I’ve sharked the surf longer than I can remember, and I’ve never seen a shark blitz like this in the suds. This monster mash occurred a few days ago in October off Cape Lookout in North Carolina’s Outer Banks.
It appears that a smorgasbord of baitfish—could be mullet, or even schools of redfish or bluefish—got pinned into the sands by what appear to be either sandbar (brown), bull, or blacktip sharks. Usually, surf sharking is done at dusk or on the night shift, and its unusual to see the sharks feeding so aggressively in the surf during what appears to be afternoon hours.
If all this action is giving you the itch to tackle sharks from the surf, go big and chum heavy. Back in the day, I used to paddle a surfboard out at midnight with a live bunker in my mouth to get the baits out far. But simply chumming with cut menhaden, bluefish or mackerel chunks sent out with a slingshot or cut off wiffleball bat will get the scent in the water and wafting out to attract the beasts. This can even bringing them as close as these sharks are to the shore. And in the event of a feeding frenzy like this one, no need to put the chum out…
You can take care of the 50- to 150-pounders from the shoreline with heavy rods and reels. Use 12 foot conventional or spinning surf sticks, matched with reels like the 9500 class spinning reel, a Penn Mag 525, or an Abu 6000 CTI conventional reel. These should be spooled with 65-pound braided line and a 130-pound monofilament shock leader with a 10/0 Gamakatsu Big River. Larger predators need the big boy equipment, with 50-class reels and stand up rods, although that means you must kayak your baits out into the appropriate zone.
Surf sharking offers up big game opportunity, even with your feet planted in the sand. It can be done from most any shoreline in the continental US, with the East and Gulf Coasts designated prime time zones.
And some day, if you’re lucky, you might witness a scene like this one.
The author and Mickey Melchindo hold up a surf-caught Jersey brown shark.