A Miami University study has indicated that tiger sharks are moving north 14 days earlier than normal and up to 250 miles poleward into waters previously thought to be too cold for them.
Those changes are believed to be a result of climate change and a consequent rise in water temperatures, though I didn’t get any reports of unusually high offshore readings last year. Tiger sharks were never abundant off N.Y. and N.J., though they weren’t an uncommon catch. Indeed, big ones could be targeted.
I had been sharking with Jesse York out of Atlantic Beach, Long Island many years ago when he started catching big tigers near the Texas Tower, so I headed out there years after that when the Jersey Coast Shark Anglers ran a High Rollers Shark Tournament, and I figured it would take a tiger to win it. My charter, Big Mike Koblan, ended up reeling in a tiger over 700 pounds that presented quite a problem for us to get into my Aquasport 28 center console, but we made it back to Point Pleasant to easily win the contest. That was one of the last shark tournaments where any species counted, and I never went back to my “honey hole”. Charters were more interested in catching a sporty and good-eating mako rather than wrestling with a tiger.
Every so often I’d spot a big tiger on the surface, and that was the case when I was chartering at Montauk and a young Dave Riback was being treated to a tuna trip by his father. We saw the shark on the surface while heading back, and I had a rigged bait ready in the cooler which was slow trolled in front of the tiger which took it like manna from Heaven. Dave, who’s now captain of the Queen Mary from Point Pleasant, fought that monster to boatside before I clipped the wire leader for a release.
Small tigers were also caught on occasion in those days while sharking, but that has declined due to strict regulations — making it difficult to get any idea of their present status in northern waters.
Tough weather continues as the Thursday forecast is for north winds at 10-15 knots with gusts to 20 plus snow and rain in the morning.
The Jamaica from Brielle hasn’t been able to get out on Saturday and Sunday offshore wreck trips for jumbo porgies due to the weather. There’s also a chance for cod and pollock on those trips which sail at midnight Friday and Saturday. Reservations are required, and can be made by calling 732 528-5014.