The Golden Isles of Georgia are home to a large fleet of shrimp boats. The St. Simons Island and Jekyll Island area is also home to one of the largest breeding grounds in the world for Sharks. When you put these two together, in the same place, you get one heck of a fishing opportunity.
If you think about Shark fishing, it probably won’t take long before chumming comes to mind. Well, a shrimp boat dragging nets full of fish and shrimp isn’t much different than a giant chum bag. That is why the Sharks are there, and that is why we fish behind them.
First, I’ll talk about rigging up to fish behind the shrimp boats. All you will need is some 200 to 300 pound test monofilament, some 9/0 or larger circle hooks, small corks, and at least 70 pound test snap swivells.
Tie the snap swivel to the end of your main line. Then cut off about 6 feet of your mono leader and tie a loop in one end and tie the hook on the other end. Clip the loop into your snap swivel, and you have your first line.
Then do the same thing, except this time, peg a cork about 6 inches below your loop. This line will keep your bait on the surface which provides a great visual when a shark smashes your bait.
You can also rig up a bottom line, but this will typically yield an assortment of smaller sharks. The big ones tend to be higher in the water column.
Now that you have the rigs, it’s time to add bait. My preference is definitely large live Pogies (Menhaden) but sometimes I do better on cut bait such as Bonito, Ladyfish, Mullet, or Ribbonfish. I almost always take a little bite of cut bait with me as insurance. Sometimes it makes the difference between a disaster and an awesome trip.
When you approach the shrimp boat, pay attention to which direction the seas are moving. I will go to the side of the shrimp boat that the seas are moving toward. I position the boat at a safe distance from the shrimp boat to make sure that I don’t catch his gear and I ease up to the muddy trail (dirt road) that the nets leave behind. As soon as the bow of my boat touches the dirt road, I send the lines out. I start with the float line, followed by the free line, and lastly, the bottom line… if I use one.
Keep an eye on your float line. Many times you will see the Shark stalking the bait down and you don’t want to miss the violence that ensues when the stalk is over!
Hang on tight!
Captain TJ Cheek