Islamorada, in the Florida Keys, is well known for its great offshore fishing for sailfish, swords, blackfin tuna, grouper and more.
But that’s not all.
Each spring (in particular) the sharks show up. Tigers. Big ones.
The 600-pounder in the photo here, alongside the charter boat Bn’M is a case in point. Of course they can and do get a whole lot larger, even. (That’s when anglers start thinking, “I think we’re going to need a bigger boat.”)
Just this week, Capt. Nick Stanczyk has dedicated two days to shark fishing, and using whole or cut amberjacks for bait on an 18/0 circle hook, brought four tigers to the boat for photos and release. Stanczyk’s anglers hook up the sharks on 80-pound braid.
“Tigers show up on the humps off Islamorada from late March through May to feed on spawning amberjack,” Stanczyk tells SF, noting that April is usually peak.
Stanczyk says hammerheads and occasional makos also join the party.
The shark pictured here was taken by Canadian Matt Mikkelson of Calgary, Alberta, after a battle of about 45 minutes. Like all tigers and hammerheads, this fish was successfully released.
More information about spring shark wrasslin’ in the Keys at Bud ‘n Mary’s Fishing Marina.
(If you find fishing for big sharks fascinating — and who doesn’t? — don’t miss Sport Fishing’s shark special in the June issue, btw!)