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Fishing for Sharks and Tagging Sharks with Guide Tyler Barnes

Fishing for sharks is something that may be on your bucket list if you have a taste for a good fight and an interesting time. ANGLR Expert Tyler Barnes is a guide based out of Emerald Island, North Carolina near Swansboro. He’s been there his whole life, growing up in the backwaters.

What was once a thriving fishing community has settled into small town USA. Barnes grew up in a commercial fishing household, so fishing was just a way of life. His Dad’s always been a commercial gillnet fisherman, going after flounder, redfish, trout, and roe mullet. They also went after shrimp in the summertime. He’s been shark fishing for 12-15 years.

We talked to him right after the January lunar eclipse, when he was out enjoying the spectacular view while doing what he loves.

While full moons are a real draw, “there are mixed feelings about what an eclipse actually does and doesn’t do,” says Barnes.

Fishing for Sharks: Monitoring Their Movements

We’ve started to pinpoint what time of the year certain species of sharks should be here. I have buddies that fish for grouper offshore, so I get reports on what’s going on in the weeks prior to them coming inshore. When they’re starting to catch sandbar sharks in 600 feet of water, I know we’re within three weeks of sandbar season here on the beach. Sand tigers or ragged tooths come in about that time as well. Those are most of the ones that you typically see in aquariums. Those are the first species we start to see here.

February and into April is when our season really starts to kick off, depending upon the weather, but April is when I really start to get the itch.

The sharks travel through the months up and down the coast, returning around the same time of year. I’ve had multiple sharks that I caught in North Carolina that had been in Florida three to four months earlier. They were healthy as can be and had new mating scars that they didn’t have on their way down there. That’s one thing that the authorities really pay attention to: how many scars they have on them. It shows the mature females and males. We take pictures of the significant scars to document.

Fishing for Sharks: Recording Their Movements

Everything I do, I write down. I have fishing logs that go back years. That’s why the ANGLR App has become so special to me. I don’t have to worry about writing anything down anymore. It’s been a substantial help to me, especially this time of the year when I’m starting to speckled trout fish and having to pinpoint where I am. In the summertime, it’s been really cool to see where all my sharks have come from.

I meet my charters at 7:30 pm because you can’t shark fish during the day; there’s too many people and they don’t realize that they’re swimming with them! Once my tagging really starts to kick in, I stay fishing the same pier. Once they’re there, they’re a resident for three to four months. They’ll come and go offshore, but they don’t go far.

We often see the same ones over and over. The sharks are frequently hooked by pier anglers that decide they don’t want to tangle with them, so they break the line off. “Local” is one that I’ve caught about four times within about a six month period. Then I caught her again a year later with hooks from a long-lining vessels still attached. The last time I caught her, I actually caught her hook to hook.

Fishing for Sharks: Tagging Sharks through NOAA

When catching a shark, first, you need to land it. Once it’s landed, the first thing we do is get a measurement from the tip of the nose to the tip of the tail, then we sex it. The male will have what is called a clasper. The tags come from the NOAA through their Apex Predator Program.

They’re applied just below the top fin in the side of their back, about ¼-inch in and are not harmful to the fish. A piece of monofilament with a small capsule hangs out with their number. It holds a scroll, three in each capsule. It includes a 1-800 number to call-in with the information.

Fishing for Sharks: Having the Right Gear

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Most of what I do is on 13-foot medium heavies and extra heavy rods rated for six to eight ounces casting weight. I’m currently using Penn Spinfisher VI 8,000 to 10,000 series reels. I also use Daiwa BG 8,000’s with 50-75-pound braided lines that go to a rig made with 400-pound leader. My cast baits use a 16/0 hook.  My current rig is a 13’-6” rod using a Daiwa Ballistic that was custom-built for me in Hatteras, North Carolina for what I do.

Those are my cast bait style rods; what the charter clients see.

Those are meant for 8 to 10-ounce chunks of fish: fish heads, backbone sections, anything bloody and fishy. The bigger fish we catch, upwards of 12-feet, are on 80 wide reels. They’re rods rated for 250-300 pounds; basically a tuna rod. It’s the exact same setup I use for bluefin tuna fishing in the fall.

Fishing for Sharks: Selecting the Right Bait

We kayak the baits out, using everything from pieces of tarpon to bigger fish heads: amber jacks and spanish mackerel.

The bait of choice I stock up on in the summertime is stingray. Any stingray I get comes home and goes in my freezer. We’ll use anything from a five-pound chunk, as big as a dinner plate, all the way up to 40- and 50-pound chunks. We use a 21/0 hook that looks like a butcher’s hook.

