Kayak fishing

Shark fishing turned kayaking with dolphins

By February 26, 2019 4 Comments

Shark fishing with the Sundolphin BOSS 12 SS

Shark fishing with the Sundolphin Boss 12 SS fishing kayak.

Shore fishing for sharks at John’s Pass turns into unique dolphin experience


I know, I know, I know…  A Michigan based blog, focusing mostly on paddling and kayak fishing in Michigan… and my first post is about fishing in Florida!  

You’ll have to forgive me… but It’s winter here in Michigan right now and the only thing I can do is head south in search of warmer weather.

We were hoping to get everything with the site worked out and to get the fish cam up and running before winter so our first posts would overlap the tail end of the steelhead run before it got cold.  As is often the case though, things didn’t quite work out as planned, so we’ll start with an out of state trip and we’ll just have to wait a month or two before we can get the kayaks back on the water.    

On the up side, I’ve got some really awesome news to share about this site which I’ll share with you at the end of this post!

So back to Florida… warm, sunny Florida!

Treasure Island is an awesome little vacation spot on the gulf of mexico just to the north of St. Pete’s Beach.  My wife’s parents spend two weeks here every year around Christmas and luckily we have an open invitation to come down any year that our schedules allow us to.  Fortunately, we were able to find the time this year so we headed down to briefly escape the Michigan winter.

Joining us on the trip this year was a pair of  Sundolphin Boss 12 SS kayaks that a buddy of mine wanted me to try out while down in Florida.  So we threw them on our trailer and headed south, figuring that we’d find a way to use them on our trip.

One of the things on our bucket list this year was shark fishing from the beach.  Since witnessing a shore fisherman land a bonnet head shark on our last trip to Florida, my son has been asking me to go shark fishing the next time went down.

Having no idea what the correct set up should be, or what size of shark we might expect, we figured it would work out best if we asked for advice.

Our favorite tackle shop in the area is Gulf To Bay Bait and Tackle in St. Pete Beach.  Their staff has always been more than happy to provide tourists like myself with some local knowledge and this year was no different.  At the shop we met Henri, the 20 something year old son of the shop owners.

Henri’s excitement and passion for fishing is infectious to say the least and after we explained that we’d like to do some shark fishing, his energy level increased even more since it’s one of the things he loves to do.

The first thing he asked was if we had a kayak to use, to which we were happy to answer yes.  Then he explained the basic set up to use which is basically to run 65 lb braid main line to 5-6 feet of 100 lb mono.  The mono then connects to 3-4 feet of steel leader at the end of which is a 9/0 to 12/0 hook.  A sliding swivel is attached to the mono section to which your pyramid sinker is attached.

To be honest with you, this set up seemed like overkill to me… like how big could sharks in this area really be?  I do realize that the 100 lb mono is mainly for abrasion resistance, but this seemed like the equivalent of squirrel hunting with a 30-06.

Well a couple of hours into the first morning we learned that we were anything but overkill on our setup as our first two hookups ended breaking off.

Talk about getting my full attention!

As it turns out, we never got a chance to hook up with another large shark again.  I never thought we’d break off a rig, so I only bought two of them first time around.   The following day we picked up two more and managed to loose one to a grumpy old man in a Hobie kayak with a sail that ran right over line as he cruised the shoreline.  We yelled to him about our line to which he replied “so what!”… one can only hope that the 60 lb braid works it’s way into his pedal drive!   The second one we lost to a boater who felt like cruising the shoreline as well. After that we only got a half day of fishing  in due to strong winds that developed.

With all that happened, it  still turned out to be a great time.   My son got to land a couple of 3-4 foot sharks and we learned that we will definitely focus on shore fishing for sharks in the future.

The best experience though came near the end of day three and it’s something that my son will probably never forget.

As he paddled out to drop one of our freshly baited lines off, a pod of dolphins started playing right next to him in a fashion that we had never seen before.  My son would later recall that as he watched the events unfold, he felt like the dolphins were performing for him specifically and they seemed to be making eye contact with him and watching him as they played.

I was fortunate enough to get picture of the events as they unfolded and was able to record about 2 minutes of it on video as well.  As a father, I am grateful that my son got to experience that event.  Like most parents we always want what’s best for our kids, but as someone who loves the water and being in nature, there’s a small part of me wished that it would have been my turn to paddle the bait out!

Take a look and let me know what you think!

I’d like to ask you to please share some of your kayaking knowledge with our community.  We want to make it as easy as possible for people to unplug and reconnect with nature.  If you know of a great place to paddle, a great trip to take or even certain water access points, please consider sharing your experiences on this site for our community to enjoy!


  • Mark says:

    Thanks for the great story! Love the video and photos.

  • Outdoor Club Tokyo says:

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  • Thomas M Smith says:

    Why is Berrien Springs camera black? The lights are off maybe

    • Dr. Pete says:

      Sorry for the late response, we had thousands of spam comments and your’s got lost in the mix. The state shuts down the viewing room for the winter. We are at their mercy as to when they turn the lights back on in the spring. Lots of fish moving through right now! 🙂

      Make a great day!


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