Shark fishing in Sarasota can be super thrilling and something you won't forget, but you gotta make sure you know the rules, gear, tips, and types of sharks before you go. Check out all the details you need to know about Sarasota shark fishing:
Before you go shark fishing in Sarasota, it's important to be aware of the local regulations. Sharks are protected species and fishing for them is strictly regulated.
There are two groups of harvestable sharks in Florida:
Group one, which includes the atlantic sharpnose, blacknose, blacktip, bonnethead, finetooth, smooth dogfish, Florida smoothhound, and the gulf smoothhound, has no minimum size.
Group two sharks (bull, nurse, spinner, blue, oceanic whitetip, porbeagle, and thresher) have a minimum fork length size of 54 inches.
The remaining shark species are prohibited from harvest and have to be released right away when shore fishing.
Make sure you have the necessary permits and licenses before hitting the water, and follow the catch limits and size restrictions. The best resource for Sarasota anglers is FWC, but you can reference our Sarasota fishing regulations blog as a starting place.
When it comes to equipment, you'll need a heavy-duty fishing rod and reel, a strong fishing line, and a leader with a wire trace to prevent the shark from biting through the line. You'll also need a range of bait, such as live fish or squid, to attract the shark.
If you're new to the area or traveling without your usual setup, booking a Sarasota fishing charter is probably you're best bet.
When fishing for sharks, it's important to find the right spot. Look for areas with strong currents or where baitfish are present. You can also use chum to attract sharks to your fishing location. Once you've attracted a shark, be patient and wait for it to take the bait. When the shark bites, let it run with the line for a few seconds before tightening the drag and setting the hook.
Shark fishing can be dangerous, so it's important to take safety precautions. Never fish alone, and if you're new to it, look into hiring a fishing guide in Sarasota. Make sure to handle the shark with care and release it quickly and safely back into the water.
Sarasota is home to a variety of shark species. Some of the most popular sharks that can be caught include:
Bonnethead Sharks are small sharks can be found in shallow waters, such as bays, estuaries, and flats. They're most commonly caught during the summer months.
Blacktip sharks can be found in the Gulf of Mexico year-round but are most abundant during the summer months. They're typically caught in nearshore waters and around jetties.
Bull sharks can be caught in the Gulf of Mexico, but they're not as common as other species around Sarasota. They can be caught in deeper waters, such as channels and around wrecks.
There are several species of hammerhead sharks, including the great hammerhead, scalloped hammerhead, and smooth hammerhead. Hammerheads are typically caught in deeper waters and around offshore structures, such as oil rigs, and they're most commonly caught in the spring and fall.
Lemon sharks are typically caught in deeper waters and around offshore structures. They are most commonly caught in the summer months.
Catch and release is the recommended method of shark fishing in Sarasota. This involves safely releasing the shark back into the water after catching it. Make sure to remove the hook quickly and handle the shark carefully to avoid injuring it. For the prohibited shark species in Florida, legally their gills have to stay underwater.
There are several places in Sarasota where you can catch sharks. Some popular spots include:
Siesta Key Beach is a solid spot for shark fishing. You can fish from the beach or off the jetty.
Lido beach is another popular beach in Sarasota where you can catch sharks. Fishing is allowed in designated areas.
Venice beach is known for its shark tooth hunting, but where the teeth are, the sharks are. With a little bit of luck and some skill, you can hook into a shark here.
Shark fishing in Sarasota is one heck of an adventure that you wouldn't want to miss! But don't forget to play by the rules and keep yourself safe while you're at it. And remember, these toothy predators deserve our respect, so make sure you release them back into the water swiftly and carefully.
Updated on April 28, 2023
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