I take the 80-wide reel sitting on the beach in a rod holder and have someone take the bait 300 to 500 yards offshore in a kayak. They drop it in because there’s no way to cast that big of a bait to the zone where the big fish are. I’ve caught some big sharks that were pretty close to the beach, but most of the bigger ones are farther out.

I’ve seen everything from a six-foot tiger shark, seven-foot bulls, and even 12-foot duskys. They are an endangered species we get here that migrate amazing distances. They frequent Australia, staying out in the shipping channels where it’s really cold. But they migrate with the tuna so they go the South Africa route, all the way to the Bahamas, and the dusky’s follow. They say some of them travel all the way across the world, and some stay a couple hundred miles offshore here and come back every winter. They’re the meanest of the mean that we get here. They’re a tank, clocking in around 300-400 pounds.

Fishing for Sharks: Preparing for Battle

You put a fighting belt on, put a harness around your shoulders and you hang on!  The circle hook does the work. It finds the corner of the mouth and grabs it. When you set pressure on it, it will pull itself into place. When they take off you just pretty much watch the reel, sounding like a chainsaw sitting on idle while he’s pulling out drag like a blue marlin would. You start applying more and more drag and when you get to the point where your line is completely tight, take a couple of steps backwards and let it lay into itself to finish that stretch and let it pop itself in.

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You let that circle hook do its job.

I’ve had fights last 5 minutes, and I’ve had fights last 2 hours. Every time you get him close to the beach and he gets his head in the sand, and there he goes again. They’re fighting for their life at that point and survival instincts kick in. You get line when you can get line. Let them do their thing.

Once you let them start to relax a little bit and they’re not peeling off drag, then you keep solid tension and keep getting as much line as you can. I’ve seen some take 700 yards like it’s nothing. I’ve seen 80-wide reels start to smoke from the fish pulling the drag out that fast. I’ve had blisters on my hand from it being so hot. Sometimes we have to take bottles of water and dump them over the reel to keep them cooled down. Otherwise, it’ll start melting your line from the inside out, and line starts to fuse together.

Nothing’s worse than hooking a big fish and getting to the bottom of your spool and it being completely melted. Pop! It’s gone.

Fishing for Sharks: Everyone Has Their Fair Share of Mishaps

I got a bloody nose from a rod this year while out with one of my charters. I use weights that are almost like a five-prong grappling anchor with a heavy setter. If they’re left out there too long, they’ll get buried in the sand. If there’s a weak point anywhere in your tackle, they’ll break. My full 200# self was laid back into a rod trying to get one to come out. When the line broke, it drilled me so hard, my hat and GoPro were literally 10 feet behind me. I laid there on my back, all I could do was laugh. Turns out, it had split the center of my nose!

What you’ll learn with fishing for sharks is that there is never a dull moment when sharks are involved!

Inshore Kayak Fishing for Redfish in North Carolina

Think you’d like to try your hand at inshore fishing, but not quite sure how to get started? ANGLR’s turned to yet another ANGLR Expert, Steve Moore, to give the low down on exactly how you can get started inshore kayak fishing for redfish or red drum.

He lets you know what you need to get by, and what you can’t live without. He’ll be sure not to lead you astray, too. He writes the “Kayak Hacks” column for Southern Kayak Fishing Magazine and hosts the popular YouTube channel Kayak Hacks Fishing.

Steve has put together the most comprehensive guide to hunting down redfish from a kayak you can find.

Inshore Kayak Fishing: Introduction

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Moore’s intro sums it all up well: Get educated. It doesn’t matter how avid an angler you are, if you’re entering a new area and have no knowledge, that’s how you’re going to get it! Get yourself to local club meetings, go out with experts that can show you the ropes, and listen to other fishermen.

How to Catch Redfish: Two Revelations

Moore reveals two gems that he discovered about inshore kayak fishing for red drum, and why he’s so gung-ho to share his knowledge and experience with you.

Inshore Kayak Fishing: Where to Catch Redfish

You know they’re there, but where? What strategy should you use to locate the perfect spot to pounce? Moore shows you how to systematically analyze the water before you even head out. He walks you through, step by step, exactly where to target for redfish and at what point. How often have you been into a school of fish, only to have things suddenly dry up with no warning? You know they’ve moved with the tide, but how can you predict when? Moore explains how to pair your experience with the ANGLR App to figure it out.

