Watch the show at 7 p.m. Thursday, May 10
BOKELLIA ISLAND, Fla. — With scattered clouds and water spouts on the horizon, the two teams fishing the one-day fish-off to determine the winner of the 2012 Madfin Shark Tournament pulled away from the dock with optimism. Both teams found sharks during their prefishing period before the tournament, and both felt better weather conditions, in particular less wind, would produce good fishing.
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“We didn’t find a thing inside, but we found some nice sharks off the beach around the bonito schools,” said Capt. Rob Moore of Team Viscous Strikes. “The bonito had the bait balled up yesterday and there were sharks all over under the bonito. If we can find those fish today, I think we can do well.”
Moore’s fishing partner, Paul Michele, spent the days prior to the event fishing different spots around Boca Grande and Captiva Pass, as well as inside Charlotte Harbor with little results. Thinking the best concentration of sharks is off the beach, Team Viscous Strikes plans to concentrate their efforts around the bonito schools, hoping to catch blacktip, bull, lemon and possibly a hammerhead shark.
For Team Tenacity/Savage Arms, the event comes on the back of a little bad luck. Team member Bo Johnson was running his Lake and Bay 22-foot Bay when the lower unit of his outboard blew up just two days before the event. He had to scramble to get it fixed and was boatless, and thus couldn’t prefish the two days before the fish-off.
“Right now, I’m hoping the fish I’ve been finding on my charters are going to still be there,” Johnson said. “We’ve been tarpon fishing and the sharks have been so thick that we’ve had to use wire leader to catch tarpon. If those fish are still there, we should do fine.”
Both teams expect it will take at least three sharks to win and believe it will likely come down to who scores the most bonus points. Bonus points are awarded for the first legal-sized shark of the day (250), most sharks (250) and largest shark (500). In addition to scoring points for the catch of individual shark species, blacktip (150), lemon and bull (300) and hammerhead (500), the teams score a similar number of bonus points for their catch by successfully removing the hook. Nurse sharks are -200 points, but the teams can break even by successfully removing the hook from any nurse sharks for 200 bonus points.
“We had about 250 pounds of fresh mullet when I started the boat this morning, and I caught another 250 pounds in my cast net near the dock, so we have plenty of bait and chum” said Johnson, who will fish strictly with mullet chunks during the event. Johnson used the same baits during the qualifying event with good success.
"We’ve got barracuda, bonito and Spanish mackerel,” Moore said. “I probably caught 15 bonito yesterday, so we’ve got plenty of bait. We’ll fish Spanish mackerel strips and bonito chunks and put out carcasses and chunk chum.”
Both teams expect action early and throughout the day, with cooler temperatures in the morning inspiring the bite, followed by a mid-morning shift to an incoming tide.
“When the tide gets going good, we’ll see the fish turn on. It’s going to be a good day for everyone,” said Johnson.