The 2017 NJ Shark Season Begins… Two Personal Bests!

Well another year has passed and another season is finally upon us!

Not 24 hours after returning to NJ, Dan and I wasted no time and got straight to work. Both of us went on separate bait hunts and came up with a decent variety for the night. As we neared our destination, there was an excitement in the air. One that only coincides with mystery, which is exactly what the first night always brings. You can take your best guesses, and use what you know to make informed decisions, but during that first excursion, you just don’t know what the ocean has in store for you.

Anyway, right away we kayaked two baits out. A whole medium-sized (floridian) stingray and a whole 1 pound eel. Neither got touched, so we casted a few as well.

Things looked grim for a bit before Dan has a slow steady run…. “Is that…?”

“Yes!” And we were on!


Dan’s largest Sand Tiger to date, measuring at 8’2.

Not 30 seconds after she was released, the 9/0 starts screaming, something has taken the eel!

That something was this 6’2 Sandbar:

The night slowed from there, aside from the fact that we got to deliver and release 10 dogfish pups back into the ocean, we had a few decent runs here and there, but nothing would stick.

Towards the end of the night I get a nice run, I set the hook and the fish comes racing to the top and explodes on the surface pushing a wall of water twice, immediately followed by one of the most blistering runs I’ve had on spinning tackle. This was a very strong fish and we were baffled for a bit… Until we saw the dorsal of an absolutely massive Sandbar, measuring in at 7’7, making it not only the biggest one I’ve caught, but the biggest one I’ve ever seen on a Jersey beach by far! That Madd Mantis prototype has continued its streak of impressing me, as it subdued this shark quite nicely.

We had a few more runs, but were content to call it a very successful early season trip. This marks the second year in a row with multiple personal bests on the very first night of the season!

The action will only be heating up from here, and dates are starting to disappear quickly, so if you want to get in on this action and have a day in mind, please check out the calendar to ensure it’s availability.

I look forward to fishing with you all and I will see you on the sand!

– AJ

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