Inshore Kayak Fishing Gear

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This isn’t what you think. Moore doesn’t just throw a ton of brand names and specs at you, telling you exactly what kayak you ought to buy. He goes deep into the more important aspects of kayak fishing – like safety!

There are risks associated with kayak fishing, especially on inland waters, and there are things you need to know that, believe it or not, are more important than just where to find the fish. He takes you through it all before he even gets into the good stuff.

You don’t need a fancy, expensive kayak to keep up, so Moore clues you in on some common modifications you can make to your own kayak so that you’re ready to head out for a successful day with efficiency, and in comfort.

Redfish Inshore Kayak Fishing Lures, Baits & Tackle

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If you’ve had some experience kayaking, this may be the section you’ve been chomping at the bit for. He teaches you how to consider what red drum are eating in your area. Moore walks you through the entire selection process, from start to finish. So, by the time you’re done, you’ve got a first-rate set-up and you’re ready to nab them.

Top Redfish Inshore Kayak Fishing Tips

These are the little-hidden gems that expert anglers and newbies, alike, look for. Moore shares with you tips that he’s picked up over the years from both his successes and his mistakes. By the time you’re done, you’ll feel like you’ve been there, done that!

Now put it all together with your ANGLR App and Bullseye, so you can track where you found them! That way, you’ll know exactly were to return to and when!

Fishing Intelligence Podcast Ep. 8 | Tidal Fishing With Steve Moore

We are now eight episodes into the Fishing Intelligence Podcast and we are back to covering some saltwater fishing! On this week’s episode, Steve Moore joins me as we talk about kayak fishing for Redfish in his hometown of Wilmington, North Carolina. During my time on the ANGLR tour, I was lucky enough to go out and fish with Steve from my Bonafide kayak while he was fishing out of his Jackson Coosa HD pedal drive.

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Needless to say, the pedals kick the paddles butts!

Tidal Fishing and Saltwater Fishing

We started off by talking about how influential the tide is on saltwater fishing. If you go into a tidal area and haven’t taken the time to check out what the tides are doing, chances are you are going to get blanked. The best ways we found to learn the tides were to hire the services of a guide and let him teach you, or to go out and experiment by yourself while taking notes on locations and tide levels when you catch fish.

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Chances are if you catch them in a certain spot at a certain tide, you’ll be able to use this to home in on where the fish are residing at certain times.  Photo Credits: Almanac.com

Fly Fishing vs. Spinning Gear

Steve and I also discussed the differences between targeting fish on the fly and with spinning gear. While we both agree that fly fishing is a more exciting way to target fish, it is much more challenging than spin gear and is easier to utilize when the fish are making themselves visible through tailing or popping on bait.

How To Get Into Kayak Fishing

We finished up the episode by discussing how you can get into kayak fishing. You don’t need to spend all of the money in the world to have an effective rig. A used kayak with DIY builds on it will store all of your gear and hold your rods for a much cheaper price than if you buy a new kayak and all of the storage and rod holders from the shop. One of the best tips that Steve gave in this episode was to use what works.

We also went over some key baits at the end of the episode! Here’s a little secret, for me, my favorite saltwater lure is the Saltwater Assassin Sea Shad paddle tail in Electric Chicken with a ¼ jig head. 

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You will catch all saltwater fish with this rig. Photo Credits: Bassassassin.com

 

For more tips from Steve, check out his YouTube channel Kayak Hacks Fishing and tell him the podcast brought you there!

Want to learn more about kayak fishing? Learn more than you thought possible with over 100 kayak tips from the professionals

 

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How to Catch Speckled Trout With North Carolina Guide Tyler Barnes

General Info About Speckled Trout

Speckled Trout are a saltwater species found in the southern United States along the coasts of the Gulf of Mexico and along the Atlantic Ocean. This predatory species is similar to that of a  freshwater Walleye.

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This predatory species is similar to that of a freshwater Walleye. Just check out those teeth!

Speckled Trout have a long spawning season, from spring through the summer. The spawning occurs in shallow grassy flats found along inshore estuaries. It takes approximately one to two years for a Speckled Trout to reach 12 inches in length. This, of course, is all dependent on the availability of forage and shelter.

An average Speckled Trout is anywhere from 11 to 14 inches in length. The limit here in North Carolina is 14 inches. Some of the above average Speckled Trout can get up to 26 inches. A citation Speckled Trout here in North Carolina is over 5 pounds which normally go 26 to 35 inches. We refer to these as “Gator Trout”. The little ones are commonly referred to as “Spikes”.

