Sunday, July 25, 2010

The Wrong Kind

A good-sized dogfish taken from the Long Branch surf.
When:Saturday, July 24th, from 8pm until 11pm
Where:The beach in Long Branch
Weather:Warm, the night of hottest day of the year so far
Moon:Waxing, night before the full moon
Tide:Outgoing, high-tide was 7:15pm

If someone would have asked Rob Vogel what kind of fish this is, he would have promptly told them, "the wrong kind."

Although at a quick glance it might appear that I finished my quest of landing a brown shark from the beach; this is not a brown shark. Actually, it doesn't even have any teeth. Moreover, it probably doesn't even deserve the name "shark."

This is one of two species of dogfish found in New Jersey waters: the smooth dogsfish, also called a sand shark by many local anglers. Most consider them a nuisance for their ability to find a piece of bait before a striped bass, or in this case, a brown shark.

That being said, big guys like these can put up a spirited fight, especially from the beach.

Here's proof.....

I had a blast.

I walked onto to the beach fully intent on catching my first "brownie". I had an 8/0 Gamakatsu haywired to 60-lb. steel leader, a 200-lb. test barrel swivel connecting that to 5-feet of 80-lb. test flouro/mono mix shock leader with another swivel connecting that to 300 yards of 50-lb. Sufix braid on top of backing on a 750 Penn Spinfisher and an 11-ft. extra-heavy action Tsunami Trophy Series surf rod. Also in tow was 5-gallon bucket of frozen bunker chum with a cordless drill to put holes in it to attract sharks into the surf.
Lindsay and Mindy cheering me on.
I also had an audience.

I spent about three hours fishing from the beach in which time I landed two skates and probably seven dogfish. The one you see up top was by far the biggest. I didn't catch what I was after, but this was incredibly fun. I'm just starting to give a more serious effort to surf-fishing, and this was great evidence that I was on the right track as far as my gear and my methods. I'll be doing more of this in the future.

Sidenote: Although there was no scale present at the scene, it is entirely possible that the dogfish above weighed upwards of 25 or 30-lbs. If that were the case, than this fish would fell a stale, 20-year old record by replacing the 22-lb. bluefish I landed from The Fisherman when I was 9 years old as the largest fish I have ever caught. I rarely fish saltwater, so opportunities to top that fish have been few and far between. A few striped bass, a carp and a bonnethead shark in Long Key, Florida have come close, but this may be the most definitive contender yet.

Next up:A much-needed break. Only 54 more days until "The Return to Black Lake."