In this article, I will describe my recent adventure in the Atlantic Ocean, in Miami, Florida, USA. During this fishing trip, I had only the one goal: catching and releasing a giant shark. Would I succeed in my adventure? You will discover it very soon. Enjoy!

The target: Big Shark (possibly a decent size Bull Shark, Carcharhinus leucas)

The bull shark is one of the biggest and most aggressive species of sharks on the planet.

They are usually seen whilst diving, or they get caught on occasion by sport fishermen, though many times they act as a “tax-man”, eating at least half of your catch whilst you are still fighting with it!

The species is commonly found in warm and shallow waters, sometimes even in rivers, like the Mississippi River, in which they travel up to 1100 km from the ocean. Like most sharks, they are very curious animals and also tend to be in constant movement. For this reason, they need to be constantly eating almost 24/7.

The Adventure: 

Our adventure starts in Miami, Florida, leaving from the Key Biscayne Marina. The day begins pretty early in the morning, also due to the fact that we need to find some tasty big baits to catch a decent size shark. The first thing we start doing is trolling with big lures and sardines, in order to catch some bonitos or false albacore, which are very good baits if you want to catch a shark, also due to the fact that they can lose a big amount of blood yet remain quite lively at the hook.

After a few hours of trolling, no bonitos, no tunas, no false albacores. Nothing! As I’m sure you are well aware, fishing is a matter of time and, sometimes, everything just happens in seconds…and this was eventually the case, as we encountered a school of sailfishes hunting on sardines.

We soon got a couple of double strikes and we had some adrenaline fuelled moments that will always be stored in our memories.

So many sailfishes, all together, it would have been a dream for every sport fisherman, but not for us, not that day anyway. We were looking for something bigger and more aggressive. We were looking for a big bull shark!

After catching some good size sailfish, the fish activity again started to decrease, so did the hope. Suddenly, when everything seemed to be lost, we hooked a bonito and a false albacore! We finally had our good quality bait, and we could finally try to reach the goal of the fishing trip, which we had started to fear would be futile if we couldn’t get the desired bait. 

After few minutes, we hook the baits, using a Catalina rig, to keep them as lively and free moving as possible. The first bait gets in the water and it is just a matter of two or three minutes: STRIKE! A big fish just ate our bait and it is now hooked! The fight starts and it is very hard for us to get some line in because we are sure that we have hooked something pretty big.

After at least half an hour, we see it! It is huge! It is probably the biggest shark I have ever caught in my entire life and…yes, It is a bull shark!

After a good fight, we have the chance to take some good videos and pictures and are very promptly releasing it in the best way possible, removing completely the hook from its mouth. The bull shark we caught was approximately 250kg in weight…a very big shark!

After about another ten minutes: STRIKE 2!!! It was again another bull shark, still big but smaller than the last one. We fought it for 25 minutes, we unhooked it and we released it, following the same thorough but careful procedure as with the previous one!

What a great day! It is so satisfying when you are able to catch a big fish and give it its freedom again without any kind of harm.

I think that fishing is all based on respect: Respect for nature, respect for the other fishermen, respect for the preys. People think that fishing is 100% the fish you catch, they all think that the bigger the catch, the better the fisherman. 

For me, even if I have caught several record-breaking fish in my life, the catch is the least concerning part. When I go fishing, It is a moment in which I have the chance of spending some quality time out of the daily routine, it is an occasion to spend some time with friends and family, and to stay in contact with the sea. Trust me when I say that, the earlier you will forget about catching the biggest fish, the better will be your catches and the bigger will be your satisfaction.

Fishing is all about giving back.

This capture and overall adventure certainly goes down as one of my favourite fishing tales, in one of my favourite places in the World: Miami, FL, USA.

This catch has been so important to me, not only for the prestige of the big shark caught but critically because we released it in the best condition possible. It was vital, strong, and full of life.

I am pretty sure he is now chunking some big tunas while you are reading this article.

Sharks are still hunted nowadays, especially from fishing boats coming from Asia, because they have a good economic value in China and Taiwan, due to the infamous “Shark Fin Soup”.

The fishermen coming from Asia are well known for a horrific phenomenon called “finning”, which is basically the removal of the fins from the shark when it is still alive. After the removal, the shark is thrown back in the water to die due to blood loss, without any chance of survival.

Finning is one of the main threats to sharks and it needs to be stopped as soon as possible.

Sharks are fundamental for the marine environment, they are top predators in the food chain and they have the main duty of keeping all the systems in equilibrium. They must always get released, and whilst some may ask whether we should even be targeting them, the data provided by sport fishermen is vital to their wider protection. 

That big bull sharks of Miami will always be present in my memory…and I cannot wait to come back at it again. Right there, in the Atlantic Ocean…I cannot wait to be back in these ‘Shark Waters’.

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