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Great White vs Tiger Shark

Great White vs Tiger Shark – What’s the Difference?

Two of the ocean’s apex predators are great white and tiger sharks. Each of these sharks often grow to exceptionally large sizes and both species can be found in virtually any part of the world’s oceans where there is temperate water throughout most of the year.

Many shark fishing anglers sometimes catch a tiger shark and mistakenly believe they have hooked a great white.

It’s sometimes difficult to tell the difference between the two species, so we’ve compiled this article to discuss some of the ways you can tell great whites vs tiger sharks apart.

Sharks Overview

Sharks are one of the ocean’s most feared creatures and there are many shark attacks recorded each year in various parts of the world. They are known to eat virtually anything they can in both shallow and deep waters.

While there are a select few people who are willing to be hoisted down into the water inside a cage to view these creatures up-close, many anglers are also brave enough to try catching one of these massive creatures on a rod and reel.

To the untrained eye, a great white vs tiger shark might appear to be very much the same, but these two species actually couldn’t be more different when it comes to their behavior, habitat, and other areas such as their usual diet. Both great whites and tiger sharks do have quite a lot of similarities, however.

Great white sharks and tiger sharks are two of the largest of the more than 500 different species of sharks that are found throughout the world.

If they manage to reach full maturity and have optimal conditions, both great whites and tiger sharks can grow to be well over 12 feet in length, with some great whites reaching sizes that would make anyone think twice about going for a swim in the open ocean.

Great White Sharks

Great white sharks are, by far, the most famous and feared species of shark in the world. They were the inspiration behind the famous movie Jaws, which was a film based on a true story of a killer great white that attacked multiple people on a section of the New Jersey coastline.

Great white sharks are very often portrayed in movies and popular culture as a mindless killing machine. However, great whites are actually known to be more docile when they are not hunting.

They are known to live in mostly cool waters that are usually between 55 and 75 degrees Fahrenheit. The most common regions of the world where great whites are found are around the United States, South Africa, Japan, the Mediterranean, as well as many other parts of the world’s oceans.

They are usually found in deeper water around the outskirts of coastal areas. Great whites might be found in water that’s less than 100 feet deep or even much closer to the shoreline.

They are also known to swim down into much deeper water that’s 1,000 feet deep or more with some tagged and tracked great whites exceeding 3,000 feet in some cases.

Tiger Sharks

Tiger sharks derive their names from the dark, vertical stripes that are found on young tiger shark species. These predators of the sea are known to grow to very large sizes that rival that of the great white, but they are slightly smaller.

The tiger shark does not have the vicious reputation of the great white, but they are known to attack nearly as many people as great whites on a yearly basis.

While a great white might attack and swim away after realizing that a human is not the type of prey it commonly eats, a tiger shark will continue the attack. This is due to the tiger shark’s lack of ability to distinguish tastes and smells the same way a great white will.

Tiger sharks are known to prefer warmer waters than the great white and can usually be found in sections of the ocean with water temperatures ranging from 65 to 88 degrees.

A tiger shark usually stays in water that’s more than 100 feet deep, but they often come up into shallow offshore reefs to hunt. They can also be found in depths as far as 1,000 feet or more.

Size Difference Between Great white and Tiger Sharks

As we’ve already noted, a great white usually tends to be much larger than a tiger shark, but there have been a few cases in which tiger sharks can reach immense sizes. A fully-grown tiger shark usually measures anywhere from 10 to 14 feet, but there have been some reports of them growing to 18 feet long.

The IGFA world record tiger shark was caught in 2004 by a father-son duo off the coast of Australia. The monster shark weighed 1,785 pounds, which is more than twice the weight of an average tiger shark.

Great whites are known to grow up to about 15 to 16 feet in length, but there are tales from captains and others on the ocean seeing great whites that are roughly 25 feet or more.

Although the 25-foot great whites are more legend than anything else, there are records of anglers landing behemoth great whites on a rod and reel.

