It was a little bluefish and it gave me the confidence to continue working the surf. I started to trust my hunches about where fish might be. Then I noticed some shadows that weren't moving with the flow of the waves. As I got closer I could tell it was a school of something. I was guessing bluefish. My first cast yielded nothing. The next cast landed right on top of the school. I waited a couple seconds then gave the fly some quick strips. There was some tension then the rod started to bob but the resistance was strange. It felt more like the fly was dragging in the sand than a fish fighting. As the current went out I saw a splash and tail slap. There was a huge disturbance and the other fish in the school bolted. The rod started to really bend and at first I wasn't gaining any line on the fish. Then I saw the tail come out of the water again and noticed the spot that marks a red drum. At about the same time the fish decided it was gonna fight. I figured no big deal I'm using a 9wt. I severely under estimated the fish. Every time I thought I had the drum under control it would make another run. It took awhile but I eventually realized I needed to get the fish into shallow water. I started to work my way back up the beach. The drum gave in after what seemed like 10min.
The fight red drum dish up is almost unreal. They have so much power in a small package. I've caught bigger reds but I can't remember any of them fighting like this fish. I used to think you could get away with a 5wt in the surf. This fish would have snapped that like a twig. My 9wt was perfect and even with that the fish torqued it good.
As I released the fish and watched it swim away I started to adjust my line and get ready for my next cast. I noticed a dark shadow coming my direction. It looked like a seal. I used to see them all the time in San Diego. Then the shadow moved in front of me and a fin broke the surface. It was a shark and it was swimming no more than 20ft from me. By the time I knew it was a shark it had spotted me thrashed the water and took off. The whole thing happened so fast it really humbled me. It reminded me how vulnerable we really are once we're in the ocean. I think that shark was investigating the area because of the drum struggling as I brought it it. If that shark wanted to get me I wouldn't have had a chance.
You'd think an experience like that would keep me out of the water but it didn't. I was having too good of a day. I continued to work the surf and after several hours of not even a bump I hooked my first flounder.
It was truly an awesome day. All of the fish were caught on a clouser that I tied. Even though it was scary it was cool seeing the shark. Before I left the surf late afternoon I saw a sea turtle. I have never seen once since I've lived in NC. It was so close to shore I could have ran out in the surf and probably swam with it.