CHARLESTON, SC – Ever get that uneasy feeling something’s watching you? Wade anglers targeting shallow-feeding gamesters like redfish, sea trout, snook and tarpon know it all too well when fishing in waters that also harbor sharks. The problem is often compounded by trailing a stringer or fish bag of tasty delights intended for lunch or dinner, the scent serving as a chum slick to draw the toothy predators in for a closer look.
“You kind of develop a sixth sense about sharks on the prowl when you wade the flats,” says Capt. Kyle Johnson, 35, of Coastal Waters Outfitters. He’s a recreational charter skipper specializing in wade fishing the famed Chandeleur Islands complex, a massive chain of islands 50 miles long that’s located roughly 40 miles offshore of Biloxi, Mississippi. Here you’ll find bucket list angling for nearly every shallow-water Gulf Coast target species, but the sharks can be a problem.
It’s not unusual to see large blacktips, seven-foot spinners and six-foot bull sharks weighing 150 pounds or more here, explains Johnson. “They aren’t looking to attack humans, but they will come up and eat all the fish off your stringer if you don’t take preventative action. Sometimes, it gets to the point where you have to walk up on shore and wait for them to leave.”
To protect himself, his clients and their catch, Johnson depends on the Sharkbanz Fishing Zeppelin, a streamlined, 6-ounce magnetic shark deterrent device that captured Best of Category for terminal fishing gear at the prestigious 2021 ICAST Show. The result of over a decade’s worth of research in Australia, the USA, The Bahamas and South Africa, the groundbreaking technology used in the Fishing Zeppelin overwhelms a shark’s electroreception, creating an unpleasant but harmless sensation that stops the ocean’s most efficient predator in its tracks, resulting in fewer hooked or caught fish being poached. Some bottom-fishing boat anglers report over a 90% success rate using the Sharkbanz Fishing Zeppelin rigged as a sinker or attached to the line with a carbineer clip immediately after setting the hook. Johnson, however, uses the Zeppelin in a novel way more suited to wade fishing.
“I’ve learned over years of trial and error how sharks really zero in on the stringers and fish bags of wade anglers,” continues Johnson. “They’ll approach from down-tide, following the scent trail to its source. At that point, if they can see the fish, they’ll pick them right off the stringer or grab the bag and try to swim off. If the sharks can’t actually see the fish, however, they become confused, so I keep mine in a Hook Set Gear Bag on a seven-foot tether. It’s not see-through like most mesh bags, so it hides my catch from obnoxious predators.”
Hiding your catch is a good start, but to actually repel sharks and drive them away so they’ll quit stalking, attaching a Sharkbanz Fishing Zeppelin to the back of the bag is the only way to go.
“I clip my Sharkbanz Fishing Zeppelin to the trailing end of my fish bag using a heavy-duty military-grade plastic clip and this arrangement has worked unbelievably well,” offers Johnson, who was introduced to the Fishing Zeppelin by an angling friend. “As soon as I heard about it, I ordered one to try out. It worked so well that I now pair one with each of my clients on every shallow water wading trip – whether at the Chandeleur Islands or probing the flats, bays, edges and bayous of the Gulf Coast. Neither me nor any my clients have ever been ‘sharked’ with a Sharkbanz Fishing Zeppelin attached to our fish bag.”
According to Johnson, the Sharkbanz Fishing Zeppelin doesn’t simply turn away the ocean’s Taxman, it makes shallow-water sharks high-tail it for deeper water and they usually don’t come back. “As soon as they come in range of the Sharkbanz Zeppelin, you see a huge swirl as they turn and bolt away. It really is a welcomed sight to watch them flee, especially if you’ve waded far from shore or your vessel.”
Sharkbanz, the world leader in shark-deterrent technology, is recognized worldwide by surfers, swimmers, divers, beachgoers and anglers as the makers of the world’s first shark-deterrent terminal fishing tackle, the Fishing Zeppelin, as well as the widely acclaimed Sharkbanz 2 wearable shark band. Both products are based on proven science, published research, and testing verified by independent third-party analysis groups.
Ergonomically designed using premium materials for enhanced comfort, the Sharkbanz 2 can be worn on the ankle or wrist and provides a universal fit for ages five and older. It weighs just three ounces and is depth rated to 100 meters. The Fishing Zeppelin is proven to reduce the number of fish lost to sharks while targeting bottom-dwelling fish species or wade fishing. It protects your catch, gear and good times on the water. Easy to use, it can be added as a sinker, tied into the main leader, attached to the main line using a carbineer after hooking a fish or, as Johnson discovered, clipped to a fish bag to protect your catch while wading.
Constructed with biodegradable, environmentally friendly PLA materials, both the Sharkbanz Fishing Zeppelin and Sharkbanz 2 require no batteries or charging. In fact, they are always on and ready to go. Both are also TSA and airline friendly and come in a magnetic-shielded box for safe storage, so be sure to bring them along on your next tropical vacation.
The Sharkbanz Fishing Zeppelin sells for $69.99 while the Sharkbanz 2 retails for $94. Both are available online and in a growing number of fishing, boating, surfing and outdoors stores. To order online, locate retail outlets, or view videos, testimonials and studies supporting Sharkbanz theory and technology, visit sharkbanz.com.
Sharkbanz is the first wearable shark deterrent technology created by experienced ocean goers Nathan and David Garrison. Instead of waiting for the next attack to happen, they decided to do something about their underlying fear. After three years of testing, design, and development, the first version of Sharkbanz launched in 2015. Using patented magnetic technology with decades of research by marine biologists, Sharkbanz takes advantage of a shark’s unique and powerful electroreception to cause a highly unpleasant sensation that turns them away without harm. Their latest device, the Sharkbanz Zeppelin, uses the same groundbreaking technology to deter sharks from munching on angler’s catches being reeled to the surface. Sharkbanz pledges 3-percent of profits for ocean and shark conservation and aims to raise awareness on issues that impact the world’s oceans.