recommend a hand gaff as it makes for handling of any fish easier in the surf. A simple one can be made with a small diameter stainless bar and you may be able to get a mate to weld a cross handle on it for you. Mine is invaluable as not only do I use it for sharks on the beach but I also use it as a flying gaff in the boat. This can also keep you away from the pointy end if need be.
The author with a seven gilled shark from the beach.
Next week, we shall look at locations and 'hot spots' for gummy and other sharks along the coastline of Tasmania.