I went fishing on the heels of Hurricanes Iselle and Julio, two storms which didn’t seem to affect our neighbourhood even slightly. The water was murky with run-off from rain in the mountains and there was quite a bit of debris washed up on the sand. I spent about an hour casting for bonefish along the flat without a bite, or even seeing any signs of fish. Strolling through the shallows back to shore I caught movement out of the corner of my eye and spotted a black-tipped shark fin in the water. I have spent some quality time with blacktip reef sharks, enough to say with confidence that this was a big fish! The gap between fin and tail definitely put it in the 6 foot plus range. The shark was cruising very slowly away from shore, no more than 40 feet from me. Now, I should probably have gone for my camera but instead I did what any self-respecting flats fisherman would do. I made a cast! I dropped my 3/16 ounce shrimp jig about six feet in front of the shark and gave it a couple of quick jerks but the shark showed absolutely no response and continued placidly into deeper water until it’s fin finally disappeared under the surface.
Two days later I got up at dawn and went out to the same area. After about 15 minutes I found a dozen tails in thigh deep water and hooked a nice bonefish. It made three long runs and I got it within about 15 feet of me before it came unhooked and swam to freedom. I fished for another hour or so until the sun was away from the horizon and called it a day. Just as I turned around I glimpsed, not more than 200 feet from me, a black tipped fin followed by a black tipped tail slip under the surface. I waited for a few minutes but the shark had gone. Though I didn’t get a good look, it may have been the same one I spotted two days earlier … is Iselle here to stay?