Right now is such a beautiful time of year. Warm weather, calm seas, hungry fish and a few surprise showings greeted anglers taking advantage of spring-like conditions last week. As water temperatures continue to rise, fishing will only get better.
Capt. Elliott Taylor of Palmetto enjoyed the beautiful weather, venturing offshore March 9 in his Bradenton-made 24-foot T-Craft to do one of his favorite types of fishing, springtime sight fishing for cobia.
"We decided to bounce around an area 40 feet deep, looking for cobia," Taylor said. "There have been a few cobia showing up, and it's very visual fishing, one my clients enjoy in the springtime. As we were looking we saw something much larger and decided to investigate."
As Taylor, Colby Gregory and Matt Purinton got closer, they saw a large fin sticking out of the water, as a large shark cruised along the surface.
"This was not your average shark; its fin was sticking out of the water everywhere. We thought it was a white shark at first and went over to check it out and realized it was a large mako!"
With the opportunity to hook into the rarely seen visitor to the Gulf of Mexico, Taylor idled into range as Gregory hooked a live cigar minnow on a cobia rod to make a cast.
After a few casts, the mako showed no interest.
"I told him to reel the bait fast, and on the next cast it was like a light switch turned on," Taylor said, as the mako decided to make a meal of the hooked bait.
With the crew prepared for cobia, the sharp teeth of the mako luckily missed the fluorocarbon leader on the initial strike. No doubt landing the mako would be next to impossible without wire or steel leader and tackle needed to prevent a cutoff.
As Gregory reeled tight the mako realized something was amiss from its latest meal and started its initial run, leaping about 8 feet into the air and causing the leader to finally give way as the mako hit the water. Taylor caught the magnificent jump on video as he filmed from the tower of his T-Craft.
The mako was free once again, and despite the shark's highly acclaimed food value Taylor isn't quite sure it would've made his dinner table if landed.
"I don't know if we would have kept it," he said. "I'm just as happy it jumped off and just getting to see him and get him on video is a trophy in itself."
Interested in seeing the video? Visit Bradenton.com/outdoors and click the link associated with this article.
Capt. Elliott Taylor can be reached at 941-526-7516.