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Ger

Northern Beaches shark fishing

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Anyone at all want to let me tag along for some beach shark fishing? Fairly new to sea fishing in general, more used to river salmon and trout fishing back in Ireland. I’m here for a while longer and want to try for sharks off the beach before I go out on a charter. Cheers

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G'day Ger. I MIGHT be able to get away for a late arvo/night fish session on the Saturday (29th) September. If you haven't found anyone to go with before then I'm happy to show you. I say MIGHT be able to as it depends if I will be on-call at work. Can't do squat then unfortunately.

Nonetheless I can give you a few pointers that will help and also check out some of the previous posts. Plenty of very experienced and knowledgeable raiders on here.

Any beaches are capable of producing sharks. North Narrabeen is a good starting point. BUT you will first need to suss out a few beaches. Personally as I live a while away from the beaches I suss out a beach via the Sydney live surf cam. It will show you live feed of each beach. Here you will be looking for structures along the beach that will hold fish - gutters, rips, rocky outcrops and sandbanks to name a few. Gutters primarily are the big one to look at. If you google "beach gutter" you will see what it looks like. Basically you will have a sandbank or two further out from the shoreline where the wave will break...then followed by a deeper pocket of water where it seems more "calm". This can be close to the shoreline or a bit further out. Here is where you want to focus your efforts. The other spot is behind the sandbank where the water drops down but may require a very long cast.  *Note: There may be a rip on either side and is evident by no waves but rather, the water is flowing quickly out to sea. Also some gutters are present at low tide and others on high tide. So what may be good on high may not be good for low tide. Same goes for how long a gutter is present for. They may only last a day or two sometimes. 

Also keep in mind that just because there is a gutter, it does not always mean there will be fish there. But it is definitely worth a shot. More specifically for sharks...a deeper gutter is more important when there is light BUT at night, they will come right up into ankle deep water if there is food.

If there is a lot of kelp washing about on the shore or the swell is really up then I wouldn't bother fishing as you will likely spend more time snagged or recasting than fishing. Have a plan B - i.e. bream, whiting or fish inside the harbour.

Burley is a key component. You will want to burley when it is right on sundown - when there are no people in the water. If there is - DO NOT BURLEY. On the other hand, you can travel further up north or down south to one of those national park beaches where nobody swims - there is a lot! When burleying...get there at low tide and bury a few pockets of fish frame or fish heads about knee-depth down in the sand close enough to the shoreline. You will be able to see where the water gets up to at high tide...within that zone. Also have some fish frames in a hard crab pot or mesh net that you can have rolling around in the surf. Usually I pin it down at two points by rope within the high-tide surf line so it stays fixed but the burley can break apart and run into the surf. Burley will bring the sharks in and increase your chances of one taking a bait. 

For ease...i will split all the gear and tackle into large sharks and small sharks. 

RE rigs...simple is best -Have a sliding star sinker (use 40cm of about 14lb mono) down to a large swivel (to suit your line class). Reason for a sliding sinker rig is to keep the bait a little more mobile to minimise stingray by catch. 

Then run this to your trace... 

Large sharks... 70cm of 60lb single strand wire connected to a size 12/0 up to a size 15/0 circle hook. Match the hook size to the bait you are using (bigger hooks for bigger bait... Smaller hooks I. E. Size 9/0 for a strip or slab). Ideally... If your rod permits or you are able to cast or get the bait out... A 1m length of 70lb to 100lb shock mono will do wonders. About 400-500m of 50lb mainline will suffice. You really don't want to land anything that will spool you on this heavier gear.

For smaller sharks... 70cm of some heavy 50-70lb mono OR preferably about 70cm of single strand wire in the 30lb to 40lb range will do (sharks aren't leader shy) and down to a size 9/0 octopus/circle hook. Ideally...in between the swivel and trace I would run about 1m of 70lb shock leader. BUT the smaller sharks you wont have a problem skippinf this. Mainline I will run about 200m of 25lb to 30lb on the spool. Usually anything above the 2.5m mark will likely spool you anyway.

For your rod, the longer the better - It does 2 things 1) it keeps your mainline above the breaking waves and 2) allows you to have a longer trace while not restricting casting. Any long beach rod will do. I THINK mine is about 16ft - have to check.

Baits should be an oily fish such as mackerel, salmon, bonito and mullet. Use them whole or fillets work well. Size of shark doesn't really matter too much BUT your larger sharks will be more tempted by a large bait such as a whole trevalley or large bonito. Bull sharks have a particular taste for freshwater eels. Back when I had a boat large bull sharks frequented the hawkesbury and freshwater eels were a great bait to chase them with.

If you have a look on youtube for "rigging a shark bait" there are a few good yankee videos that show you. Basically you thread it on through the fish a few times and have the hook point well exposed on the top of the head. Then strap it all together using a few cable ties. Doesn't seem to bother them. Also have a look at tying single strand wire "knots" as when incorrectly done... Will slip under pressure. If done correctly... Will never slip up.

Fillets/slabs of fresh or even a whole live fish is really good for sharks and jewies. Easier and less time consuming to bait up too. If chasing jewies sharks are a fun by catch and that's how I usually get them anyway rather than specifically chasing them...jewies will be put off by heavier gear and will certainly be put off by wire. Yet to catch a jewie from the surf lol.  

Times that sharks will bite can be any time really. But I usually get some action either side of the rising tide and on the tide change. You can get them at low tide too. Low light periods are ideal and into the night. Just be prepared for a waiting game lol. 

Anyhoo...hope that helps and I'll let you know if I can get away from work for a night fish.

Added: also have some long nose bolt cutters handy for clipping the hook shank (ideal) or as close to the hook as possible for release.

Handling them can be a pain. They are very flexible especially the small ones so if you grab them by the tail they can still get you if you're not careful. I had a few close calls with small bronzies (under a meter long) but nearly got chomped as they are very energetic when caught and handled. For that reason...with any shark I would suggest when playing the fish, to ease off the drag (provided there's ample remaining spool) and let the fish go for another run or two... That way they are more fatigued when beached and a little less energetic to handle. I never had anyone teach me to handle sharks when I first started catching them and now I'm overcautious due to a few close calls... So if you see a bloke on the beach taking 10mins to release a shark... It's just me lol.

If there's two people it's easier. The bigger ones will probably need to be tail roped too. 

If you're after a feed... Small sharks are best. Use a cleaver and chop the tail off and allow them to bleed for about 15mins prior to cleaning. Oh and always clean them at the beach. Their guts can stink a whole house quick-smart! 

Edited by Kracka
Missed some info
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