Editor’s note: Marine experts tell us that since sand tiger sharks are federally protected species, fishermen should instead cut their lines if they happen to hook one. The line should be cut as close to the hook as possible — as safely as possible.
What lurks in the waters just off the beach, within casting distance? For two local fisherman this past weekend, it was an 8-foot sand tiger shark.
Before you get too concerned, these menacing-looking creatures are docile and not considered dangerous unless provoked.
Brandon Costa and Tom Casey were actually targeting bluefish off the beach east of the Smith Point Pavilion on Saturday when they got a big surprise.
Using custom rigs from Smith Point Bait and Tackle, as well as spinning tackle, they didn’t wait long for action.
Once they got their big chunks of mackerel behind the second set of breakers it was game on — with Tom’s rod bent over and line, screaming off the reel.
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This thing was a beast at 8 feet, 7 inches and estimated to be around 250 pounds by Craig from Smith Point Bait and Tackle.
After some quick photos, the shark was safely released back into the ocean. This first shark wasn’t a fluke, the anglers landed two more between 7 and 8 feet on Sunday and Monday.
Brandon tells me he used a 12-foot surfcaster, Penn Spinfisher 8500 reel, spooled with 450 yards of 50 pound test Power Pro braid.
So, next time you’re thinking about swimming around dusk or at night, remember what’s lurking just below the surface.
Just look at those teeth!
[Correction: An earlier version of this article incorrectly indicated the fishermen were fishing for sharks. They were fishing for bluefish.]