Yesterday we covered the dangerous and deadly Bull Shark, today’s “Shark Week On Fly” is the elusive Leopard Shark. These sharks can be found all over the Pacific Coast of North America. The sharks are often scared of humans, making them harmless on most accounts and also very challenging to target on the fly.
Matus Sobolic explains his experience chasing Leopards, “It’s no secret that the California coast is littered with leopards most of the year, the secret is getting them to eat a fly.”
“If you’re lucky you may see one or two for a split second sliding along the sand before they disappear back into the waves never to be seen again.”
“There is however a very small window several weeks long each year where the fish come in shallow and in large packs to spawn.”
“I got the phone call and the word on the street was that it was going off so I called up the homie @Seth.blackamore. We arrived at the beach greeted by dark clouds and fairly rough surf. After about an hour or two of searching, we had already written the rumors off.”
“The ocean flattened out, massive flats started to form and we began spotting fish after fish cruising the surf. Sharks of all sizes ranging from ten to easily over eighty pounds cruising in around a foot or two of water.”
“Even with excellent clarity and multiple second windows to put our flies directly in front of them, they would swim right past them. In fact only about one out of every 30 fish we put a cast on would show any interest at all.”
“After about two hours and countless failed attempts I finally had one decide to eat and it was off to the races. My ten weight was bent to the cork for a solid 30 minutes with my reel constantly screaming from all the line I would gain on him peeling right back off with every massive run.”
“Using the surf I was finally able to drag him onto the beach with a crowd of onlookers cheering us on. We snapped a couple pics and let him go on his way sliding right back into the surf and continuing his path as if nothing happened at all.”
“With the fishing being as good as it was and realizing the significance of what we were seeing both Seth and myself immediately ended up canceling all the plans we had and fished for four of the next five days landing multiple leopards between the two of us very easily making it a trip that the two of us will never forget.”
Shark Attacks: According to the International Shark Attack File there has been one recorded non-fatal leopard shark attack back in 1955 off the coast of California. They are considered harmless by most biologists.
For more killer Leopard shark content be sure to give Matus a follow at @calicarpin
Photos courtesy of Seth Blackmore
Be sure to check out the other “Shark Week on Fly” pieces: