How To Catch Sharks

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Lately a larger part of the population has adopted big-game fishing as a weekend activity. Sharks have become a favorite target, especially in northeastern waters. Their fearsome meat-eating style incites the great North American game fisherman or fisherwoman to prove themselves against this ancient creature of the deep.

A booming shark sport fishing cottage industry has been created featuring many tournaments and contests, and bringing to the dock thousands of blues, makos, tiger sharks and bull sharks ready to be “steak cut” or filleted for a weekend barbeque. Makos & black fin sharks are the best eating.

In this article we are covering the more common and widely available sharks. What applies to these more common sharks also applies to the more regional species such as the great white, hammerhead, bull shark, white tip, and black tip.

Our article covers the blue shark, mako, and tiger sharks. These are the most numerous of popular game shark fishing found in North America, which include, great whites, and hammerheads.

Blue Shark Fishing

The blue shark, preferring cool to temperate waters, is found throughout northeastern waters in summer months. Blue sharks are most prevalent off the coast of Long Island and New England, and they range as far south as Virginia, Maryland, and the Carolinas. Pacific blues are found as far north as Alaska, and have been consistently spotted in Chilean waters.

Blues do not generally hunt for larger mammals and such prey — they can often be found trailing whaling and shrimp boats feeding on waste and bait discards. Yet they are among the most aggressive of all sharks when provoked, and have been known to attack humans when in this state.

Mako Shark Fishing

The Mako shark has an uncharacteristically idiosyncratic-like diet (for a shark) and is extremely tough to land after hooked. They are definitely a game fish for saltwater fishermen who know what they’re doing and have some experience. The penalty for inexperience in this case can be serious injury. The mako is heavily desired among veteran anglers from Montauk to the Sea of Cortez — no other shark possesses or displays the jaw set and teeth of this brute force shark.

Adult mako sharks are world class predators. The mako comes in two versions, the long fin and short fin. Both subspecies range through the tropical and warm-waters of the Atlantic and Pacific. The short fin, however, will often hunt inshore, which makes it the far more common prey of boat captains and charter fishing trips.

This shark is one of the more dangerous sharks to swimmers, surfers and surf fishermen. It also seems, from available evidence, to be the more widely distributed mako, occurring in the Atlantic from Cape Cod to Argentina, including the Gulf of Mexico and the Caribbean, and in the Pacific from the Columbia River in summer to California coastal waters and as far south as Chile year-round.

Mako have been spotted in the Gulf of California. The long fin mako is a rarer species that favors the open seas of the Caribbean and Pacific. Few long fin mako have ever been caught off the Atlantic coast or Gulf of Mexico. The mako ranks among the most dangerous of sharks. Experienced fishermen everywhere always approach them with the greatest of care. They are furious when hooked, and although their 20′ and 30′ jumps are exciting, makos will often try to ram or leap into the enemy’s boat.

–No shark should be brought boat-side or onto the deck until it is completely exhausted –

— A living shark brought close to overconfident fishermen can cause serious injury.–

A wounded Mako, like all other large sharks, can bite with strength until drawing its very last breath.

Tiger Shark Fishing

Tiger sharks prowl both the in-shore and open waters of the southern Atlantic, Gulf of Mexico, West Indies, and Caribbean, and also visit frequently warm Pacific waters from southern California to Peru. They are even occasionally found off the Northeast and Pacific Northwest coasts in mid-summer.

Tiger sharks are tireless feeders that can attack anything, everything, anytime, anywhere. They are tenacious, acrobatic, and terribly strong when hooked. These sharks provide even seasoned big-game bounty fishermen a full test of skill. The result is that a shark is very popular with big-game fishing captains around the world.

The tiger sharks’ eating habits make it a good bet for the trophy room, but its aggressive tendencies in shallow water have never been good news for swimmers, surfers and the like. Tigers are predators that pose the greatest danger of all sharks to human beings, because they constantly prowl the shallow inshore waters where people swim.

They are possessed of a relentless drive to attack and eat any easily available prey and are not overly discriminating. Tigers have attacked dozens of swimmers and surfers off Florida’s and Australia’s coasts — though it must be noted that the percentage of those attacked is still terribly small as compared to the millions of swimmers on those same beaches that a shark attack could be compared in probability to being struck by lightning.

Tiger sharks will eat anything, as people cutting open these sharks have found. The tiger is the source of the shark’s reputation for omnivore (eats anything), and its diet has included fish, crabs, turtles, stingrays, birds, other sharks, nuts and bolts, lumps of coal, articles of clothing, boat cushions, tin cans, various garbage, human limbs, the hind leg of a sheep, and even a few car license plates.

Tiger shark hunters must treat this eating machine with the utmost of care and respect. Sometimes even before they are even hooked, Tiger sharks will try to jump into a boat to reach the source of the chum they’ve been following.

Shy is definitely not a term that applies to these eating machines. When hooked, they should be fought until they totally exhausted, and (if necessary to kill them) the kill should be made before bringing them on deck. You would not want to kill any shark you did not plan to keep. Even exhausted, sharks will survive if released; sometimes near death.

— No shark should be brought boat-side or onto the deck until it is completely exhausted.

— A living shark brought close to overconfident fishermen can cause serious injury.

— A wounded Mako, like all other large sharks, can bite with strength until drawing its very last breath.

Bait for Sharks

– The shark is widely available to the sport of fishing, because its omnivorous appetite shows little discrimination for artificially rigged bait. They’ll eat anything!!! Use cut bait for sharks, in particular any oily, scented fish e.g. barracuda, mackerel, and oily chum.

Use a slab of kingfish or barracuda under a balloon or bobber & then suspend the slab of bait into the oily chum. Stagger your baits as to shallow level, mid level bait, & deep set bait.

Fishing Tackle

– Heavy conventional, stiff rods. Conventional reels and big hooks. Bring a variety of hooks 5/0 to 10/0 to use depending on the size of the sharks. J hooks or Circle hooks will work just fine.

– Anchor your boat in channels and around rock piles & reef edges. Throw out your chum bag & you shouldn’t have to wait too long for the sharks.

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