The IGFA world record great white is listed as a 2,664-pound giant that was caught in 1959 off the coast of Australia. However, there was a monster 3,450-pound great white caught off of Montauk, New York in 1986 that didn’t make it into the record books.

To qualify as an IGFA world record, a fish must be caught on line that’s no heavier than 130-pound-test and the Montauk monster was caught using 150-pound tackle.

Great White vs Tiger Shark Differences

Some of the major differences between great whites vs tiger sharks are evident, but a tiger shark will lose its distinct stripes once it grows to full maturity. These dark, vertical stripes will remain, but will be less defined as the shark continues to age. The following identification points can be used to tell a great white from a tiger shark.

Color and Skin

A Great white shark gets its name from the color of its snow-white belly. Most other species of sharks will have a somewhat lighter-colored belly that might be gray, but the great white’s belly is unmistakable.

The tiger shark has a grayish-colored belly, which sometimes gets mistaken for a great white. However, once you’ve seen both types of fish, the white belly on a great white shark is a surefire way of knowing what type of species it is.

The obvious dark stripes of a tiger shark are another way you can tell these two large shark species apart. A great white will have a solid gray color on its back and sides white a tiger shark will usually appear to be a bit darker.

These faded stripes are often hard to spot when looking into the water, but from an underwater perspective, divers are often able to distinguish a great white from a tiger shark fairly easily.

Head Shape

Avid shark anglers commonly use a shark’s head shape as one of the main ways of identifying the fish they catch. This is mostly because the more popular species of sharks all have a very unique head shape compared to one another. Tiger sharks and great whites are no different.

Tiger sharks have a very square-shaped nose while the great white has a pointed nose shape. This is often more difficult to notice, but a great white’s nose will come down into a definite point whereas a tiger shark’s nose is more rounded-off and does not form this point.

Tail Shape

The tiger shark’s tail is one of the ways anglers are able to firmly establish which type of fish they’ve caught. Tiger sharks have a very long tail fin that will stretch out higher than its body.

A great white shark’s tail is much more even with the top and bottom tail fin being the same length. This tail shape makes the tiger shark a bit faster than the great white, but both fish species can draw serious power with each thrust of the tail.

Body Profile (Shape)

The overall body profile of a great white is another unmistakable identification point that most avid anglers can use to tell the difference between each species.

Great whites have a much greater girth and will be larger toward the middle section of their bodies. Tiger sharks are more thin compared to great whites and have a sleeker profile.


These two types of shark species are often a thrill to catch on a rod and reel, but it’s often a challenge just to get them to bite.

If you’re one of the few anglers who’s able to hook one of these types of shark, you’ll be able to tell the difference between a tiger shark vs great white using these four main identification points.

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Bull Shark vs Great White Shark

Bull Shark vs Great White Shark – What’s the Difference?

Sharks are some of the most dangerous creatures on Earth with very few natural predators outside of humans. In many areas, sharks are the apex predator in a specific environment as their ability to swim incredibly fast and ambush certain prey in the blink of an eye gives them a significant advantage.

It is true that there are some sharks throughout the world that are virtually harmless, but there are a select few that are especially deadly.

Bull Sharks and Great White Sharks are among the most aggressive and most lethal of any other shark species. These two types of sharks are among the most common perpetrators when it comes to deadly shark attacks on humans.

Many people are familiar with the basic details regarding Great White Sharks, but there are quite a bit of details related to Bull Sharks that are also very interesting.

Let’s explore the topic of Bull Sharks vs Great White Sharks in more detail and explain the characteristics and facts about each one.

How to Identify Shark Species

There are a few ways that avid shark anglers and others who spend a considerable time on the ocean can tell what type of shark they’re looking at if they happen to encounter one.

If you’re underwater in a cage or scuba diving, it’s fairly easy to spot these differences. However, it’s hard to get a good visual when you’re above the surface, but there are a few things you can look for to determine what type of shark you’re seeing.

Both Bull Sharks and Great Whites are incredible predators who scientists say have adapted over the course of millions of years to reach the state they’re currently in.

