Being that M reminded me I didnt post a follow up to "Gone Fishin", here ya go.
We hit Pawleys about 3pm, which is my preferred time to start catching bait (preferably pinfish, but any fish I can cut up or use live and whole works). Unfortunately, the pins weren't biting, so I had to start throwing the cast net. Caught a few finger mullet in the net, as well as one pinfish. Kept on trying, still nothing. We had some excess shrimp so I made the command decision to go ahead and head to the surf and see what happened.
Once we got to the beach itself, I set about getting my sandspikes and rods set up, get the rigs on the rods, etc. Once everything was set, I cut up one of the finger mullet to bait the 4 rods. Fortunately the little fish that weren't biting in the creeks were in the surf. We caught an abundance of bluefish and whiting, most of which ended up in my freezer to be ground into chum blocks for next summers shark fishing excursions.
After we had several blues in the cooler, I took one and chunked it out to be used on my "heaver" rods. They are termed "heaver's" because they are designed to cast 8 oz of lead plus bait as far as humanly possible (this human can get 150 yards with a good tailwind...my goal is 200). They're 12 feet long and are quite unwieldy until you get used to them. Enough about the rods.
I walked to the end of the jetty and let fly with one good cast, then another. After I walked the rods back down the jetty to the sandspikes, I settled into my chair to await the sound af a clicker screaming at the top of its lungs to come save it from a shark, red drum, stingray, chopper bluefish, or anything else big enough to eat a piece of bait that is 4 inches square.
It didnt take long and the first rod took off. I ran to it and set the hook, but couldnt do anything to turn the fish and watched it peel off 100+ yards of line, placing me in danger of being spooled. (For those of you non-surf fisherman, you use light line - 14-17lb test - in the surf in order to achieve maximum distance...physics of lower diameter line causing less friction = more distance. It was because of this I couldnt fish a very firm drag) I made the command decision to apply enough pressure to either turn the fish, break the line, or end up somewhere between the two. The line parted. Once I reeled it all the way in, my shock leader (24 ft of 50 lb test to withstand the force of 8 and bait being cast) was frayed 4-6 feet back from the knot, which told me I had a shark on and the skin rubbed through the line.
With this new knowledge in mind, I rerigged with steel leaders, recast, and once again settled in to await my quarry. After about 20 minutes, the other rod took off and I got a solid hookset. This fish again took me dangerously close to being spooled. I very carefully increased the drag, as well as chasing the fish parallel to the water in order to gain back line. Roughly 40 minutes later, a mile worth of running up and down the beach and 2 scrambles over a jetty, J had the spotlight on a 5ft sandshark swimming back and forth between the breakers. Another 5 minutes passed as I waited on the right wave to surf him into the beach on, presumably so I wouldnt get wet (it was cold). Finally got the right wave, surfed him in, and I got a closer look. It was a beautiful shark, no scars, and it was tagged! I committed the details of the fish (sex, size, breed) to memory to report to the taggers upon return home, and finally ended up getting soaked up to the knees getting him headed back in the right direction out to sea so I knew he was ok. I would guesstimate his weight between 60-70 lbs. On 15 lb test. :)
I stood there in the surf with the spotlight and watched him until I couldnt see the dorsal anymore. We didnt catch anything else that night, but it was ok. Fall nights on the beach dont get much better than that, unless of course you fall into a run of big red drum.