Fishing for sharks is an exhilarating experience because these apex predators are as tough as they look. Sharks are some of the oldest animals on earth, and their ability to survive makes them difficult to catch. These toothy fish grow huge and provide memories that will last a lifetime. If you want to land one of these beasts, here’s what you need to know.
Sharks are unique animals that have evolved over millions of years to survive. They’re also part of the group of cartilaginous fish, including rays and skates—none of which have bones. Like most apex predators, sharks are carnivores that eat by actively hunting for prey or scavenging. With over 440 species of sharks inhabiting the world’s oceans, they can be small or well over ten feet long.
Sharks primarily live in temperate and tropical waters around the world, inhabiting coastal waters and reefs. However, sharks travel thousands of miles crossing through frigid and tropical waters to find food. Depending on the time of year, sharks can be found almost anywhere around the world. Sharks inhabit waters from shallow coastal areas to deep offshore reefs.
The most widely used technique to catch sharks is bottom fishing, which is perfect for anglers of all levels. Bottom fishing consists of dropping bait to the seafloor and waiting for a bite. A typical setup is cut bait on a circle hook and a heavy weight. The weight keeps the bait near the bottom, where it leaves a scent trail that attracts sharks and other bottom feeders. Heavy tackle is required to haul in a shark, with stout rods, reels, and wire leaders being the only things that give anglers the advantage.
The most common bait for shark fishing is cut bait, but the type of bait varies from location to location. Popular choices for cut bait include bonito, false albacore, squid, and bait fish like mullet. All of the baits work well because they create large scent trails that are especially effective for drawing in sharks.
With sharks being found around the world, you can take a trip almost anywhere and find a fishing charter that targets them. If you want to stay in the U.S. the best places to target sharks are along the atlantic and gulf coast. Shark fishing can be intense, and if the danger of handling a shark alone is too much, check out our shark fishing guides who will take care of everything for you.