In my experience, the colder the weather is, the better the fishing is. These Speckled Trout seem to fire up when it gets incredibly cold out. I’ve had my best days when my reel is dang near frozen. That being said, on most days, in the right area, you can catch anywhere from 10 to 20 fish in an outing.

Baitfish are a common forage for Speckled Trout. Finger Mullets, Pinfish, Menhaden, and juvenile Croakers are often seen as the main food source. Speckled Trout also home in on live shrimp and mud minnows when the opportunity is right. Those two are quintessential in replicating with your Speckled Trout baits come winter time.

Where To Target Speckled Trout

The Speckled Trout normally look for edges of oyster rocks where there are tide breaks and deeper holes where the tide can get a little more slack. They seem to feed right in the slack next to the heavy current areas. The baitfish will wash in from the heavy current right into the slack which makes it a prime feeding area.

They also like to lay on the edge of a flat right where the lip to deeper water is. This allows the bait to come across the edge of the flat right over their head. When targeting these areas, suspending lures will work really well.

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Here’s a healthy “Gator Trout” I landed this year on a suspending lure!

The majority of their feeding occurs while the fish are looking up for baitfish to come above them. Their patterning allows them to blend in incredibly well with the bottom. Another area to target is in the deeper areas of creeks or flats. In a creek that’s five to six foot deep on average, find a channel swing with a deeper hole can pay dividends. The Speckled Trout seem to stage right on the edge of the deeper area. Similar to how they stage on the edges of the flats.  

Surf Fishing For Speckled Trout

You can catch them in the surf, but my main focus areas for Specks is up the backwater creeks. Usually, in the early spring, they are easier to catch in the surf. This is when a lot of bait is moving along the coast following the cooler water as it makes its way North. In the fall, the small ones seem to be in the surf but normally it’s only “spikes” as the bigger fish don’t feel as safe in the surf conditions that time of year.

They push up the creeks because that’s where the majority of the bait gets pushed and piled up in the fall. This allows the trout to sit and feed up the creeks as the tide comes in and out. Tide rips off of a point, channel swings and deeper slues are my main areas to target. Anywhere there is a variation in-depth, the Specks are usually stacked. Sometimes they will push up onto the flats to the sun and warm up similar to how Redfish act.

Slack Tide Speckled Trout

When the tide is slack, the bite is normally very tough. They really only seem to feed in the heavy tide as they are ambush predators. You can find still find them feeding in the deeper holes but usually, the bite isn’t nearly as good as when the tide is ripping. To entice them during slack tide, playing with your retrieval speeds is key!

The Best Time of Day For Speckled Trout

Speckled Trout seem driven to feed when there is a tidal movement which pushes baitfish, or with changing light conditions. This is most likely due to the fact that during these changing light conditions the bait becomes more active. For me, the morning bite is the best time of day to catch not only numbers but also some bigger fish.

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Getting pulled around in a kayak by some big ol’ Specked Trout… there’s really not a better way to start off your day!

The mid-day bite can be difficult. Usually, unless the tide is occurring during the middle of the day, I use this mid-day lull to move spots or check my other areas for a higher concentration of baitfish.

From just after lunch until the evening, your live bait will shine. Artificial baits can get the job done, but because the Speckled Trout get finicky around this time of day, it’s much easier to fill your limit using live baitfish.

The evening bite is normally a good bite, but not nearly as good as the morning or night bite. I always seem to experience a little lull between last light and true dark conditions. I have also done well fishing late into the night. My best times at night are from around 10 to 2 o’clock.

Time of Year To Catch Speckled Trout

Here in North Carolina, we begin pursuing Speckled Trout around the end of September or the beginning of October. It’s one of the fall species we all know and love. As I stated, they migrate with the colder water and show up right at the end of when the live shrimp are migrating through.  In the fall, they will also pursue and eat Mullet which are of abundance right now. Speckled trout stay concentrated in our area until right around March. This is when they begin their migration north, with resident fish being an exception

Common Baits And Lures For Speckled Trout

Hard Bait Lures for Speckled Trout

There are plenty of lures on the market, so I’m going to give you all my preferences. My best lure, hands down, is a Mirrolure 17MR suspending twitchbait. That thing is deadly. Not only do I catch loads of fish on it, but most of my bigger fish come off of that lure. My favorite colors to recommend are pinks, greens, reds, and the VPB color at night.

Another one of my favorites is the Paul Brown slow sinker shaped like the popular bait fish, Menhaden. With the Paul Browns, I always bring them in pinks, whites, blacks, and natural pinfish colors. This allows me to be prepared for almost any water clarity.

