Shark Fishing - Bait and Switch

IglooMan

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Aug 29, 2006
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From La Paz, San Diego for Work...
www.archersuperbars.com
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Chris
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Cabo 216, 38' Hatteras SF
With the Southern California shark season about to go wide open (they are already here... hint hint) we thought it appropriate to share a basic tutorial on what we consider to be the best and most enjoyable way to fish both threshers and makos: Bait and Switch Fishing

Bait and Switch fishing is not only effective on sharks (and EVERY other game fish for that matter), but it allows the angler(s) to match the size of the gear used to the size of the fish. With threshers it also guarantees being able to mouth hook the shark, as opposed to snagging it in the tail.

The following excerpt was taken from The Shark Trollers Bible by Captain Fred Archer:

THE CONCEPT BEHIND BAIT AND SWITCH TROLLING & CHUMMING <o:p></o:p>​
It is very much the same as when we are power chumming; we use lures with no hooks in them as teasers to attract the fish close to the boat where we can eyeball and then bait them with the appropriate shotgun outfit. It is the only way I know of to be certain that you are going to be able to hook small sharks on small gear and big sharks on the big stuff. It is also a very good way to ensure mouth hooking thresher sharks. It works great! <o:p></o:p>

The teasing process isn’t only meant to attract fish to the boat; it is also used to excite and aggravate neutral fish to the point that they will attack and eat our baits. It is a deadly method in the hands of those who know what they are doing and is responsible for literally every fly rod blue water record that exists today, along with the vast majority of the light tackle world billfish records.<o:p></o:p>

When trolling for sharks in the bait and switch mode we troll two basic kinds of lures. For the most part they are surface and downrigger Top Dawgs. The only difference is that we troll them without hooks. Since we are trying to tease the sharks up to the boat, we always rig whole baits or fillets on the lures so that the fish can get a “taste” when they go after them and so that the lures will leave a scent trail as they are retrieved back to the boat. If you opt for a whole bait, I suggest that you make a WaggleBooger (“BlueWaggler” on the east coast) out of it for the very same reason that we use the fillets.<o:p></o:p>
<o:p> </o:p>

HOW TO TEASE SHARKS
<o:p></o:p>​
Actually, bait and switch fishing is simple. On surface baits, whatever rod is hit first (I fish the reels with the drags at sunset - locked) is immediately picked up by someone who looks for the fish behind the lure, or just starts reeling it slowly toward the boat. <o:p></o:p>

The skipper should slow down just a tad as this is happening, hopefully giving the shark the impression of an injured, but still mobile bait that is escaping. All of the other teasers in front of the one with the fish on it are reeled in immediately when you get the strike. All that they can do now is confuse the fish, so we want them out of the water, RIGHT NOW! <o:p></o:p>
<o:p> </o:p>


BE CAREFUL, BE CAREFUL, BE CAREFUL!
<o:p></o:p>​
Remember the Heed or Bleed earlier about makos chasing lures up to the boat and jumping into it for my number one fishing nightmare of all? It is absolutely critical that everyone reeling in a teaser treats it exactly like there is a mako after it! If this isn’t done, sooner or later you are going to have that unwelcome visitor in the cockpit on his bloody terms, not yours! And you will regret it! So please, make sure that anyone bringing in a teaser knows exactly what he or she is doing and stops the teaser, then swings the teaser AWAY from the boat before bringing it aboard! <o:p></o:p>

The other thing that I usually do as soon as the fish hits is to get ready to scatter a small handful of chunks in the water to spice things up for our shark visitor if he shows signs of losing interest. That is rare, but I get ready anyway. The important thing to remember here is not to just throw one handful and then not throw any more. <o:p></o:p>

Remember what’s going on here. The boat is slowing down, but is still moving, so if you just toss one handful of chunks, they are getting further away from the boat as you move forward, and so is any shark that’s eating them! Keep a steady, but not heavy stream of chunks going into the water as you prepare to bait the fish, and if you’re using “chum soup”, ladle some in as well. <o:p></o:p>

Don’t overdo this chunking thing! You aren’t trying to feed the fish here, you are just trying to make your wake, which he has already been attracted to, an even more interesting place for our friend the shark to be in. So be steady, but not generous with the chunks. <o:p></o:p>


