Sharking Off Block Island
By: Peter Kane
Click Here To Visit The Osprey Marine Website!
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.

The 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.

Mako Shark!We 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 fish.

"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.

-Peter Kane