Orange Beach Shark Fishing - Have you ever touched a live shark?
Have you ever touched a live Shark? Sometimes, we get sharks close enough to the charter boat, so can get some really good pictures. If you really want a blood pumping, heart pounding, adrenaline rush, you might be able to talk the deckhand into letting you touch the shark on the back, just before he releases him. It's up to you and you know, none of your friends will believe you unless you show them.
Shark fishing in Orange Beach is fun, if you are with the right charter boat. For years, most charter boats in the area, caught and harvested these magnificent animals in order to cut their jaws out. I guess it was because their customers can take them home and show them off. Most sharks are not good to eat, so harvesting one of these magnificent fish is something we don't do anymore. Mako Sharks are good to eat, but are a very rare catch in Orange Beach. We used to harvest all the sharks we caught, but we started seeing fewer and fewer, so we stopped bringing them onboard the charter boat four years ago. We started figuring out ways of enhancing the experience of hooking, fighting and getting to see a big shark swim beside the charter boat.
Shark fishing in Orange Beach is peferrably done while deep sea fishing on a 6 hour charter or longer. We have been known to catch one on a 4 hour charter, but the time it takes to fight the monster fish and get it up to the boat sometimes takes a while. A 6 hour charter is a good start for someone wanting to try and catch a few fish for supper and possibly hook a big shark.
Most of the sharks we catch in the warm waters near Orange Beach are Reef Sharks, Bull Sharks, Spinner Sharks and Black Tips. We do see some Tiger Sharks and Hammerheads way offshore. We sometimes see Shortfin Mako's cruising the Gulf Shores beaches in the Spring time, looking for an easy meal. Mako Sharks and Spinner Sharks are considered the acrobats of the sea. They have both been known to jump way out of the water as they try to sling the hook. We don't catch a lot of Mako's, Hammerheads or Tiger Sharks because of where they mostly live, which is usually further offshore. Now I know they have been seen right off the beach. I am just talking about the ones we see that are out there while we are Tuna fishing or big game trolling.
The Reef Sharks, Spinner Sharks and Black Tip Sharks, weigh anywhere from 60 to 200 pounds, with the average sized being about 100 pounds. A 100 pound shark can give a good angler about a 30 minute to an 1.5 hour fight easily. If the angler is not in good shape or has poor fishing technique, the shark fight can last for 2 or more hours. We always have the mate beside you, coaching you and helping direct you. The Bull Sharks we catch, are usually close to 250 to 350 pounds with a big one going over 500. If a 100 pound Reef Shark takes up to an hour to catch, you can figure a 400 pound Bull Shark could take up to 4 to 6 hours. If you are on a 6 hour charter, you may have just burned up your entire fishing trip on a big shark. Is it worth it? I say yes. There is nothing like Shark Fishing in Orange Beach.
If you would like to try and catch a big shark while deep sea fishing in Orange Beach, just let one of our charter boat captains and guides know in advance. They will be ready to hook you up and have a fight of a lifetime. Who knows, you just might be able to reach out and touch one.
Our obsession with shark fishing started early in life
We were teenagers in the mid 1970's when the movie "Jaws" was released in theaters. We were all just kids when our parents let us watch this masterpiece of a film that had all of us scared to go in the water. The water on the Alabama Gulf Coast has always been a murky green color or brown, but it has never been clear. Clear water is in the Florida Keys I guess. Putting a mask on while swimming in the Gulf Shores surf was almost a waste of time for us boys. We could only see a couple of feet in front of us. After the Jaws movie, we just knew that the monster shark that devoured the town of Amity was only just out of sight, waiting to eat us up. It was almost freaky to go underwater, holding your breath, looking around and praying that Jaws would not come eat us. Being a teenager during that era was priceless. There was nothing like a good scare to get the blood pumping.
At an early age because of this movie, we developed a curiosity of sharks. We wanted to get them, before they got us. We purchased an old 1970's model 18" Boston Whaler and had her fitted with a 40 h.p. Mercury that worked most of the time. We began going out of Alabama Point at night time and fishing for sharks. We took a strong braided nylon rope and coupled it to a cable and a big hook. We would go around to different docks and get scraps from the commercial fishermen, to make our chum. We tied a milk jug to the end of my line with a rubber band in order to let the tide take my bait away from me and further out to sea. It was a nightly ritual during my Summer days we spent in Orange Beach.
Shark fishing was tough in the beginning. Nobody ever told us how to do it properly until we met an old salt at Browns Gas Station that used to be located at the bridge at "Alabama Point" or what is now known as Perdido Pass. This old man was named "Mr. Jim" and he taught us how to catch those monster sharks. He gave us an old Penn 12 ought reel that had braided line on it. We could not wait to take her out and catch us a monster jaws shark. After we hooked into our first large shark and fought it for over 4 hours, we decided that our way of using a large rope, tied to a cleat was a whole lot easier to fight a big shark. That shark whipped us and cured us from trying to catch big sharks on traditional tackle. That was hard work. We still loved to catch those big boys and bring them in to the dock and show them off.
Over the years, we caught over 20 Bull Sharks in the 400 to 500 pound range and hundreds of Black Tips. It was a fun time in our life and we will always remember being the kids who brought the big sharks in by the tail each morning.