IF THE FISH STAYS AFTER THE TEASER AS IT’S BROUGHT IN
<o:p></o:p>​
I prefer not to throw chunks right away. This is because we don’t want a fish that’s fixed on the teaser to switch over to the chunks. And the fact is, they usually get so focused on the teaser that they ignore the chunks. In that case, we have somebody standing by the chunks, ready to throw some when we have the fish alongside if it looks like he needs a few snacks to get him going. If it looks like he doesn’t need that (which is indicated by him immediately going for the fillet bait), we don’t give him any munchies. <o:p></o:p>


THE SWITCH
<o:p></o:p>​
I’d draw a picture of the switch for you, but it is so simple to do, I don’t think you’ll need the visual. As the fish comes close, we size it up. Based on how big it is and what species, whoever is going to bait it picks up the appropriate shotgun outfit and steps behind (toward the stern) the person working the teaser. As described earlier, the minute that the teaser is (carefully, carefully, carefully!) removed from the water by first stopping, and then swinging it away from the boat, the angler slaps the fillet in the water near the fish’s head. Naturally, this is done to get the fish’s attention focused on a nice, fat piece of fish flesh that appears to have landed right next to him so he can scarf it down before it flees on him like the teaser seemed to have done. <o:p></o:p>

The fish is usually really hot when the teaser disappears into thin air on him and is frantically (and angrily) looking for it. I’ll tell you something that you might have guessed already; sharks get mighty unhappy when something they think they’ve killed vanishes on them! This is something that they aren’t used to and believe me; when you put a piece of bait in the water after their target has disappeared they usually jump all over it! The angler has to take great care not to allow a backlash when a mako or thresher grabs the fillet and rockets off with it. <o:p></o:p>


REMEMBER THE CHUNKS!
<o:p></o:p>​
If the fish shows the slightest hesitation whatsoever to eat the fillet, drop a few chunks in the water near him and you’ll probably get him back into the eating mode. We usually reel the fillet bait right into where we throw the chunks so it’s right there among them and the shark. <o:p></o:p>
<o:p> </o:p>

AS HE EATS THE FILLET, KEEP THE LEADER OFF HIM!
<o:p></o:p>​
One of the tremendous advantages of bait and switch fishing for sharks lies in the fact that you almost always see the fish eat the bait. This lets you know exactly when to set the hook, so if it’s a little guy that you intend to release you can set up on him as soon as you see the hook disappear in his mouth and wind up releasing a healthy fish.<o:p></o:p>
<o:p> </o:p>
Now that you have mako sharks feeding right in front of your eyes you will begin to learn some of the things about their feeding behavior that we have known for many years. First, you’ll notice that they frequently circle a bait that they have crippled from several feet away, carefully looking it over before they move in to eat it. <o:p></o:p>
<o:p> </o:p>
As Grim Ripper, my novel about the life and adventures of a female mako shark chronicles many times, this is typical mako feeding behavior that has been developed because these sharks feed on dangerous prey like other sharks, marlin and swordfish - all of which could easily kill or injure the mako if it moved in too quickly to feed. Now that you will be having a boat side seat and can actually watch them feed, you will see this behavior over and over again.<o:p></o:p>
<o:p> </o:p>

NOW, “GET OUTTA DODGE” WHEN YOU SET THAT HOOK!
<o:p></o:p>
There’s only one thing to do when you are setting the hook on a mako shark that’s all charged up and is going to get even more excited when you stick that steel into him - you put your tail between your legs and get the hell away from the daggoned thing before he starts jumping all over the place right next to the boat that he could easily land in and give you a horrifying little “talk” of his own! <o:p></o:p>

HEED OR BLEED!
<o:p></o:p>
I am not kidding about hightailing it out of Dodge! All the macho nonsense aside, only a true nincompoop would park there with a mako shark that’s just about to be switched from hunter to hunted that is very likely to react by hopping right into the boat and performing gory mayhem on anyone he can get hold of! <o:p></o:p>
Get the hell away from a mako the moments before you stick it to him! Naturally, this is done by the skipper working the throttles and moving the boat away from the fish (and burying the hook!). Be careful here, too! Don’t surprise anyone standing back there in the ‘pit by jumping on the throttles and blowing him into the water, and worse yet, into the lap of a mako shark that’s just about to explode into wild, biting action! Do that, and even if the shark doesn’t bite the guy and kill him, he’ll probably have a heart attack just thinking about it! Either that or you’ll witness him walk on water!<o:p></o:p>
<o:p> </o:p>

