by Capt. James Marko
You’ve always heard of the black tip migration that happens on the East Coast, but no one talks about the shark migration here on our West Coast. Over the past month, I’ve tagged and released over 100 sharks. They vary between the same four species; blacktip spinner, sandbar, and bull shark. These guys make an exciting time for my clients! There’ve been days that we’ve hooked into 14 different sharks in a 2-hour span and the actual hook-up took less then 3 seconds. My clients have had the awesome opportunity to catch and release three separate world record class sharks! It was extremely rewarding to have three world record sharks swim off with my tags on them, knowing that someday I’ll have an opportunity to catch that fish again and see how much mass it’s truly gained since the first time we met.
Shark fishing can be a lot of fun, but it does add an edginess from time to time. They have a lot of teeth; some people forget this. Take extreme precautions when shark fishing. I do agree with the shark regulations handed down by the state this past month, I don’t think it’s smart to be luring sharks to the beach where there are active swimmers. A lot of my shark fishing is done from 4 to 7 miles offshore along ledges. Once you find the migration it’s pretty simple to follow it over the next 6-8 weeks to have an opportunity to experience amazing drag screams. The other thing a lot of people don’t talk about with this migration is the number of active spinners and blacktip sharks. If you ever hooked into either of these species with your drag tightened down, you’ve seen the sharks totally breach the water and do torpedo like moves in the air. I don’t care who you are, seeing 5’-7’ sharks flying out of the water is a jaw dropping experience. I do believe in catching and safely releasing all my shark catches; it’s extremely rare that we actually go on my boat to catch fish to eat. Not that I’m against it I just know this is my career and I want to have the opportunity to continue to chase these fish over the next decades. Go catch a bunch of pinfish, let them suffocate, go about 4 miles the 7 miles offshore and find a ledge, then slowly chum those dead pinfish. I’ll cut them in half and constantly slow drop them. I’ll have 2 dead ones free-lined behind the boat. I know that sounds funny; usually you think when shark fishing you need a huge bait and all these guts and blood. But from all the experiences that I’ve had with successful shark fishing, small bait catches a big fish.