zcoker

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About zcoker

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  • About Me:
    Easy going, carefree, always willing to help others, give advise to anything related to fishing, fishing locations, tackle and so forth. Florida is a fishing mecca and it's easy to get lost amid the fishing chaos. It's a big plus to know someone who is willing to share and share alike their own experiences in a friendly, knowledgeable way.
  • Interests (Hobbies, favorite activities, etc.):
    Fishing! I fish ALL the time ALL over the state of Florida for all kinds of fish. I tag sharks for NOAA's apex predator program. I work full time and have a wife who enjoys fishing as much as I do. I live a modest life and take the days as they come...or take the fish as they come LoL. I specialize in fishing for BIG sharks from the surf but enjoy other types of fishing as well, Snook, Tarpon, etc. I enjoy hooking up with others, going on fishing trips, doing whatever it takes to score the fish!
  • What I do for a living:
    Healthcare

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    Male
  • Location
    West Palm Beach

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  1. Unfortunately, no one can determine what's gonna hit a bait when shark fishing in the Florida surf. My advice, then, would be to be prepared for anything if shark fishing. I've caught some rather large sharks right off the sand, some true monsters. And, yes, elephants do eat peanuts LoL. Either do it the right way or don't do it at all. Best advice I can give you at this point. Good luck to ya.
  2. Some good points by the mortician! lol. Lotta these sharks down here in Florida travel in packs, so hooking one is only one aspect of the game. Bunch of other sharks to deal with. Just like tarpon, other sharks chase the hooked fish, snapping at it, biting it, trying to get the bait that may have slid up on the line.....lotta situations to deal with. And, as was stated above, 300yds of line may be out during all that craziness. So gearing up only makes sense. I have a TON of info in my Sharky Weekend thread in the Florida forum about shark surf fishing, from top water action to just about everything else. But, in general, I recommend for bait casting 50lb minimum mainline of at least 400yds. I also use about a 20ft top shot of 100lb mono tied in to my own version of the FG knot. For main leader I like 400-600lb mono crimped in to 400-600lb swivels. The bite leader is #19 wire with usually a 16/0 inline circle hook. You see, catching them is one thing but leadering them in is another. You want the heavy mono line for good grip to tame them near the surf zone in order to quickly remove the hook. Small dinky hooks are nearly impossible to remove because they can get buried inside. Big circles are easy to slip out in seconds with a good de-hooker....corner of the mouth always. Moreover, the torque these sharks exhibit is unreal, literally thousands of ft/lbs while twisting, turning, and jumping. I've had them sheer 600lb test mono leaders clean in half, straiten out the strongest hooks...lotta pure hell factors to consider, is why we say in Florida to "go big or go home." LoL I like the big heavy nasty 12 foot surf rods for casting LoL. Gotta have a hefty setup to cast 8n bait PLUS the top shot PLUS the long leader to get it all into the zone effectively. These larger rods are also good to get the fish in very quickly. Just makes sense to pare the setup to what kinda weight you are going after, which are big fat pissed off sharks from the surf. An 8ft rod and small reel just makes no sense for this application....IMHO. Lotta guys spend a lotta time fanning over the internet for fishing info (as was stated in this thread) which is okay but most of that info is related to fishing from boats! Sure, small reels, dinky line, this and that blah blah blah.....Has nothing to do with two feet being firmly planted on the sand. So gear recommendations may be skewed and a bit misleading for the shore guy.
  3. An important often overlooked point to consider aside from what can be caught on this or that thin diameter line is getting the fish (shark or tarpon) in as quickly as possible to avoid injury or even death. It also makes sense to ante up the leader to avoud unesecessry break-offs. Gearing up to do battle with these larger species is all about catch and release, fun for the fisherman and healthy for the fish. Using common sense would be a good first step for the new guy....in my opinion.
  4. My go-to has always been the jig for snook but that old 85m always seems to get attention. No doubt about location dictating what to use. I’m just bait lazy, park and fish my style lol.
  5. Yep. Over there every week. Snook thick all over....east coast, west coast, making a nice come-back
