2013-09-05 / Nature

Blue Shark Caught in Local Waters

By Tim Flaherty

We were fully expecting poor fishing conditions this week due to the weak tide and currents of the last quarter of the moon. The opposite occurred. The bite this week was excellent with a variety of species taken on each trip this week. Our guests were delighted with both size and quantity. Ledge monster bluefish hit aggressively as did the big black sea bass and fluke. On each trip during this week at least 12 big blues were landed and released, plus nearly a half dozen black sea bass and five or more large fluke. Keeper-sized striped bass appeared on a few trips, as well. We attribute this good bite to the fall feeding patterns that steadily grows more aggressive as the water temperature drops and the fall migration approaches. For many native anglers, this is the best time of year to fish. It is often called the “Fall Feeding Frenzy,” which coincides with the autumnal equinox on September 22, the official end of summer. As this event approaches, fish feeding patterns will increasingly grow more intense. This is why I refer to the equinox as “Fisherman’s Christmas.” As you may remember from school, in the northern hemisphere the sun is rising later and setting sooner each day. On the autumnal equinox, the hours of sunlight and darkness are equal and, on this date, the sun will rise in a due east position and set in a due west position. As winter approaches our daylight hours will gradually decrease until we reach the winter solstice on Dec. 21.

Barbara and Chip Gleb of New York, pictured in the inset, hooked and released this six-foot blue shark while aboard Capt. Tim Flaherty’s Fishfinder. Barbara and Chip Gleb of New York, pictured in the inset, hooked and released this six-foot blue shark while aboard Capt. Tim Flaherty’s Fishfinder. On an outing last Wednesday, Aug. 28, two of our guests, Chip and Barbara Gleb, had a great time on the Fishfinder. They landed over a dozen blues, plus black sea bass and fluke. Toward the end of the trip, Chip, an experienced light tackle angler who has fished with us several times over the years, received a tremendous hit while retrieving a bluefish. At least 100 yards of line screamed off the reel and the rod was doubled over into the water. The ensuing battle lasted 25 minutes and required great skill and patience. My mate spotted a huge dark shadow about 20 feet down. A few minutes later a six-foot blue shark appeared on the surface with a small #5 circle hook on the corner of his lip that formerly held the hooked bluefish. The deep blue color shading of this species is spectacular and unforgettable. Barbara took a few quick camera shots and we released the shark. As he swam slowly away he left one exhausted but thrilled angler.

We expect great fishing next week as a result of the new moon’s arrival on September 5, which will deliver strong tides and prime fishing conditions. Tight lines! Capt. Tim, of Flaherty Charters, Castle Hill, Newport, is an island native who taught high school and college-level history. He has been angling for more than 50 years, following his father,

Frank Flaherty.

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