The Shark Fishing Years

As told by Flint Boardman...

As soon as I was on my own in Fort Walton Beach, Florida, I needed a fishing truck. In the late summer of 1976, I bought a very clean 72 J4600. It had a 360, T18, Dana 20 and 4.09 gears with over size wheels and tires. It had originally been equipped with an over cab camper and was bought new in Alaska. This truck was traded in on a new J20 in Fort Walton beach.

1972 J4600 - Blue Mountain Beach, FL 1977

For two years, I drove the very dependable Jtruck on beaches throughout the Florida panhandle looking for big sharks in the surf.

1972 J4600 - St George Island, Florida

The J4000 was sold not long after I took orders to a Coast Guard cutter out of Honolulu for two years. I had to take a break in my shark fishing and FSJ addiction for most of that time. In 1980, I got out of the Coast Guard and settled back into Corpus Christi, Texas. As soon as I got a job, I got another FSJ to use for fishing. It was a 1976 Wagoneer with 401, T400 and Quadratrac. With air shocks installed on both axles, I could get a little over two inches of lift fully loaded for surf fishing and had plenty of clearance for 31" tires.

1976 Wagoneer - Padre Island, Texas

In 1981, I dragged a big Tiger Shark up the beach to our camp site from where a close friend landed it. He has been known as Tiger Frank since that day. This Tiger Shark picked up a bait in close water only 6 feet deep with official weight of 864 lbs. That Wagoneer also made many winter trips down Padre Island on camping trips where we caught plenty of red fish, blue fish, speckled trout, whiting and black tip sharks with long rods.

Tiger Frank - Padre Island, Texas

After a 6 year residence in south Texas, I set my sights on south Florida as a place to be near the Gulf of Mexico and have a decent life. About a year before the move, I had bought an 81 J10 that had a 258, T176, NP208, 2" AAL lift and 33" tires. The yellow Wagoneer was sold. The J10 was well suited for the beach and stood up as a good fishing truck until 1992 when I sold it to move to Charlotte, NC.

1981 J10 - Padre Island, Texas

These three FSJs gave me great service driving beaches between Corpus Christi, Texas and Naples, Florida providing access to great camping and fishing spots. They worked hard so I could play hard and had the cancer to show for it.

Before I could afford my first Jeep, I shark fished right off the top of my first two cars, both Ramblers. This one is from Cape San Blas, Florida, July 1974.

1965 Ambassador - Cape San Blas, Florida, July 1974