  6. Having caught hundreds of sharks off the Florida shorelines, mostly with spinning gear, it can be challenging even with the biggest reels and thickest lines. Take the Penn 10500, for example, can hold over 700yds of 65lb braid on this reel yet I've nearly been spooled numerous times by just blacktips. That's because some of these blacktips (females) can push seven feet at over 150 pounds pure muscle. They can rip 300 yds off in seconds. Jump like missiles and put to smoke whatever drag is put onto them. Tarpon, too, the big ones can tear up gear like no tomorrow. During season in Boca Grande, for instance, they can get over 200lbs.....and that's off the beach! Not just in the pass with the boats LoL. So having the right gear in the right place for the right fish does make a considerable difference, IMHO. For me, having top notch gear does pay off with absolutely no shortcuts because big game fishing from shore is serious stuff. Having said all this, I would not recommend anything under 65lb braid for shark fishing here in Florida off the beaches. Tarpon can be had with 40lb because big Tarpon hit tiny baits and you want to be able to work the presentation correctly. Line capacity is also important with the thinner lines. More importantly out of anything is the leader setup for both species as well as the connections. Can ponder line diameters all day long but the down and dirty is the correct leaders and the correct connections. Presentation is a whole different topic. My 2 Pennies
  7. I only use lures for snook. That afternoon old school 85m rocked! Got s few nice ones back to back
  8. Plenty of beach snook action. Catch and release now both coast but that’s ok. Still a fun fish to catch, especially from the surf! Sunset snook action lol
  9. Blacktips and Spinner sharks are both very similar in appearance and most get confused. The best way to identify either species is by their anal fin. On spinner sharks the anal fin is black-tipped. On blacktips sharks the anal fin is all white.
  10. The Keys in May is tarpon time. They were so thick down there, all over the place, and with the right tide can jump them every cast. They weren't the biggest but sure were fun on light tackle. All of them about the same size. Now the cuda, on the other and, were huge! Did I say "got bait" LoL. Lotta folks see these cudas as secondary fishing. But the big ones will put a tarpon to shame as far as runs and jumps. Truly a forgotten gamefish, IMHO. Lotta other life down there hanging out. Stopped at a store to get some supplies and next thing I know this fellow was trying to get into my truck!! As I was pulling out, my thoughts were: "only in the Keys" LoL. Nothing like a Keys sunset from my make-shift motel room on the brige LoL. Then headed to the west coast for some shark action. Them tail-gate hot dogs taste sooo good LoL Sun was going down and the sky got kinda sketchy. But as soon as it got dark, the sharks hit. Had one massive hit that about pulled me into the ocean. Probably a big hammer or tiger. Most of the sharks that we beached were lemon sharks. They seem quite abundant on the west coast. All sharks tagged and released safely. I like the west coast much better for releasing sharks. Surf is so clear and calm compared to the east coast, rough and rowdy.
  11. ISLAND ADVENTURE Hit one of my favorite islands off the gulf coast for some big shark spinning rod action. Setup camp, got firewood, and started fishing. What a beautiful weekend with sunshine, blue sky, and plenty of sharky action! Got into a nice tiger right off the bat. Was an epic fight on spinning gear. All sharks caught on casted baits close to shore. All sharks caught, tagged, and released with happy faces LoL The trout were nice size. About every cast ended up with one of these! They were that thick. Got the fire going for the night. This next fish was caught without rod reel or hook! I was reeling in a shark when it got off. Next thing I know the shark was chasing something. Then, suddenly, the ocean explodes and this big jack lands right smack next to my rod holder!!! Craziest catch ever! Blacktip action was great. Caught a lot of these. They were pretty darn thick and are always a blast on a spinning rod. Next morning the sun came up with a big lemon shark. Nothing like a "lemon sunrise" to finish off a great trip!
  12. Here in South Florida I only use the big Penn 10500’s for shark fishing off the beach (casting), both the Slammer and SSV. These reels hold a ton of line and you WILL need it lol. Think I got about 800yds 65lb on them. Have caught hammers and tigers to 10 feet on both reels....and that’s with a LOT of luck and experience. For the most, these reels handle quite well most all other sharks 150lb range. Gets them in quickly for safe release. With any shark fishing, good to have a “go big or go home” mindset, especially here in S. Florida. Lotta big girls come in very close and having the appropriate gear is paramont (if you’re targeting them). I also use the same reels in the Keys off the bridges and have landed some big, big fish. For tossing plugs at sharks, I only use the larger Stella’s.
  13. That’ll work. Gotta go after them when in the right mood. Very moody gals lol. Got some nice top water action shots in my Sharky Weekend thread in the Florida forum. Pulled in some nice ones. Unreal experience. About the best it gets off the beach using top water, in my opinion.
  14. On those lures Mustad Sea Mate forged swordfish hooks with braised eyes. Nice hook but I’ve still pulled them in bent :o) blacktips have no mercy lol
  15. Painted to look like great white sharks???? What in the world lol don’t know if many GW predators other than Orcas. Weird. Show some pics of what you are talking about, if possible.