Shark Fishing Locations

The beaches near Fort Myers

Rick De Paiva, a light-tackle guide and photographer, fishes for blacktips off the beaches near Fort Myers.

He targets the rough-skins near Spanish mackerel schools during the spring and fall runs. The best action happens in the fall, as waters start to cool.

“In the spring, it’s mostly tarpon migrating north along the coast with blacktips mixed in,” he says.

“During the fall, blacktips make up the majority of the southern migration with less tarpon mixed in.”

If the Spanish mackerel schools aren’t concentrated, he cuts up a bonito, barracuda or other fish and gets a chumslick going. 

He likes an east wind at about 5 to 10 on the west coast. It flattens the surf and your chum slick flows offshore. Any shark migrating south runs through the slick.

For natural baits, he keeps the rigs simple and light. “My basic spinning setup is a 20-pound outfit with a medium-to-heavy, 7-to 8-foot rod coupled with a reel like a Daiwa 2600 or Cabo 60,” says De Paiva.

“Connect the main line to the leader with a swivel. For a leader, tie single-strand, 90-pound wire to 6/0 circle hook.

Baits can be live threadfins, or chunks of mullet, ladyfish, mackerel or bonito. Even flies will work. “Get in those fishes’ faces,” warns Rick.

”Cast at their face; sharks are looking for that easy meal. Otherwise, the Spanish and bonito will get the fly or baitfish first.”

One tip, when using a whole fish as bait, is patience, Rick explains. “Sometimes the reel’s drag will start screaming after a take, but then suddenly stop. Usually, it’s not a ‘cut-off.’

The shark likely cut the bait in half. Wait; don’t reel in line. Most of the time that shark circles around and grabs the second portion, this time with the hook.” FS


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