Pixel Tracker

Tuesday, December 11 , 2018, 1:17 pm | Fair 67º


Captain’s Log: Fishing for Fun? Try Trolling for Blue Sharks

They're in abundance in local waters this time of year.

Article Image
Trolling for blue sharks, most of which weigh 60 to 180 pounds, can build muscle and endurance. (Ramona Lisa McFadyen photo)

It may not play well according to what we think we know about blue shark distribution throughout the year, but we sure do spot a lot of blue shark in November and December. They frequently come nosing around the boat when we are catching rockfish such as red snapper and copper rockfish. Those sharks like to chase the fish and try to bite them off our hooks.

Capt. David Bacon (Ramona Lisa McFadyen photo)
I’ve had people go in the water to photograph them. Even when in the water with them, a swimmer or diver has relatively little to worry about. Blue sharks aren’t known to be particularly aggressive with a healthy strong person. They are not a big-tooth shark, so their dentures aren’t as fearful as some of their relatives.

We are blessed to have a good population of these phantoms of the sea in our local waters. We spot them year-round, though their population peaks in the summer and fall when they are often seen at top water. I’ve seen big ones that were close to 300 pounds. Most are from 60 to 180 pounds. They are mature enough to reproduce at ages 4 or 5, and they make dozens of babies per year when things are going right for them.

It is fun to catch and release them.  The meat isn’t one of the better quality sharks, such as thresher and mako, so most folks release blues. They are tough critters and have a very high survival rate after being released.

Sight fishing is fairly easy, once a shark has been spotted. Chum will keep the big predator close while a rig is readied and baited up. Then lower the bait a few feet down and hang on.

Another popular method is to use a chum bucket to keep a steady chumline going. The best chum material contains plenty of blood and meat, to make for a juicy and alluring chumline. Drift with the chum bucket, releasing a steady stream of shark-goodies. Be careful, though, because a chum slick also may attract big-toothed sharks such as mako or whites.

The hook should be at least 6/0 in size and the leader should be steel. Bait up a heavy rig with lots of meat such as mackerel or multiple anchovies. Drop the baits about 20 yards down-drift, put the reel in gear and the drag set loose. When a shark picks up the offering, tighten the drag and set that hook hard. Then hang on.

Capt. David Bacon operates WaveWalker Charters and is president of SOFTIN Inc., a new nonprofit organization providing seafaring opportunities for those in need.

Support Noozhawk Today

You are an important ally in our mission to deliver clear, objective, high-quality professional news reporting for Santa Barbara, Goleta and the rest of Santa Barbara County. Join the Hawks Club today to help keep Noozhawk soaring.

We offer four membership levels: $5 a month, $10 a month, $25 a month or $1 a week. Payments can be made using a credit card, Apple Pay or Google Pay, or click here for information on recurring credit-card payments and a mailing address for checks.

Thank you for your vital support.

Become a Noozhawk Supporter

First name
Last name
Select your monthly membership
Or choose an annual membership

Payment Information

Membership Subscription

You are enrolling in . Thank you for joining the Hawks Club.

Payment Method

Pay by Credit Card:

Mastercard, Visa, American Express, Discover
One click only, please!

Pay with Apple Pay or Google Pay:

Noozhawk partners with Stripe to provide secure invoicing and payments processing.
You may cancel your membership at any time by sending an email to .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

  • Ask
  • Vote
  • Investigate
  • Answer

Noozhawk Asks: What’s Your Question?

Welcome to Noozhawk Asks, a new feature in which you ask the questions, you help decide what Noozhawk investigates, and you work with us to find the answers.

Here’s how it works: You share your questions with us in the nearby box. In some cases, we may work with you to find the answers. In others, we may ask you to vote on your top choices to help us narrow the scope. And we’ll be regularly asking you for your feedback on a specific issue or topic.

We also expect to work together with the reader who asked the winning questions to find the answer together. Noozhawk’s objective is to come at questions from a place of curiosity and openness, and we believe a transparent collaboration is the key to achieve it.

The results of our investigation will be published here in this Noozhawk Asks section. Once or twice a month, we plan to do a review of what was asked and answered.

Thanks for asking!

Click Here to Get Started >

Reader Comments

Noozhawk is no longer accepting reader comments on our articles. Click here for the announcement. Readers are instead invited to submit letters to the editor by emailing them to [email protected]. Please provide your full name and community, as well as contact information for verification purposes only.