Mako sharks are no joke. They’ve developed the reputation as snaggletooths of the seas. Ray Kerico and Jeff Crilly of the Big Nutz Required in Seaside Heights NJ, (figures Jersey guys have the boat name like that) are used to battling makos, landing brutes over 400 pounds to their credit. What’s their key to mako success?
“Always start out by checking the weather patterns, water temperature, currents and eddies,” says Kerico. “We’re looking to set up on temperature breaks and waters in the 63 to 69 degree searching for that prime 68 degree water where we find most of our activity on mako sharks.” Kerico will set his game plan localizing around wrecks out 20 to 60 miles offshore, drifting water depths with a lot of contour, such as offshore ridges rolling over areas that fluctuate between 180 and 250 feet. “When we plan out our drift, we coordinate the wind, waves and plan our track take us over a couple of wrecks in the process. If you can find wrecks that lay in ledges and holes over an expanse of sea bottom, then that’s a good track.”
Kerico’s mako set ups include Accurate 80 reels matched with straight butt Calstar rods, rated Xtra Heavy at 80 to 130-pound class. Reels are spooled with 100-pound Momoi monofilament. From the running line is a size #9 540-pound Billfisher stainless steel ball bearing snap swivel tied via double Uni Knot. A shark rig crimped onto that swivel follows as this: A looped crotch protector crimped onto the swivel with a 10 foot section of 500-pound Berkley Big Game monofilament leader, crimped to a 300-pound M&M Tackle corkscrew swivel. From that swivel is a 5-foot section of AFW #15 wire rated at 240-pound, to which one end attached visa haywire twist to the swivel and the other haywire twisted to a Mustad 7699D Circle Hook. Depending on how swift the current is running, Kerico will attach 4 to 12 ounce bank sinkers with electrical tape right below the 540-pound snap swivel. That’s some serious hardware.
And for sharks of any kind, you bet chumming is key. “Drape two bunker chum buckets, one off the bow and one off the stern, and set four lines are set out at 90, 60 and 30 feet down, with a freelined pitch bait just within visual distance from the boat,” said Kerico. The plan is in motion. Now its up to you to do the hard work of battling one of the world’s apex predators.