There are a variety of ways to have fun on the Northeast Florida waterways, and they now include shark excursions, which are being offered as an option at Adventure Boat Tours in St. Augustine.
According to owner and captain Jimmy Hill, the shark adventure package lasts about two to three hours and boaters will get to experience fishing for sharks offshore.
“Reeling the shark in is what it’s all about,” Hill said. “When you hook a shark, it will make you think you’ve hooked a whale. It’s a heck of a fight, and you can get such an adrenaline rush from it.”
Proving that it is all about the fight is evident in that each shark caught during an excursion is tagged and released thanks to a unique partnership Adventure Boat Tours has developed with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
Although Adventure Boat Tours still runs fishing charters, the shark adventure is something they are excited about introducing this summer.
“On the fishing side of things, we didn’t want to just keep fishing for the sake of fishing,” Hill said. “If we are going out, we wanted our fishing to fill a need.”
The connection made with NOAA filled that void nicely with both parties benefiting from the partnership, as the boat tour offers passengers a once-in-a-lifetime experience and NOAA can further gather data for their research.
One way that the excursions look out for the best interest of both their passengers and the shark is by never bringing a shark into the boat.
Instead, they take photos of the shark in the water next to the boat before tagging and releasing it.
“We have experts on the boat to make sure we don’t overwork and do harm to the fish,” Hill said. “We always remember that it’s much more than just fishing.”
All the tackle and proper equipment needed for the trip is provided by the tour, including using specialty hooks that are designed for easy removal.
“One of the nice things about it is that you don’t have to go out for eight hours and get burnt,” Hill said. “We usually catch a shark, but at the end of the day, fishing is fishing and there’s always the chance you won’t.”
However, even if the sharks elude a certain tour, there is still plenty of fun to be had just being out on the water and enjoying a relaxing time with friends or family.
Up to six people can go on a shark adventure, but four is the ideal number.
One of the most unique things about the shark tour is that any shark that is caught and tagged by a specific person will be noted and if that shark is caught again, the initial person that tagged the shark will be sent a report updating that person about the shark.
The shark adventure is just one option for the public to choose from, including pontoon boats that can hold larger groups of up to 32 people.
“We offer all kinds of ways to have fun on the water,” Hill said. “It’s a great way to get out this summer.”
Tour guests are asked to bring coolers with food and drink and come equipped for the conditions, which usually means bringing the proper sun protection.
“We try to create a very convenient experience for everyone,” Hill said.
For more information about the shark adventure or other tours offered, go to adventureboat.tours for more details.
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