If this doesn’t turn your head, not much will.
It seems as if a group of enterprising anglers in the Florida Panhandle have discovered that mako sharks aren’t just for those with big offshore boats. Matter of fact, makos -- good-sized ones, at that -- are being caught from piers and beaches in the area.
Quite a few sharks have been landed during the last couple of years, according to William Fundora, who brings us the story via his online forum South Florida Shark Club, which, among other things, coordinates an annual month-long, catch-and-release shark tournament each spring throughout Florida.
The latest Panhandle mako catch reported on Fundora's forum comes via a joint post from users iloveshrkfishin and FireDawg. They duo, whose names are Will Smith and Bill Dunlop, respectively, fished together during a four-day stretch in which they actually slept on the beach (hardcore, I like it!) and caught several very respectable sharks, capped off by a beautiful mako that stretched 10 feet, 8 inches in length with a 60-inch girth.
That’s a damn fine mako! But this wasn’t a first – it seems that Smith, who reeled in the big fish, actually landed another 10-foot mako only a few weeks ago.
Fundora tells me that shark fishermen in the area are discovering that the makos are following the springtime cobia migrations, which pass through the Panhandle shallows each March through May.
But wait, the story gets even better: Since the gear they’re using is so heavy and cumbersome to cast, fishermen are paddling their baits out from shore in kayaks; in fact, one particularly enterprising angler has actually developed a remote-control kayak from which he’s setting baits from the comfort of shore. “He calls it ‘the Orca’,” chuckles Fundora.
By the way, in case you were wondering – the big mako that Smith and Dunlop recently caught was carefully released by the two fishermen after taking its measurements and snapping a few memorable photos.
Hats off to the boys, especially on the release. We’ll bring you more on this story as we learn….