John Skinner is the author of Fishing the Bucktail and A Season on the Edge. He’s the creator of the fishing log software FishersLog. He’s a consistent producer of trophy striped bass and holds the current New York State false albacore record.
For a one night summer diversion I decided to attempt to catch a shark from the beach. I'm not sure if there are more of them in close than in years past, or if it's just that more surf anglers are targeting them, but quite a few brown and sand tiger sharks have been landed in the South Shore surf this summer. So it was off to the beach with some fresh bluefish in the cooler to chunk for the first time in many years. I was at it for hours without a good hit, but somehow the time flew by because the moonlit night was so gorgeous. A couple of hours before dawn I went from getting sleepy to hanging on to a heavily bending rod as line smoked off the reel. It wasn't a shark, but a huge 71-inch Butterfly Ray instead. It was a great battle, and I think I was most excited to see it flap off into the darkness on the release. Not a bad way to spend a summer night.