Sunday Aaron and I returned to our shark fishing endeavor, looking for a rematch against the local lemon and blacktip shark population.
We began where last week we had found the large group of jack crevalle. This stop was not very productive, though we did manage to capture a single jack for additional bait, a strange contrast from the giant schools of jacks that populated the area the week prior.
We soon left this area to return to where we had found the large lemon sharks (and even managed to hook two) the week before. While the wind wasn’t exactly perfect for our desired drift, we put the chum into the water, rigged a teaser bait, and set out to get it done.
Within 20 minutes, a large lemon shark came in to the slick but didn’t tease. Soon after, another large lemon arrived and this one (perhaps due to the perceived competition from the first fish) led to an aggressive tease and subsequent bite. I set the hook and cleared the line, and the fish raced off. Aaron fired up the motor and gave chase: our goal this time, as it had been the week before, was to capture a large shark and pull it into the boat for a visit and some photographs before releasing it. The fish broke off about 10 minutes in to the fight, however, and we returned to the area we had hooked it and began our drift once again.
We didn’t see much for about 20 minutes, and Aaron was holding his camera when the first shark showed up. I grabbed the teaser rod, and in quick succession teased two large lemon sharks. Aaron snapped the following photos:
Either would have presented a good fly rod shot, and I quickly grabbed the rod to attempt a capture. Oddly, the lemon sharks were gone. It took us a while to see what caused their disappearance: a large bull shark had taken up residence in the periphery of our chum slick, and he was large enough (and full of enough testosterone) to keep the other smaller lemon sharks away:
For the next half mile he stayed with us, never teasing in for a shot but also never leaving the slick. The lemon sharks didn’t return, and while we continued to try to get the bull shark to play ball he would always turn away before we could get him to track the butterflied blue runner we were dragging behind us.
Eventually we drifted over a channel, at which point the bull shark decided to commit. Aaron soon had him on tracks behind the bait. I cast the fly, and though the shark interested, he was so enthusiastic that he missed the fly. Before I could pick up to re-cast, he found the bait next to the boat and promptly ate it. Even though Aaron got the bait back before it was swallowed, the shark went back to its old behavior and we were left once again with nothing more than a large shadow in our slick that wouldn’t play ball.
Following this we attempted a second drift over the same area. We only had one shot this time, and we believed it to be a result of the confusing multiple scent trails we had by that point left.
We moved after this drift, seeking a blacktip in a nearby channel. This didn’t work out very well; while we saw a pair of blacktips that teased decently we did not feed either the fly before they disappeared.
We finished the day in another nearby basin, playing with the one blacktip that found us: all 10 pounds of him. At 5 PM we called it a day, fishless once again, and already have hatched some tentative plans to get out again next Monday.