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Thread: Shark fishing out of Key West

  1. #1
    Just starting out

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    Default Shark fishing out of Key West

    Hello everyone, I'm going to key west at the end of November with some family to do some shark fishing. For costs purposes we are renting our own watercraft and supplying it. I'm used to great lakes fishing and some salmon fishing on the west coast, and don't have too much shark fishing experience. So...I'm looking for some basic advice concerning tackle, bait and tactics used for shark fishing in the keys.

    Much appreciated,

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  3. #2
    Getting the hang of it

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    I fish from bridges in the Keys...and only hooked 2 sharks that were broken off, and landed 1 Nurse Shark.

    However, I've learned quite a bit...just that much of what I learned is a bit difficult to apply from fishing on bridges...

    1) Channels and cuts are good areas to intercept sharks.

    2) You want to be upcurrent of the sharks. Sometimes, you can pattern areas where the sharks will hold in between tides, and they will always move upcurrent to search for the scent trail as they look for food.

    3) Single strand wire leader...avoid multi-strand leader. Plus a haywire twist is easier and doesn't require crimps and crimper. Multi-strand wire is prone to shredding. Length of wire doesn't need to be too long...2-3 feet should be enough. You just need it as long as it is wider than the width of the jaw. Tackle shop guys told me 80lb or even 60lb is enough for Blacktips...but I would probably not go under 100lbs.

    4) You need an abrasion leader. This leader should be as long, or longer, than the sharks you intend to target. It is to prevent abrasion from the rough skin of the shark wearing through the line, and especially to prevent the shark tail from whipping, wearing and breaking your line. That's why it needs to be as long or longer than the shark you expect to catch. 250lb mono or weed eater line is a good start for bigger sharks. 100lb is probably OK for medium sharks. You'll need to double crimp the ends.

    5) Reel with capacity. Depending on the size of the shark, at least 300-400 yards if not more. On a boat, you can chase them a bit, so capacity isn't as much an issue as landbased shark fishing. You're probably looking at 6/0 as the smallest if you are after medium size shark. For bigger sharks, 12/0 or larger. But I caught my 7' Nurse Shark on a 4500B Baitrunner...granted...Nurse Shark doesn't run as fast or as far as other sharks.

    6) Shorter rods give you better leverage...but depends on your fighting style. You want at least 60-100lb class rod to start with medium sharks.

    7) Chum...lots and lots and lots of chum. That's one thing we can't do on a bridge...break your back walking a whole drum of chum out onto the bridge. As you know, bloody is good.

    8) Oily bait. For Blacktip and Spinner Shark, even big Threadfin Herring will will Ballyhoo...and Mullet. Bigger Sharks, you would want Bonito, Jack Crevalle, Amberjack, or Barracuda. You can use these larger baits as chunks or steaks for the smaller sharks too. Big Sharks love Stingrays. I saw people use a whole wing of a 30lb Cownose Ray as bait.

    That's all I've picked up talking to people on the bridges in the Keys...and I've tried some of it when possible with just a little success. But I can't spend enough time in Florida to really learn it and put it all into practice.
    Last edited by MuskieBait; October 26th, 2016 at 01:17 AM.

  4. #3

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    I went for sharks off Key West a few years ago, we used cut mackerel with a wire leader and balloons as floats. It was guided and I do not recall the exact location but was in shallows (about 15 fow) not far from the marina. The day prior we had gone out for Tuna between Florida and Cuba, we got enough meat to pay for the trip.
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  5. #4
    Just starting out

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    Much appreciated Guys, thanks for the info.

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