TEASING THRESHER SHARKS
<o:p></o:p>​
Compared to the makos, teasing thresher sharks is (an exciting!) piece of cake! You’ll know a thresher is “knocking on the door” as soon as you get a lure up on top and see that wicked tail of his clobbering the stuffing out of it. <o:p></o:p>

The only secret here is to keep the tail from getting wrapped in the leader, which leads to no fun at all! The person doing the teasing accomplishes this by steadily reeling the teaser to the boat and speeding up its flight, or even jerking it away when he sees the fish starting to take a tail shot at it. <o:p></o:p>

At boat side, drop the fillet on him on an elephant gun and if he eats it, sock it to him! If, as they sometimes do, the fish shows a preference for the chunks, do what comes naturally and give him one with a hook attached to it! Remember, no live baits for threshers! And unless he’s a runt, Elephant Guns only for thresher sharks!<o:p></o:p>
 

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BigJack

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that is some really good info that I will use this year.
 
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Fred Archer

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Good on ya, Todd. And yes, teased sharks are among the most tenacious bait & switch fish of them all. And there are a lot of them, including some bodacious salmon sharks and most likely makos up in your neck of the woods. Once folks start catching any of them, there will be no turning back, just like it was with the threshers in particular here.

A Shark Troller's Bible and New Shark Chummer's Bible will be on their ways to you shortly, with our compliments (CHRIS, PLEASE NOTE).
 

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JoeGoFish

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Mar 14, 2010
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San Clemente, CA
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Shopping
Where can a guy find your books? We've got a bumper crop of threshers and makos here in So Cal and I'm going to take a swing at them this summer.
 
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middleofnowhere

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Where can a guy find your books? We've got a bumper crop of threshers and makos here in So Cal and I'm going to take a swing at them this summer.

Archer Library
I've got three of Capt. Archers books. In my opinion the Shark Trollers Bible is a must have. I have read and re-read the book several times. Just the rigging tips in the book are worth the price of admission. Being a weekend warrior, I don't have the time or money on the water to learn by trial and error, Archers books have given me the knowledge of years in a very short time.
 
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capt tim

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May 29, 2009
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tim marking
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2006 25 Parker, Intimadator2
Just remember to bring the BIG GUNS when trolling. You don't want to be that guy on a 30w or smaller when Mr T comes around to stomp your guts out.
We will be doing the Shark Trolling Seminars again at the Del Mar Fred Hall shows next week.
 
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scorch

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Aug 24, 2006
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Archer Library
I've got three of Capt. Archers books. In my opinion the Shark Trollers Bible is a must have. I have read and re-read the book several times. Just the rigging tips in the book are worth the price of admission. Being a weekend warrior, I don't have the time or money on the water to learn by trial and error, Archers books have given me the knowledge of years in a very short time.

:rockin::rockin::rockin::rockin::rockin::rockin:

What he said!
 
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Capt. G

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We are going to use IGFA regulation fly rods/tackle this year for some bait and switch (boat out of gear when we make the presentation). I wonder if many guys target them on fly gear?

Just remember to bring the BIG GUNS when trolling. You don't want to be that guy on a 30w or smaller when Mr T comes around to stomp your guts out.
We will be doing the Shark Trolling Seminars again at the Del Mar Fred Hall shows next week.
 
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Fred Archer

Big Game's the Name
May 16, 2004
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Captain Fred Archer
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Cappy,

Yes, there are some who do that, including one charter group whose name escapes me right now, and our own Captain Tim on his "Intimadator". I myself did a lot of that kind of fly fishing in the past. Like all bait & switch fishing, regardless of the tackle used, it was a helluva lot of fun. I actually wrote a book about it called "The Ultimate Challenge", but never published it because there didn't seem to be enough people interested to justify the cost of printing it. I even drew the cover, the picture of which you will find below.

Just one tip. If you get a mako up (God help you if it's a thresher!) that is reluctant to hit, we tossed him a few chunks and that usually got him going. Then we'd cast a "chunk fly" at him. I know that I don't have to describe that kind of fly to a guy of your talents. The other way to get one to go was to toss him a small "bloodworm", which is a small mackerel that you whack the tail off of just in front of the fins with a sharp knife. THAT turned on any mako that I have ever seen. Of course, we followed that up with a red-assed mackerel pattern fly.

Have fun...it's a blast and a half!
 

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Pescador Paul

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How do you attach the bait to the lure? Do you bridle a mackeral and attach it to the snap on the lure?
 
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