Both have developed extremely effective means of pinpointing certain types of prey and they also possess acute senses of smell, hearing and visual acuity which all work together to allow these massive species to devour nearly anything they want.

For the most part, both Great White Sharks and Bull Sharks can be found in relatively the same area.

However, there are a few places throughout the world where Great Whites are more well-equipped to deal with greater depths and colder water temperatures.

Likewise, the Bull Shark has developed certain adaptations that make it a more capable predator in certain coastal areas.

Great White Shark Identification

For people who have an interest in sharks, there’s a good chance that you’ve already watched a few shows or documentaries which detail the lives and habits of the elusive Great White Shark.

This beast is one of the largest shark species and also happens to be one of the most deadly creatures in the entire ocean. A single bite is often enough to kill most victims who are unfortunate enough to run into a Great White when they are in the water.

For starters, the Great White Shark can grow to immense sizes of 20 feet long. There have been a few stories and accounts from avid fishermen and other seafaring laborers who say they have seen a behemoth shark that’s roughly 25 feet long or more.

The Great White Shark is thought to be a descendant of the largest fish that’s ever existed, the Megalodon, which swam the world’s oceans millions of years ago.

You can usually identify whether or not you’re looking at a Great White Shark by taking into consideration the area in which you’re seeing the shark.

In most instances, Great White Sharks will only venture near areas where they expect to find plenty of food. They commonly visit the waters around the Cape of Good Hope off the southern shores of the African continent.

Some experts estimate that Great White Sharks are among the longest-living species of sharks that are still in existence. They are believed to be capable of living to the age of about 70, according to most experts.

This is an impressive age considering the rough life that many sharks are destined to live, but the oldest shark species in the world is believed to be the Greenland Shark. Some experts guess that the oldest Greenland Shark in existence today might be as many as 400 years old.

Bull Shark Identification

Bull Sharks are the smaller of the two species, but they are largely considered to be more dangerous in ways that the Great White might not pose much of a threat to humans.

Bull Sharks are known to venture much closer to shore with some individual sharks swimming up into areas where beach-goers might be swimming.

Around the Gulf of Mexico and the coast of the eastern United States’ Atlantic Ocean, it’s fairly common to find Bull Sharks attacking fish that anglers are trying to reel in, or even harassing scuba divers in some cases.

These smaller sharks might not have the immense bite power you typically find in most Great Whites and it’s also true that their mouths are quite a bit smaller as well.

The Bull Shark does have an edge over the Great White that strikes fear into the heart of anyone who’s relatively familiar with them.

Bull Sharks are much more aggressive than any other shark species in the world. This aggression is believed to be a result of extremely high levels of testosterone in the fish, which would explain their quick temper and bullish demeanor, which they draw their name from.

The average mature bull shark male or female typically grows to about 8 feet in length, but there are a few reported cases where they have managed to grow to 11 or even 12 feet long.

Compared to the massive 20-foot Great White Shark, this might seem insignificant, but a Bull Shark that’s 12 feet long is one of the more frightening prospects among anyone who’s relatively familiar with this type of fish.

The combination of a massive 12-foot body that might weigh up to 800 pounds along with the high testosterone levels they usually have is an unnerving thought.

Bull Sharks have a distinctly belligerent and antagonistic character, which means a larger-sized shark that’s as mean as most Bull Sharks might just be more scary than your average 20 pound Great White Shark.

Bull Sharks are a very common type of fish that can often be found in tropical waters and warmer climates. Great Whites have the capability to swim up into the brackish waters of most river systems throughout the United States, but this is incredibly rare.

Due to their immense size, Great Whites commonly roam the open offshore waters where they have much more room to move about.

Unlike the Great White, it’s fairly common for Bull Sharks to venture up into rivers that connect to the sea and some have even been found hundreds of miles from the ocean. In one case, a pair of Bull Sharks were discovered to have swam all the way up the Mississippi River to an area near St. Louis, Missouri in the American Heartland.

The Bull Shark is also one of the most prevalent of all the shark species in the world and is estimated to have a population that biologists and other scholars believe to be the fourth-largest shark population.

