Here is a report from a few years back where we were lucky enough to hookup with some guys from a local university and a surf fishing club in DE. Our job was to land as many Sand Tigers that we could for them to tag and it turns out the bite was HOT! Since then we had landed a tagged sand tiger but unfortunately the clipped on yellow portion of the tag had came off.
DISCLAIMER: Pulling protected sharks out of the water in Delaware is ILLEGAL. We were able to do this thanks to a permit for tagging that Delaware State University had obtained
So, last week after we got back from Delaware I received a phone call that they would need help catching sharks again for tagging but this time there was a possibility of a camera crew showing up. CJ and I agreed that we would be able to come down and got off work early on Friday so we were on the sand and prepared for when it was go time.
CJ was able to score some MONEY baits from the marina and the crew from Delaware Surf fishing had caught plenty of bluefish from the day before to keep the bait coolers filled all weekend. We were made aware the film crew had been on a boat all day filming and they would not be able to hang around for long so we prepped our rigs and bait and prepared for the long night ahead of us.
The researchers showed up and we learned that we were adding another step to the processing of these sharks. Not only are we acoustic tagging, APEX tagging, and DNA sample the Georgia Aquarium was with them and will be collecting blood samples from the sharks. Shortly after the film crew from Ocean Mysteries and Jeff Corwin showed up and it was time to get our fish on . Our big baits were getting played with for a good bit but CJ was able to land a nice sand tiger for the film crew on his spinning setup (cabelas spinning reel, 12′ ugly stick, 30lb braid, single strand bite leader, and a 6′ top shot of 130lb Jerry brown). This setup proved to be the bees knees as it continued to pull in sharkd ranging from 6-8′ for a good part of the night. The big baits also got picked up and landed more sand tigers for the team.
Shortly we had exhausted the research team and they wanted to head out. They asked us if we could stay until the next night so they could collect more DNA and blood samples for the sharks and of course we said yes. We continued fishing after the researchers left and nailed an easy 5 more sharks that night but releasing them as per Delaware regulations (in the water). We passed out from all the work we had put in only for me to shoot up in the middle of the night to my reel screaming bloody murder.
By the time I had gotten to the reel I had lost quite a lot of line so I think this fish had been on for at least 5 minutes running around the ocean unbeknownst to CJ or myself haha. After a good bit of winding I had finally gotten the glow stick back in and landed a Sand bar shark. Now most lines were in and it was time for us to get some shut eye.
We woke up with intentions to do a bit of fishing during the day but nothing too heavy as we would have to fish hard again when the research team showed up that night. Around mid day we put out a couple blue fish in hopes of finding another monster ray swimming the deep blue sea. I was lucky enough to be rewarded with my first large ray. This thing was by far one of the best pulling fish I have gone up to yet. I believe he was pulling at least 40lbs+ of drag and had me sitting back in my harness with the rod bowed up all pretty. Sadly I don’t think he was as big as the one from the weekend before and no where near the one we had in Florida.
We ended up landing a couple sharks during the day completely incognito with only the two camps directly beside us noticing we even had a shark in the wash. A ranger watched us as we released one of them in the water and told us that we did great job and that is how it should be done. We dont have any pictures of the legal releases as it was all hands on deck to get it done quickly and correctly. Come dark we were informed that the research team was no longer coming but it was already too late for us to travel home so we decided a relaxing night of fishing it would be.
After all said and done we tallied 25 sharks caught from Friday night – Saturday night. I was amazed that not a single one of these sharks were repeats! Between this trip and the last trip an easy 30+ sharks 6′-9′ landed and only 1 gut hook! It is really a testament to circle hooks as well as the blocker rig. Here are some photos from Rich King of Delaware Surf fishing as we were too busy helping the research team process these sharks to even touch a camera.
Video of the blood sample as well as our part of the release
Here are the details on the research http://www.desu.edu/news/dsu-research-focuses-sand-tiger-shark-conservation We were told that when the study is done each shark that we caught the info where and when this sharks ping the acoustic tags implanted… We really look forward to finding out about the sharks considering one was gut hooked and some were on the beach for almost 5 minutes (our part took only 30 seconds)
Keep an eye out for Ocean mysteries with Jeff Corwin on ABC Saturday mornings. They will have new episodes this fall and hopefully our footage makes the cut!
ALSO, HUGE shout out to Rich King with http://delaware-surf-fishing.com/ and his crew as we would not have been able to be apart of this project without him.