Sharks – Get Even Time

Having caught and released my tarpon by 8:00 AM, we had continued fishing, hoping for another one! Two kings, two cut offs and one jackfish later we still hadn’t seen or hooked a tarpon.

The tarpon were in and cruising along the beachfront early in the summer of 1998 and Bob Baugh and I had decided to take a day off and go fish with Mike Williams, owner of Tarpon Express, and considered to be the best saltwater/tarpon guide in the Galveston Bay area. We hadn’t used a local guide before but figured he’d know about catching the tarpon, where they were, and most important, he was on the water every day.

By the time we met Mike at 69th Street and Seawall Boulevard, he had already picked up a supply of frozen cigar minnows, that we would be using that day for bait. He had made the decision for us not to use artificials since the tarpon were really spread out and hadn’t been hitting them for the past week. That’s exactly the reason we hired him!

Continuing to fish hard we were rewarded with two more kings and lost several more, kings or sharks, we couldn’t tell, since they had bitten through the eighty pound, mono, leaders.

After another cut off, I tied on a new “circle” hook, applied a cigar minnow and sent a long cast, looping out to the general area where I had just lost my rig. As soon as the bait hit the water, there was a sharp tug, a short run and airborne came a twisting, turning, black tip shark.

A long run, two more jumps and after a tug-of war, the four and a half foot, shark rolled over on its side beside the boat as Mike asked me, “If you want to keep this one, I’ll gaff it? Good eatin’!” Replying to the affirmative, he gaffed it, whacked it on the head with two good licks and laid it out on his cutting board. Cutting off the shark’s head, gutting and skinning it, he held up, probably, twenty pounds of shark ready to be sliced and grilled. The shark steaks were greatly, enjoyed!

Black tips, and most sharks, are terrific fighters, offer real sport and the guides now release all of them they catch.