Ernest Hemingway chronicles the struggle of catching a shark in The Old Man and the Sea. In the tradition of "Papa," here are some suggestions to land the big one. Your drag should be loose, so that a shark can take the bait and not realize it's hooked. But it's likely that you'll know immediately––your rod tip will bend downward severely and your reel will be burning up. (If it's a light strike and you have any doubt, wait a few seconds. If there is another tug, give the rod a strong hook set.)
Typically, the initial struggle with a shark will let up for a few seconds. When it does, tighten your drag and give it a little yank. Once a shark knows it's hooked, it'll make a second run. Depending on the species, it may even jump.
Landing a big shark can be an hours-long struggle, so be patient––you don't want to lose a fish once you've gotten this far. Keep the line taught, reeling up whatever slack the shark gives you by using a pump-and-reel technique; and keep your rod tip up. Netting is crucial, so make sure your partner is a good net man, as this is when you can lose a shark. Decide whether it's a "keeper" and be ready to take a picture of your prized catch!
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