Orange Beach Shark Fishing - Have you ever touched a live shark?
Our obsession with shark fishing started early in life
We were teenagers in the mid 1970’s when the movie “Jaws” was released in theaters. We were all just kids when our parents let us watch this masterpiece of a film that had all of us scared to go in the water. The water on the Alabama Gulf Coast has always been a murky green color or brown, but it has never been clear. Clear water is in the Florida Keys I guess. Putting a mask on while swimming in the Gulf Shores surf was almost a waste of time for us boys. We could only see a couple of feet in front of us. After the Jaws movie, we just knew that the monster shark that devoured the town of Amity was only just out of sight, waiting to eat us up. It was almost freaky to go underwater, holding your breath, looking around and praying that Jaws would not come eat us. Being a teenager during that era was priceless. There was nothing like a good scare to get the blood pumping.
At an early age because of this movie, we developed a curiosity of sharks. We wanted to get them, before they got us. We purchased an old 1970’s model 18″ Boston Whaler and had her fitted with a 40 h.p. Mercury that worked most of the time. We began going out of Alabama Point at night time and fishing for sharks. We took a strong braided nylon rope and coupled it to a cable and a big hook. We would go around to different docks and get scraps from the commercial fishermen, to make our chum. We tied a milk jug to the end of my line with a rubber band in order to let the tide take my bait away from me and further out to sea. It was a nightly ritual during my Summer days we spent in Orange Beach.
Shark fishing was tough in the beginning. Nobody ever told us how to do it properly until we met an old salt at Browns Gas Station that used to be located at the bridge at “Alabama Point” or what is now known as Perdido Pass. This old man was named “Mr. Jim” and he taught us how to catch those monster sharks. He gave us an old Penn 12 ought reel that had braided line on it. We could not wait to take her out and catch us a monster jaws shark. After we hooked into our first large shark and fought it for over 4 hours, we decided that our way of using a large rope, tied to a cleat was a whole lot easier to fight a big shark. That shark whipped us and cured us from trying to catch big sharks on traditional tackle. That was hard work. We still loved to catch those big boys and bring them in to the dock and show them off.
Over the years, we caught over 20 Bull Sharks in the 400 to 500 pound range and hundreds of Black Tips. It was a fun time in our life and we will always remember being the kids who brought the big sharks in by the tail each morning.