BIG BAIT RIGGING
I use a lot of slab baits like whole 28" jack fillets or 4# chunks of stingray, and they work great. Another type of bait I got turned on to recently was using whole fish dead baits with a double hook rig. What I like about using a whole fish is small sharks and bluefish can't strip my fillet in quickly making me have to rebait and reyak my line every 45 minutes. They can take some chunks out of it, but the majority of the bait remains. Plus using the whole bait that has been dressed to accommodate hooks means it will leak a nice slow and steady scent trail even if torn up by little critters. With a big dead bait they last a good 4-6 hrs even if little sharks are trying to peck them to pieces. Here's an outlined procedure I used on a 24" horse mullet back in June. It was a nice 3# bait that fooled a 6.5' blacktip. All you need is you rig, bait knife, a bait, wax thread, and a mortician's needle.
First, stick the hook into the mouth of the mullet and thread the hook past the gills and out the gill covering. If you've got a double hook rig, pull the first hook through until you can position and thread the second hook through as well.
Now slit the bait's belly from just past the pec fins to the anus. Line up your hooks to see where they'll fit. If your hook spread is too large you may need to cut past the anus. The slit should be long enough to hide the shank of both hooks. Don't cut through the pectoral girdle (the bones the pec fins are connected) as this will provide a place to further thread your hooks into the body cavity. Now this girdle provides a strong brace so your bait isn't stripped from your hooks. Also as the bait is nipped it will still keep firmly attached to the hooks for when the large shark comes around.
Lay the hooks along the slit in the body cavity and position them for maximum gap exposure. Now you'll need some wax thread and a morticians needle. Both can be found at any offshore tackle supplier and are cheap.
Start stitching from head to anus along the slit. Try to keep the cable under the flaps of the slit so it stays buried in the body cavity. Every once in a while I will loop the wax thread a few times though both body cavity and cable to try and keep the hooks tightly positioned. When you reach one of the hooks, wrap around it 3 times at the base of the sit and pull tightly towards the anus and put a stitch in that direction so it keeps the tension. This will pull the hook away from the bait improving hook exposure and keeping the hook in this position until the shark takes the bait. Do the same at the second hook and then finish closing the slit. Viola, you've got a big, perforated bait that will hold tight and has two nicely exposed hooks to better snare the shark no matter where he grabs your bait.
ROD/REEL AND LINE
I am going to purposely leave out details on rod/reel set ups because everyone has something different and many times it's contentious. All I'll say is I like to use conventional (sealines and senators) for yakked baits, and spinning set ups (baitrunners mostly) for casting rigs. I tend to you power pro backing with mono top shots to give me 600-800 yds of line. When fighting the shark all you need is plenty of line to keep up with him as he paces the shore for hours. However, some sharks will go offshore and the best you can do is try to stop them or break off before they spool you.
I hope this helps some of the people who are looking to get into sharking and have questions. I also hope other people will chime in with their rigs and pictures and maybe more tackle tips. The more we share the better we'll all be at landing the big boys.
Tight lines fellas