Shark fishing is an incredible experience. It is popular with recreational and tournament anglers. Sharks, like predators in the ocean, play a crucial role in balancing the ecosystem. Because of that, they are an indicator of a healthy ocean. Seeing them can be alarming, yet they are a sign of healthy habitats of all other fishes.
In some parts of the US, shark fishing tournaments excite anglers. With that, specific sharks are allowed to be fished while others are prohibited because of their number and slow growth rate, which means their population can deplete quickly. Anyhow, shark fishing is still a fiery fishing sport among anglers.
Fishing for sharks also means understanding their behavior, eating patterns, and diet. It is essential to know your prey. Most sharks do most of their activities during the afternoons and prefer to hunt at night. Most species are alone. They swim and hunt on their own most of the time, but they meet with other sharks in some exceptional cases, like the period of mating or the areas abundant in food. Some sharks swim in groups like hammerheads.
Many sharks prey most often on the weak, inferior members of the population. They select the weak, ill, injured, or dying prey because it is easier to catch. This is why if you are fishing for sharks, choose live baits. Luring them will be easy and effective.
When catching a shark, it’s all up to the bait that the shark preys explicitly on. So it is essential to know which fish baits will effectively let you land a shark. Here are the best shark baits.
They are a great watch in Atlantic Fishing. You can cut them in the mullet or serve as live bait on your hook.
Bonito is a great catch offshore. They also offer a good shark bait along with mackerel. Both are sold in bait shops if you want to save time to catch sharks.
Jacks are a great catch from the shore. They put up a challenging catch and make a good shark bait. You can cut them in a mullet or serve as live bait as well.
Ladyfish is a sun shark bait to catch. They struggle and jump a lot to give you a challenging fight.
They are also enjoyable to catch. They like baits such as shrimp or sand fleas.
Most sharks prey on other fishes, mollusks, crustaceans, mammals, or other sharks. They eat preys that are 1-10% of their body weight per week.
Sharks are a little more aggressive fishes than other predators in the ocean. Because of this, they naturally give more resistance. It would be best to have a stronger tackle to resist their sharp teeth as they try to get away from you. It would help if you also had your tackle heavy as a heavy spinning rod is excellent for catching sharks. If you are fishing on the beach, the chances are that you will easily drag the shark inshore. Sharks give more force downwards, and if you are pulling the shark across or parallel to the ocean, it may be easier to pull it towards you.
Fly rods are less likely used when fishing for such heavy and aggressive fishes. But, fly fishing using fly rods is common when aiming for the blacktip and spinner sharks. You may use a heavy 12-weight rod with an 80-pound tippet to secure the fish.
When you are fishing on a boat, use your boat’s rod holders and if you are on the beach, sink a PVC rod holder deep in the sand. You can lay back through these two techniques and wait until your line rattles and catch your fish.
Line and leader are crucial when retrieving the shark. For sharks up to 7 ft (2.10 m), you will need a 60lb (27.21 kg) braided line just enough for your mainline.
For additional support, you will need a rod’s length of strong monofilament line at the end before the leader. Lastly, you should use at least 2 ft of wire leader so that the shark can thrash around or swallow through the line to bite through.
Live baits are more effective than any other baits. Sharks’ olfaction (sense of smell) is the best weapon when it comes to detecting prey. According to research, a shark can smell one part of blood per one million amounts of water. This is like smelling one teaspoon of something in a swimming pool. A shark can detect fish extracts miles away from it. Good oily fish include Spanish mackerel, Bonita, bluefish, mullet, blue runner, and Jack crevalle.
Artificial lures also work for sharks if you have clear water conditions, incredibly if sharks get hyped. Few artificial lures look like crankbaits, soft baits, or bucktails. Remember that sharks also eat crustaceans and mollusks.
Some sharks stay deep or hang out in the coastal areas. Usually, sharks are found in the saltwater, but freshwater sharks like cyprinids (commonly called freshwater sharks), Bala shark, river shark, and more. Bull sharks are versatile, and they can both in salt and freshwater.
Usually in tropical rivers, most are found in deep channels, nearshore, and offshore reefs. Consider also piers near cleaning stations. They tend to sit and hang out there all year due to the falling fish meats coming from the stations.
Specific kinds of sharks caught during a specific season of the year. Coastal sharks such as blacktip and spinner sharks swim through Florida wares during winter and then to the Northern waters during summer. Hammerheads, tiger sharks, and bull sharks may come closer to the shore during spring for spawning. Bonnethead shark and others caught all year round.
Either you are offshore or surf fishing for sharks, and get your fishing gear ready for offshore fishing. Remember that you need a heavier tackle and fly rods and a longer line and leader. For surf fishing, bury your rod deep into the sand. Surfcasting can be one of the most exciting battles you can have from the beach. The trick here is to cast your rods as far as 200 yards.
You know that there is already a shark biting on your chum if your rod tip bends over till it touches the water (for offshore fishing) and your reel rattles so soundly. This time you may feel the adrenaline rush but don’t want to rush tagging the shark up so abruptly. Instead, let it loose for a few minutes while making sure the shark believes he can still swim away from you. Then, slowly attack by pulling your reel up. This can last an hour or more if you are offshore fishing and 10 mins to an hour if you are surf-casting.
This is recreational shark fishing, not shark-killing. A top rule in shark-fishing is to make sure you release them at least two minutes or less after you caught them. After you caught them, take pictures with them as fast as possible before releasing them back to the sea. Remember that it is part of your responsibility as an angler to know your limitations, especially in dealing with shark species.
All you need is de-hookers (or pliers), wire cutters (for smaller sharks), and bolt butter (for larger sharks). Generally, if you are an angler, you must be prepared to have these tools whenever you catch fish like sharks.
While shark fishing provides pleasure and thrill, it can also hurt and stress out the sharks. Research in the University of Miami (UM) studied how sharks respond to catch and release fishing. The results showed that different shark species respond differently.
Hammerhead was by far the most vulnerable, while tiger sharks can cope up well enough. The shark population around the world is declining. Catch and release fishing may still have harmful effects on sharks if they can’t handle the stress.
The study also emphasized that even catch and release fishing must be sustainable by choosing the sharks to recover well after the activity. This study also helps concerned fishers be informed that sharks make good candidates for catch and release fishing.
Sharks are exciting fishes to catch. They provide a good fight and challenge for the anglers to catch. Thus, they are very rewarding and enjoyable. However, this kind of recreational activity must also ensure the sharks’ survival due to issues in the shark population slowly declining. As an angler, you should be a sustainable and eco-friendly fisherman. You must know the role of these giant predators in the ocean in balancing the aquatic environment. That is to instill optimum health of the world’s marine resources.
Jennifer Moran is the author and the social media manager at FishingSun.com. She has been working and passionate with writing for over four years.
She spends most of her off-work time reading books, playing tennis, practicing yoga and dance, and catching up with the new TV shows she’s been missing. You can reach her at mapple (at) fishingsun (dot) com