Updated on August 27, 2022
Shark fishing is a unique opportunity to catch huge toothy apex predators. Sharks are as tough as they look and will fight all the way to the boat. Sharks are some of the oldest animals on earth, and their ability to survive makes them difficult to catch. Florida has an abundance of sharks which provide memories that last a lifetime.
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.
Shark fishing in Florida is a thrill for the whole group. Captain Rich, of Palm Beach Florida says “we have a lot of sharks and plenty of big ones as well. Most people don’t get to see a 600 pound bull shark very often, but they get a big kick out of it.”
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. Captain Rich explains that “we catch sharks when we drift for tuna and sailfish or the sharks follow the bait until we hook a fish then they take out fish.”
While eating a shark can be unappealing for a lot of anglers, Captain Rich explains that “it’s all about how you handle the fish.” He emphasizes cleaning and icing sharks as quickly as possible to minimize bacteria growth and off flavors. Captain Rich also explains that some sharks are better to eat than others. “People eat the black tips, spinners, and some take the bulls but in the northeast, mako’s and thresher’s have some of the most desirable meat.”
If fishing for sharks and potentially harvesting one sounds like the adventure you’ve been looking for, then consider having the head or jaws mounted. These toothy mounts are interesting and impressive to look at. Best of all you get to relive the adventure every time you see it. If you want to book a shark trip with Captain Rich, you can find his listing here.