Two months have pretty much just flown by here. Over all, the entertainment value has been good, weather has been pretty good and the people I’ve been fishing with first rate. Jacks, ladyfish, pompano, bluefish, ( some very large for us, up to ten lbs ) , spanish mackerel, ( some huge, we boated one that was 9.5lbs ), and some very good king mackerel fishing, ( including one I caught on a nine weight that went into the twenty pound range ). A veritable pot pourri of activities has kept us entertained though January and February. There were a couple of days I wish I had gone out for sailfish, the bite that went off was truly astounding. During the Silver Sailfish Derby that the West Palm Beach Fishing Club puts on every January was one of those bites. This years tourney shattered old records with numbers of sailfish being released that would rival anywhere in the world. First day of the tourney, sixty boats released somewhere around a hundred eighty sailfish. As if that was just a warm-up, day two totals were close to four hundred sailfish being released! And day three was another very good day with another almost two hundred sailfish releases. Those are the kind of numbers I wish I was on the spot for with a fly rod, but we were in on the beaches doing battle with the spinner sharks. The sharks that were here in the early part of the season were CK fish, “customer killers” . Huge sharks, the biggest I’ve ever seen grouped up in the area. We weren’t finding any under eighty pounds, and hundred pound sharks were the average size. Biggest boated/released was right around a hundred twenty pounds. These were really too big for fun, the fight would last an hour and leave you pretty much spent. I and most others prefer the fifty to seventy pounders that still put on an awesome fight, but quit before the coronary kicks in. January was a little disconcerting though as numbers of spinner sharks were way down from previous years. I wasn’t seeing the days with groups of hundreds of sharks moving through the area. And the mass “jumpoffs”, ( this is when dozens of sharks all start free jumping at once, a trait I believe to be mating behavior related ), were nonexistent. I was then informed to some rather disturbing news. As the sharks move into the area, they come in from deep water on a course that brings them into an area far enough from the shore that commercial gillnetters can legally target/net them. The numbers just make me sick. Two large gill net boats were intercepting the main groups of sharks and were taking four thousand pounds, per boat, per day. This went on for about forty-five days until the commercial quota was met and the season closed on the sharks. To save you the trouble of getting out the calculator, that adds up to three hundred and sixty-thousand pounds of sharks, almost ten-thousand individual fish.That is assuming that there was no over the limit harvesting going on. The source I have believes that as much as twenty-thousand pounds a day could have been getting netted on occasions that they believed the law enforcement wouldn’t catch them. And what is it all being used for? No one knows for certain, but the fins are probably going to the orient and the rest of the shark meat is going to cat food or fertilizer. I think I have as realistic an estimate of the population as anyone, and I think the total number of adult spinner sharks that move through here are around forty thousand. Since the sharks don’t reproduce fast, the number being harvested are scary. It won’t take much of this before they go away for good. Very sad state of affairs…I’ll keep you posted on what will now be my mission in life to get this incredible crap stopped. It was literally the day after the season closed that I saw my first big school of sharks move into the area, and since then it has almost been like normal. Numbers are still just a shadow of former years, but the action on them has been good. I hope to see them stay in the area until their normal exit date somewhere at the end of the month. As of this writing, all the previously mentioned fish species are still in the area and the only addition to the list of fish has been dolphin moving into the area in decent numbers. If we are lucky, it’ll repeat like last year when the sharks moved out and good schools of dolphin, king mackerel and skipjack tuna all moved in to replace them.