These sharks are actually the second-largest species of predatory shark behind the mighty Great White.

Difference Between Great White vs Bull Sharks

The easiest way to tell these two species apart is to take a good, long look at their overall body color. The subtle tones and changing colors on each sharks’ body will usually be a giveaway.

If you’re looking at a shark that’s roughly 8 to 10 feet long, it’s often hard to determine whether you’re seeing a mature Bull Shark or a young Great White Shark.

When it comes to Bull Sharks, their upper body around the top of their backs usually has a light grey or even a brownish tone that gradually shifts into a much more visible white color along their belly.

It’s fairly common for anglers and anyone with very little experience on the ocean to think that a Bull Shark is actually a Great White.

For the Great White Shark, the color shift is much more evident. These massive fish species will have the same grayish coloration along their backs all the way down to the middle of their bodies.

When their color changes from grey to white, it’s more of a sudden shift and it almost resembles a line where the grey and white colors meet.

The tail is another part of a shark’s body that you can use to tell the difference between Great White Sharks vs Bull Sharks. For many Bull Sharks, their tails are much longer and more slender on the upper portion.

This allows them to have short, sudden bursts of speed that they’ll use to chase down their prey. Great White Sharks, on the other hand, have a tail that looks much more symmetrical and has a much thicker tail fin compared to the Bull.

Great White Shark Habitat

It’s no secret that the Great White Shark likes to roam the open ocean more than the Bull Shark typically does. The most obvious difference between Bull Sharks and Great Whites is their habitat, which is directly tied to what they are eating and hunting.

Great White Sharks are right at home in the vast, open ocean where it might be many hundreds or even thousands of feet deep. They are not known to have many predators at all and are usually the apex predator in about 90 percent of the waters they venture into.

Also Read: Tiger Shark vs Great White Sharks

Great White Sharks almost always prefer deep water as opposed to the shallow areas near the coast.

If you’re an avid beach-goer who happens to see a shark prowling along the shallow waters near the shoreline, there’s a very slim chance that you’re looking at a Great White Shark and a very good chance it’s a Bull Shark. Bull sharks are right at home in shallow water that might only be about 10 feet deep.

Bull Sharks are also known to be much more exploration-oriented and will venture far outside of their normal habitat into rivers and other places in search of any type of food they can find.

Which Shark Species is More Likely to Attack Humans?

It’s a fairly well-known fact among those familiar with sharks that Great Whites are one of the least dangerous when it comes to posing a threat to humans.

This is mostly because Great Whites live in deeper waters that are far away from the shoreline and they live in areas where people typically don’t swim. However, in the few instances where they do venture into shallow waters and attack people, the effects are tremendous and almost always fatal.

You’re much more likely to be attacked by the smaller, more aggressive, Bull Shark. This is simply because Bull Sharks are known to live very close to the shore of most beaches and very often swim up close to the beach in search of various types of prey.


Both Great White Sharks and Bull Sharks are incredible species of fish that should be treated with respect. It’s important to understand that the ocean is their home and humans are stepping into their world when we go into the water anywhere in the world.

The good news is that both Great Whites and Bull Sharks are one of the least-threatening species of fish in the world.

If we give them an adequate amount of space and be aware of where these sharks are likely to be in the water, we can avoid most encounters with sharks or significantly limit the risk they pose to our well-being.

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Can You Eat Shark

Can You Eat Shark?

Sharks are undoubtedly some of the most sought-after game fish as surf anglers and offshore fishing vessels commonly target them.

They are mostly targeted for their massive size and strength as anglers relish the chance to fight one of these powerful apex predators and bring it into the boat or land it onshore.

Most anglers prefer to simply release sharks after they have caught them, but some will actually keep a shark and cook it’s meat later as a meal.

Most anglers who are unaccustomed to shark fishing don’t know the intricacies of what to do when it comes to cleaning and properly preparing a shark to be cooked.

