Sharking Off Block Island
By: Peter Kane
I just could not resist writing
about a trip I made recently with a friend. A bit unusual for
me as most of my fishing turns out to be business with the satisfaction
of my customers first and foremost in mind. This, however, was
an opportunity that I could not resist. Both Don and I had Sunday
and Monday off during the second week of August and thought it
would be a good experience to travel offshore south of Block Island,
Rhode Island. There were things I wanted to experience for the
first time without having paying customers on board. If it did
not work or followed "Murphy's Law" we were the only ones to know.
"Osprey" is docked at Cedar Island
Marina in Clinton, Ct. and we arrived about 4pm on Sunday. After
shopping for food, bait and assorted tackle the time had gotten
to be around seven in the evening. The weather was good and Osprey
is well equipped with electronic navigation gear so off we were
to our first destination, Montauk.
entrance to Lake Montauk is about twenty six nautical miles from
the end of the breakwater at Clinton; a trip that takes a good
hour. Just past Plum Gut we spotted a large number of birds working
the surface with blues splashing all over the place. This was
a great opportunity to pick up some shark bait for the next morning.
After a number of casts into the turmoil with diamond jigs we
boated a dozen or so bluefish.
By this time it was dark and I had to rely on
my GPS and radar to get me to Montauk. Even without it on that
clear evening it would have been easy as Montauk Light could be
seen off in the distance. The red and green lights on the break
walls can be easily seen as well on the approach to the harbor
and without any problems at all we were tied up for the night
at Star Island Marina. I might mention that arriving after nine
on a Sunday night presents a bit of a problem. The only marina
we could reach on the VHF was Star Island and once settled in
we had a difficult time finding a cold beer and dinner. If we
had wanted, a cab was available to town or the other side of the
harbor where, we were told, an ample number of pubs and restaurants
were still open. The alarm was set for four the next morning and
we both anticipated a great day on the water.
It was a clear and calm morning and as Don took
the helm and headed us out of the harbor I made coffee and plotted
a course to our destination. The trip would take about two hours
and place us about twenty miles south-east of Block As we proceeded
past Montauk Point I could see the remains of the front that had
passed on Saturday. We actually caught up with it and for the
first few hours had overcast skies and a bit of a chop at our
point of destination.
Three lines were set as we drifted.
Each was a Penn Tuna Stick with a Shimano TLD 25 wound with 80lb.
mono. They had a 36 inch wire leader with a shark hook and were
baited with whole mackerel (we did try the bluefish but actually
had better luck with the mackerel). One was weighted with a 10oz.
sinker and kept deep, the other two had balloons and the depths
were within twenty feet of each other.
set a frozen bucket of bunker chum upside down in a plastic milk
carton and suspended it off the transom so it just caught each wave.
This produce a slow release of the contents in a very effective
chum line. As we waited patiently for sharks to approach we noticed
that there was something picking up the mackerel and running with
it - nothing real big as it could not be hooked on the size hooks
we were using. After a while one did get caught and it turned out
to be a Mahi Mahi (Dorado). We broke out the spinning gear and cut
chunks of mackerel and had loads of fun catching these great eating
"Shannon from Cedar Island
Marina with a Mako"
Then "they" showed up! Sharks. Lots of them with
their dorsal fins and tails breaking the surface all along the
chum line. The anticipation of watching them circle the chum line
and slowly approach the boat was a first for me and it was great.
Don was the first to hook up with a small Mako. It gave him a
fight, but not what we would have anticipated - but then again
it was only about four feet.
Just after Don had landed his fish another line
sang out. I picked up the rod and slammed the hook home and off
went the line. I thought I was going to get spooled. At least
a hundred yards ran off before I could gain a little. I do mean
a little! It took me three hours to get a twelve foot blue shark
to the boat. After measuring it we cut the leader and allowed
it to swim off.
At one point there were half a dozen or more sharks
directly around Osprey and we had to lift the chum out of the
water to prevent more from showing up and perhaps cutting the
line my shark was on.
The trip was great and the experience
gained was well worth it.