Two of my favorites that are often overlooked by most anglers would be Rapala X-Raps Chatterbaits in a pinfish color or following natural baitfish color schemes. In my opinion, the Speckled Trout are more focused on the noise aspect of these baits. If it has rattles or makes noise they will eat it… plain and simple.

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Here’s a look at some of my favorite Speckled Trout baits!

Soft Plastics For Speckled Trout

My best soft plastics are without a doubt the Storm Wildeye shrimp, and the Egret Baits Vudu shrimp. I throw these soft plastic pre-rigs in a pink or natural color. I also do well on tiger and lime or a pure white.

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Some other notable mentions regarding soft plastic baits would be the Gulp shrimp and Z-man shrimp in morning wood or shrimp Po Boy colors.

Some soft plastic baitfish style lures I would recommend having are a Jerkshad which is known by most freshwater guys as a zoom super fluke. I also recommend throwing paddle tail swimbaits that resemble mullet in a golden brim or lightning shad color. As a final note, a secret tool I never leave home without is the Gulp! Pogy soft baits. They resemble menhaden and I always like to bring along some crazy colors!

Rod And Reel Setup For Speckled Trout

My favorite soft plastics setup for Speckled Trout is definitely my Star Stellar Lite rod in medium or medium light. I recommend a rod length from 6’6” to 7’ with a nice tip to be able to feel the bump or thump. The biggest thing with Speckled Trout is, you have got to be ready to set the hook quick upon feeling that bite. My favorite reel for that rod setup is bar none, the Penn Spinfisher VI in the 3500 long cast version.

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Here’s a look at some of the setups I take with me when chasing these Speckled Trout!

My hard baits setup differs a little. I prefer an Abu Garcia Veritas series or a Fenwick in a 7’ to 7’6” with a little longer tip to have longer ranged casts. I usually prefer medium to medium heavy action so I’m able to twitch the lure and have a backbone when setting those treble hooks in. For a reel, I prefer a Shimano Stradic 4000 for hard baits.

Line Setup For Speckled Trout

This is a word to the wise, don’t overthink your line. I recommend using a 10-pound PowerPro braid or Diawa J-Braid with a 15-pound fluorocarbon leader. I lean towards using the Yo-zuri HD pink leader. I recommend this setup because it offers great abrasion resistance which is key since that light braid is so thin. I always tie my leaders with a Double-Uni knot or an FG knot.

If you’re heading out looking for a great day fishing the coast, don’t pass up the opportunity to set the hook into some Speckled Trout. They are certainly one of my favorite species to catch, and my clients love to get out and chase them with me! I hope that after reading this, you feel more prepared for your next outing chasing after these beautiful fish!

Speckled trout regulations? Checkout how Fish Rules makes fish regulations easy.

Fishing Intelligence Podcast Ep. 5 | Shark Fishing And Hurricane Florence With Tyler Barnes

This is now the fifth episode of the Fishing Intelligence Podcast and I am talking with Tyler Barnes out of North Carolina. Tyler is a fishing enthusiast in the area as well as a surf fishing guide primarily targeting big sharks with his Fins On The Beach guide service. Unfortunately, North Carolina got blasted by the hurricane just a week earlier so I’m talking with Tyler to learn about the damages this hurricane caused and what they do to the fishery.

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Tyler and I with a beautiful Lemon Shark from Episode 24 of the ANGLR Tour!

We start the podcast off talking about how the actual storm went. Tyler stayed at his house in North Carolina for the storm after a lot of thought and told me about how terrible the weather truly was at its worst. There were downed trees, flooded homes, and blown out structures. Even though the weather was terrible and conditions were dangerous, Tyler went out of his way to go help shrimpers who had their boat beached in a nearby river and provided shelter for them while the storm continued.

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To book a trip with Tyler, visit Fins On The Beach Guide Service!

After telling me stories about the damage and aftermath, we transitioned to the fishing side of things. Apparently when a hurricane moves through, it moves massive amounts of sand with it and completely changes the beaches. This actually improved the near shore fishing in the area because the drop of became closer to shore and provided a different habitat for the fish.

I would have never thought a positive could come from a hurricane but that’s the attitude of people living on the coast when a storm comes is to find the best in it. After talking about the changes the hurricane cause, we discussed the recent shark fishing success he’s been having for his guided trips and how he is getting multiple runs a night from his surf rigs. Thanks for listening and be sure to check out Tyler’s services if you are in the Emerald Isle area!

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