If you’re looking to catch a shark or cook one that you’ve already caught, you should exercise extreme caution because their meat can hold very high levels of toxins and mercury, which can be very harmful to our bodies’ digestive system if we consume too much.

In this article, we will cover all of the basic information related to cooking and preparing sharks for consumption, as well as what you should know about the risks and dangers of eating sharks.

Can You Eat Shark Meat?

Yes, you can eat shark, although it is not hugely popular in Western societies.

The question of whether or not you can eat a shark depends on a number of factors, there are some species of shark that are more suitable for eating than others.

These sharks listed below are known to offer a better tasting meat, as well as lower levels of dangerous mercury that you will usually find in other species.

Before you leave to go on a fishing trip where you intend to catch sharks, or even if you might have the small opportunity to catch sharks while you’re fishing for other game fish species, it’s a good idea to study up on the different kinds of sharks that are commonly found in your area.

Once you’ve established which types of sharks you are likely to catch, you can then do further research to determine if they are among the species of sharks that are recommended for consumption.

Shark Mercury Level

It’s no secret that sharks can sometimes have a very high mercury level. This mercury level depends on what species the shark is as some are known to have much higher levels than others.

Mercury is something that is typically found in larger predatory fish and you should always be sure not to consume too much shark meat in a short amount of time as this can sometimes lead to mercury poisoning, which can be very serious in some cases.

When fishing in a certain area and taking a good inventory of the different types of sharks you’re likely to encounter, be sure to study up on the mercury levels that the species is known to contain.

Some sharks have higher mercury levels to the point that they are not really fitting to eat while others have relatively moderate or low levels and are fairly safe for consumption.

It’s best to eat shark meat sparingly in order to avoid any potential to develop mercury poisoning.

When it comes to children and pregnant women, these individuals should probably avoid eating shark meat entirely since they are at much higher risk of developing serious conditions of mercury poisoning.

Even small amounts of mercury can severely harm a young child in its mother’s womb, so it’s best to avoid this prospect by totally avoiding shark meat in any form for the duration of your pregnancy.

Are Sharks Good to Eat?

Some sharks have meat that tastes better than others. This is sometimes due to their diet or often it’s caused by the way their body works and the toxins or other elements that can be stored in a shark’s flesh.

Sharks are natural-born predators that are feared by almost every other creature in the seas. They are built for speed, power, and stealth and their bodies and abilities allow them to hunt down prey that almost never even see or sense them coming until the shark has them within the grasp of their powerful, toothy jaws.

Movies have been made about the terror that most swimmers and boaters have of being attacked by sharks, but anglers who fish for them are actually turning the tables and making themselves the predators and sharks the victims.

You can eat sharks and their meat actually provide very high levels of important nutrients that are essential to our overall health. Some cultures view eating sharks as a more ritualistic practice in which the person eating the shark’s meat is endowed with the shark’s spirit or power.

Regardless of whether you’re eating the meat of a shark to gain spiritual strength or to simply enjoy the taste of a freshly-caught shark, there are serious advantages and risks to eating shark meat.

Some anglers perform a practice known as ‘finning’ in which they catch a shark and cut off only the dorsal fin for consumption before dumping the rest of the shark back into the ocean.

This is very unethical and a shameful thing to do as we believe that it’s essential that you use and consume as much of the shark’s body as possible so that none of it’s meat or other body parts are wasted.

You can even take the remnants of a shark that’s been cleaned and use it as bait for crab traps or to fertilize a garden’s plants by burying the remains of the carcass in the soil.

What Does Shark Taste Like?

Shark meat can taste vastly different from other types of game fish species. Sharks sometimes become very exhausted rather quickly compared to other types of fish and it’s important to get a shark into your boat as quickly as possible if you plan on cleaning and eating it.

This is because a shark’s muscle tissue will secrete high amounts of lactic acid and carbon dioxide the more exhausted it becomes, which will greatly affect the quality and taste of its meat.

It’s important to reel your shark in as fast as possible to avoid this problem. It’s understandable that getting a shark into your boat is quite a task as the larger ones are known to fight considerably harder than most other fish species.

