Land Based Seven Gill Sharks

Daniel Paull
Some people complain to me about the poor fishing these days. But when you see a story like this about two young blokes giving fishing their all it is refreshing. They are keen and "just do it'. Daniel Paull is already an awesome angler and is still a young teenager. Take lessons from this fine young man. Ed.

I became fascinated with seven gilled sharks since my first encounter with one. I have been fishing from Burnie for many years just as a weekend hobbie, and one day land based gamefishing came to mind.
Along with my good mate, Jeremy Shaw, we decided to begin a task that would take months if not years to complete. We had been fishing long and hard, every weekend the weather would allow us, sometimes for 18 hours straight.
Finally the burley stocks were built up and the old man would allow me to take some logs with me. We had worn out two burley buckets and it was many months before we managed to pull in a result.
It was a very quiet westerly afternoon on a Saturday in the midst of summer 2008 when we saw our first very large fish. It was a seven gilled shark.
This shark weighed about 45-50 kgs. We had been float fishing near the burley bucket when it swam inshore and into our vicinity. Both Jeremy and I stared in awe as the huge fish swam in and mauled the burley bucket. As Jeremy ran for the camera, I ran for the tackle box. Salmon rigs, draughtboard shark rigs, and whiting rigs aplenty, but no substantial shark rigs.
From the corner of my eye, I spotted an old couta trace with a 3/0 O`Shaughnessy hook attached to it. It was our only chance so I grabbed the trace and tied it onto my beach rod. Bait was the next problem, only having prawns and a striped tuna frame in the burley bucket. It also was our only chance.
As I threaded a small chunk of tuna on the hook the shark started to gain interest in the burley bucket and started chewing on the two ropes attached to it. Sure enough the ropes were chewed up and the burley bucket started to float away. As the burley bucket floated away I threw the bait to the right of the it. The Shark came up and grabbed the bait. As I struck the hook came loose and flew behind me. After that, the shark lost interest in the burley bucket. When it swam off, we headed home for dinner and a hot shower.
It was on the 5th of July 2008 Jeremy and I hooked our second seven giller. My old man, Mason, has a saying that I truely follow, "Keep the eyebrows in the middle!".
It was a midday tide and it was nearing 4:30 pm. We had been catching draughtboard sharks and good flathead all day so I decided to put the big gear out. I grabbed my Penn 45 GLS that was sitting next to my trusty tackle box and clipped on a circle hook trace I had prepared the week earlier. For bait I used an old piece of salmon dad had kept for me from Sinking Rock on the West Coast.
I flicked a bait out about 8 metres and sat the rod carefully down with the drag slackened off. It was about time to pack up when the other big beach rod started to bend. It was Jeremy's turn on the rod so he wound it in only to find a tiny draughtboard shark on the end. We de-hooked it and got a few happy snaps and returned it to the water.
As soon as the little shark hit the water a huge brown shape approached from the north. Suddenly the rachet on the 45 GLS started to howl. We were on to a huge seven giller. Jeremy dashed for the camera and I ran and picked up the howling 45 GLS. I put my thumb on the spool and let the shark take a bit of line and then I pushed the drag lever up to strike. The shark felt the pressure instantly and thrashed around on the surface. It thrashed about for a few minutes and then swam into some snags.
I pushed the drag lever up even further and wrestled it out of the snags and over the sandy bank. As the shark tired, I started to gain a little bit of line. As the minutes went on, I battled the large fish into a small bay were we got it into shallow water. I reached for the phone and dialed dads number.
I huffed and puffed into the speaker and told him to come as soon as possible, we have a shark on. It wasn't long before dad's white Landcruiser sped around the corner and stopped on the dirt track. He raced down to our aid and by this time Jeremy and I had it half way out of the water. Dad wrapped his arms around the collosal seven giller's tail and dragged it up the beach a little.
There we removed the hook and got a few photographs. We admired our catch for a few moments then dragged it back into the water and revived it. We had landed a seven gill shark weighing in at about 65 kilograms. We felt like heros
Soon after entering the water the sharks big tail swooped around and powered it of into the deep. Happy and proud, we headed home.

How to Catch:
We know shark fishing takes a lot of patience. If you want to tackle one of these giants onshore, you need the right gear. I believe that a 15kg overhead outfit will knock over any seven gill shark but a 10kg threadline outfit may just do the job.
In any shark fishing environment you must have burley and a bucket. For starters I would recomend using a small bucket you can purchase from most stores. For the burley, start off using mullet and salmon frames, tuna/fish oil and white bread. Remember, your burley trail is your key to success.
To have a succesful burley trail, I have found a 12:00 midday high tide works really well.
Cubing, like you would for tuna and other oceanic wanderers also works for burley. I find the best cubing burley is a couple of packets of blue bait or western Australian pilchards, mostly because these fish are very oily.
When hunting these big fish you must remember that the sharks dwell on rocky and weedy structures and often venture out onto the sand. The best place to fish for seven gill sharks is generally on break walls, jetties, wharfs and rocky points. You can also encounter one of these sharks while fishing on oceanic beaches.
Remember, seven gill sharks are bottom dwellers so it pays to have the bait on the bottom.
When deploying the bait for the shark remember, the shark has to come to you, you dont have to go to the shark. Have the bait close to the burley bucket so when the shark swims up the trail it will sense both the burley and the bait.
The traces should be at least three metres long and nylon coated. For hooks, I use a 12/0 to a 15/0 tuna circle hook, the reason for this is, when they take the bait down you only have to ease the drag up and mostly you will get a shark that is mouth hooked. This makes for easy release and a healthy fish swims away to fight another day.
Always cover at least half of the hook and at least 5 cm from the crimp with heat shrink or electrical tape. If the shark swims over the bait when it is baited with no protection, it will sense the electro-magnetic field around the hook and wire and will refuse to take the bait. And last but not least, the bait.
Seven gilled sharks are scavengers and hunters, so it doesnt really matter what you use for bait. I believe the more oily the bait the better so I personlly favour the salmon, striped tuna and mullet. If the bait looses its touch during long periods of time in the water, just soak the bait of choice in tuna/fish oil for five or more minutes.
Make sure to fish near, or on, sandy environments where the fish are easily spotted and handled. Just remember that patience is the key to any success in shark fishing, and these sharks can grow to in excess of 10 feet long and make for a great adversery off the rocks.

Now that winter is upon us, dont pack the gear away, give the PS3 or X-Box a spell and get outdoors, there are plenty of fish to target during winter. All you need is a bit of settled weather and a couple of good mates to have the time of your life.
Daniel Paull
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