Essentially the shark kit is a backpack, waterproof duffel bag, or a container that has everything organized into it for dealing with a shark once it is landed. Time is crucial for sharks once beached and not having your gear organized can add a long time to the process of releasing a shark. Those minutes you save being ready to go will ultimately save sharks in the long run. The shark kit and camera needs to be easy to carry so it can follow the angler as sharks tend to be landed away from base camp. Keeping your kit organized, accessible, and easy to carry is very important. We suggest a small backpack, waterproof duffle, or similar storage container, the backpack works best in our opinion because it is easy to carry and frees up your hands, even the angler could be wearing it. Very often the larger the shark the larger the potential for the fight to end not at your camp but several hundred yards away. If you are trying to explain to someone to grab a whole list of individual items the chances for something to be forgotten or dropped is very high. The time it takes to go back and forth to the camp, and or search for a dropped item can mean the difference between a shark surviving or perishing. Be prepared and be organized!!!
The following is a list of items we suggest for your shark kit. This list is merely some examples of what we have in our shark kit backpack, your kit may be simpler or much more complex. Being prepared is what we are urging to each participant. There are product links for many of these items merely for example, not to force you to purchase where we link to. Please support the sponsors of the event when purchasing gear, without their support this event and our parent event Sharkathon would not be possible.
Personal Catch Log - Waterproof
Keeping track of the data you have collected may not seem like a complicated task but one good fishing day with several catches and suddenly you will have problems keeping all the data straight. We highly suggest some form of notebook to form your own personal catch log. Rite in Rain makes a series of notebooks and spiral binders constructed with waterproof paper that work excellent for this exact task.
Pencils, pens, fine sharpie marker in pencil bag
An assorment of pencils, pens, a fine sharpie marker, a sharpener, stored in a small pencil bag with a clear window works very well in keeping writing instruments organized and easy to find when needed.
Having a tail rope when you need it especially for larger sharks is a vital piece of equipment to have. Decent quality thick diameter rope works much better for gripping than smaller diameter rope.
Examples below of the common types
Once you get used to using a good dehooker it is hard to imagine using anything else to get difficult hook placements free. The S shaped head design is our favorite, it allows you to push or pull on a hook and you can also rotate the tool with the hook shaft inside the S and it allows you to twist a hook out easier than almost any other device.
Large Channel Lock Pliers
A large pair of adjustable style pliers at least 12" or bigger are very useful in dealing with hooks and many other situations while shark fishing. We do not recommend ever getting your hand anywhere near a "sharks mouth", use tools to do all the work in the area near a "sharks mouth".
Small Bolt cutters
It is a necessity to always have a tool with you that can cut large hooks and leader material. A small pair of bolt cutters works very well when you have to chop a 20/0 circle hook out because you cannot get the barb back through. You must always be able to cut whatever hook and/or leader material you are using quickly and efficiently.
General use pliers with side cutter (Linesman Pliers)
This style of pliers is a multi use design and has a powerful set of cutters on them that can cut through small hooks, and just about any style of leader material. You must always be able to cut whatever hook and/or leader material you are using quickly and efficiently. The larger the pliers the more powerful they will cut.
Headlamp/Flashlight waterproof in design
This example is an expensive light but super durable, I have one that is over 15 years old and still works great. Fenix Headlamps
After the sun goes down it is vitally important to stay safe and a weather/waterproof LED headlamp is a very good thing to have. There are so many headlamps and flashlights to choose from that it is hard to suggest the perfect solution for everyone, find one you like and keep it ready and available.
A small waterproof flashlight stashed in the kit is an excellent backup. Always have extra batteries for your devices you use while fishing.
There are way too many knives out there to try and suggest one exact model that would work for everyone. Our suggestion is a decent length stainless blade knife that has a secure sheath for safe storage. A fillet style knife works really well as your kit knife in that the most common usage would be trying to get a hook free or cutting line and the length of the fillet design works well for reaching into precarious places.
Having a small container to hold all of your tagging items is very important, you want all of this equipment in one easy to find location. You want a writing instrument, tags, tag slips, tag applicator, measuring device (tailor tape or tape measure), backup rubber bands for the applicator, and your catch log notebook in a container that optimally is of clear see thru construction and weather proof. Many people use small tackle storage bins, other people use pelican case style containers. Find what works for you and keep it ready for use. An old plastic cast net container with latch works great to hold tags, tag slips, & applicator.
First Aid Kit
Essentially you should have two first aid kits with you while fishing. A large comprehensive kit should be in your truck, and a smaller compact first aid kit is a great item to have in your shark kit for those minor incidences that might happen while wrestling a shark.
We highly suggest one of the tough model digital cameras that are available these days offering waterproof, dustproof performance in very small form factors. A small case to store it in is a good idea to keep the lens clean and scratch free. Basically, the list of digital cameras that will take a picture adequately for our requirements is a very long list indeed. What we suggest is be prepared, extra batteries, extra memory card, check before fishing to make sure everything is working. There is an old saying out there "Stories are stories, but pictures are proof", and to submit a catch you must prove to us at TSR, and all the other teams, that your catch is what you say it is. No fisherman's tales will be accepted, only correctly taken photos and data collection will get you points in TSR.
A pair of gloves gives you added protection when messing with toothy critters and there are even several cut resistant fillet gloves out there that helps keep your hands from the little scraps and cuts that can happen while dealing with a catch.
A golf towel like shown in the example works very well to cover the eyes and calm a shark while dealing with hook removal & tagging. Simply wet the towel and drop over the sharks head covering their eyes. Store the towel outside of your pack with a retention system to prevent it getting put into your pack and accelerating the ever present corrosion process on all of the tools and gear.
Slicker pants or old tube socks
Sharks tend to thrash when straddling is required during the process of removing the hook. Slicker pants or putting a pair of old tube socks on are great to prevent the painful shark rash from contact with the shark's skin. Several of us have experienced a night of fever after getting a nasty shark rash so try to avoid it if possible.
Corrosion X or WD-40
A small can of one of these stashed in your kit helps clean after and prevent corrosion. Given enough time you will eventually have to lubricate a rusty pair of pliers to get them to work because of the salt water exposure.
Attaching your fighting harness to your kit keeps one more essential item organized and easier for someone helping you to get everything needed while you are busy fighting a shark.
Small rubber mallet
This is an idea to keep in mind for anyone building the ultimate shark kit. Sometimes a circle hook (which we highly advocate) can be very difficult to remove. Using a big set of pliers you can rotate the hook around and put it in a position that with one sharp blow it will pop free. A small rubber mallet makes this easy to accomplish for even the most stubborn hook. Doing the karate chop with your hand on the hook is not recommended and could lead to putting your hand a bit too close to a set of razor sharp teeth that have no mercy. We do not recommend ever getting your hand anywhere near a sharks mouth, use tools to do all the work in the area near a sharks mouth.