Black tip Shark
Fall is one of the best times to fish Pensacola Beach. There are so many different species to target in the cooler months and the weather couldn’t be better. I decided to try my luck on the Grand Marlin side of the Bob Sykes Bridge. This is always a great spot to fish any time of the year, but the Fall can be outstanding. I absolutely love to fish! I even started my own fishing gear rental company, ReelPensacola.com, to provide rod rentals, bait, gear, and a few tips to get people started.
I was armed with live finger mullet for bait I had caught earlier in the day. The weather was in the mid 70’s, and it was a little overcast with the wind blowing out of the West, which often leads to big bites.
I like to fish pretty far down the bridge, almost to the end. As I made my way down the bridge, I talked to a few local anglers and asked what was biting. Hardtails, mangrove snapper, bluefish, and redfish were all caught earlier in the day. I wanted a big bull red right at sunset, so i free-lined a finger mullet out to the East and waited to see what was hungry.
About ten minutes go by and I am hooked up. I landed a decent sized bluefish I decided to use for bait. I butterflied the bluefish, cutting each side just a little so the oil and blood dispersed in the water, attracting bigger fish. The current was ripping hard so I let my bait swim feely as far as it wanted.
Next thing I know, the drag is going off on my big rod, and I am hooked up. I tighten my drag down to fight the fish and start reeling. My rod is doubled over and I am working the fish back towards me. I can tell it’s something big! I fight the fish until I get it close to the surface of the water, and see it is a nice sized blacktip shark, one of the best eating sharks in the Gulf. Luckily another angler had a dropnet we used to get the fish up and over the bridge.
Clean and Cook
The key to great-eating blacktip shark is bleeding and gutting it immediately, and getting it on ice. I didn’t have a cooler big enough to keep the shark in so I headed home. I cut the shark into steaks and soaked it in milk overnight. The milk takes out any gamy or fishy flavor in the meat. The next day I marinated the shark in Italian dressing for about an hour. This gives the meat some really nice flavor before throwing it on the grill.
I seasoned the shark steaks with Everglades and Salp Ya Mamma cajun seasoning, salt, and pepper. I throw it on the grill and add some minced garlic, and cut lemon slices on top for extra seasoning.
After about ten minutes, I flip the steaks and give them another five minutes to finish cooking. The end result is a mild, juicy tasting fish full of flavor with each bite. Some people say it tastes like chicken or pork chops. I happen to think blacktip shark is right up there with swordfish as some of the best tasting fish in the Gulf.
Bryant Calvo is the owner and operator of ReelPensacola.com, Pensacola Beach’s go-to for fishing rod and gear rental, offering hands-on tips and tricks for everything fishing.