By DAVE MISTRETTA
© St. Petersburg Times
published April 10, 2003
Water temperatures are rising, attracting large sharks to the area. Every day this week, a shark either has devoured a hooked kingfish or grabbed a bait from the downrigger. Most are spinner sharks (a cousin of the blacktip), averaging about 130 pounds. These huge fish put up quite a fight and spin out of the water when hooked. Clients have brought several to the boat after a lengthy tug-of-war. Spinners normally are found around commercial shrimp boats during April and May. It's a great place for them to hang out when unwanted fish is discarded in the evening.
The sharks are not the brightest but put up a great fight. Add a piece of 100-pound wire to a 50-pound class rod and hold on. A large blue runner with the tail cut off is the perfect bait, because the action of the wounded fish drives spinners into a feeding frenzy.
Large bull sharks are in the area, and numerous amberjacks have been devoured while being reeled in. Many bulls are about 8 feet long and weigh 200 pounds. Spearfishermen should use caution around artificial reefs, because these sharks would like nothing more than to strip you of your catch. These are the most dangerous sharks prowling Gulf waters.