Preying on Predators
The first step is to lure sharks in with an effective chumming method. This can be as simple as dropping a chum bag over the side of the boat with several blocks of ground menhaden (bunker). You can also supercharge the chum with oil from fresh-cut menhaden or any old fish carcass. Most times chum blocks are all you'll need. Chumming while drifting can be a productive way to locate sharks, and when they arrive you can anchor or continue to drift. As I said before, most anglers in my neck of the woods chum for sharks because the wind is up and the seas are choppy. Drifting makes these conditions more tolerable, but if you're moving faster than 1.5 knots, you might consider dropping a sea anchor over the side to slow your pace.
While the slick feeds out from the boat and you wait for the guests of honor, it's a good time to rig up. You'll need wire shock tippets to deal with the teeth, and tieable versions like Tyger and Boa make adding these very easy. Most of these materials can be attached with double surgeon's knots. Lefty's Deceivers are effective fly patterns, especially all white; red and orange; red, orange and yellow; and olive and white. It's a good idea to have some with more flash than others. For rods, 9- to 11-weights rigged with intermediate fly lines are perfect for sharking, but you might also want to keep one rigged with 20-pound tippet, 30-pound mono shock and your favorite fly in case other species like cobia or jacks show up in the slick.
As you're rigging and once you're ready to go, keep looking down the chum slick for sharks. That's the advantage of this method - you know where they'll come from. In the Outer Banks, most Atlantic sharp-nose and blacktip sharks will be small - 36 to 50 inches long - but I have seen bigger ones. Like many other kinds of sharks, both of these species can be very timid at times, but they will chase and eat flies. Other regular visitors to my local chum slick are hammerheads and the occasional sandbar shark. In different areas you'll be looking for different species.
The more sharks that appear in the chum slick the better - overall they are shy, but they become more aggressive with competition. When they start to gather in the chum slick, the most effective way to target them is to sight-cast to them. Try to keep the fly in front of the shark and strip it slowly. You have to watch closely; sharks will rub the sides of their heads on the fly to try to get a "feel" of a potential meal. If the fly disappears, set the hook immediately. Another good tactic is to make longs casts toward the end of the chum slick and retrieve the fly slowly. This blind-casting will often bring strikes from sharks hanging in the back of the slick.
Even with the right chum techniques, sharks sometimes need a little encouragement. A live teaser will certainly fire things up, and it works great for bait-and-switch. Live eels are easy to get in most areas and easy to use. Just take a spinning rod with a mono leader and use either a small hook or a snap swivel to attach the eel through the mouth. If eels aren't available, squid strips work very well, too. You can also cut up the squid and pitch a few pieces into the water, then cast an all-white Deceiver. Either way, hold your teaser close to the boat, and, when a shark tries to take it, pull it away but not too far. Have the angler cast a fly near the bait, or lead the shark to the fly with the bait.