Another unpleasant fact that relates to sharks and their meat is that sharks are known to actually urinate through their skin. If you catch a shark and don’t properly clean and prepare it quickly enough, it’s meat will have a taste of ammonia, which is extremely undesirable.

Also Read: Great White vs Tiger Shark

It’s very important that you clean the shark and bleed it out as soon as you have it on board the boat in order to avoid spoiling the flesh.

Sharks have a very meaty and mild taste that is often compared to be much like chicken or even alligator meat. When prepared properly, shark meat has a slightly sweet flavor that is very tasteful. It’s also very rich in essential vitamins and minerals that people need to improve their health.

Best Sharks to Eat

The ocean is teeming with many different species of sharks that anglers commonly target and others that they try to steer clear of, such as the widely-feared great white shark.

Also Read: Bull Shark vs Great White Shark

There are plenty of shark species that can be eaten and some are more popular than others in any given area of the sea.

Some of the more prevalent sharks that anglers are known to catch and keep for making a meal out of are Mako, Blacktip, Dogfish, Leopard, Soupfin, Sevengill, and others.

The most popular out of these sharks is undoubtedly the Mako as it can be found in many of the world’s oceans and is known to grow quite large and produce lots of edible meat.

Also Read: Mako Shark Fishing

It’s commonly believed by most shark fishing anglers that sharks that have reached maturity and have lived to grow to a decent size are the best ones to clean and eat. This is mostly because young sharks are very slender and don’t offer very much meat at all.

Old sharks might have much more meat than any other among their own species, but this extra weight and meat is not always a good thing. Old sharks are known to have higher levels of mercury and toxins in the form of metals in their flesh which is known to accumulate over the years.

In addition to the increased toxins and mercury in an older shark’s body, you’ll also find that the meat is quite tough and much tighter than sharks that have only just reached maturity and are still in their prime.

How to Cook Shark

There’s no shortage of different ways you can cook sharks. One of the most popular ways to prepare and cook sharks is to simply grill them with citrus juices like oranges or lemons.

Many restaurants are known to prepare pan-seared shark meat that is said to be very tasty.

You can also broil shark meat using the same types of recipes you might for almost any other types of popular game fish species.

Some anglers prefer to cut the shark meat into small bite-sized bits and fry them into ‘shark bites.’ Regardless of how you want to cook sharks, there are countless recipes online that you can use to prepare your shark just the way you want.

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blacktip shark fishing

Blacktip Shark Fishing Tips and Tricks

For most anglers Blacktip shark fishing is their first introduction into the world of shark fishing as a whole. 

In fact a lot of the times it is by accident when they are surf fishing with some kind of bait rig intended for other species.

One thing is for certain fighting these smaller sharks can be a heck of a lot of fun on light tackle.

Most Blacktip sharks will grow to a maximum of just over six feet in length and roughly 40 lbs in weight. But for their size they can be offer a great fight with plenty of aerial displays once hooked.

On heavy tackle when targeting much larger species of shark however they can become a bit of a nuisance as they will happily make bits of a larger shark fishing bait,  sometimes attacking it in small groups.

Blacktip Shark Fishing

Blacktip shark fishing can be done with both bait and lures on light spinning or conventional tackle and even flyfishing for Blacktip is growing rapidly in popularity.

The majority are caught near the surface even when offshore. So sight fishing is normally the best way to go, a good pair of polarized fishing sunglasses will help reduce glare and allow you to see several feet down with more clarity.

Catching Blacktip shark on bait will always be the most productive especially when using a chum bag.

Spread four rods out around a natural structure like a small reef or grass flats where they are known to be found and you should at least see a few interested.

If they refuse your bait for whatever reason then switch to casting topwater plugs as sometimes it can take a little action to get them to bite down.

Blacktip Fishing Gear

Blacktip shark fishing gear is usually much lighter than say when you are Mako shark fishing.

There is no need for for super heavy offshore conventional gear unless that is where you are fishing and there is the possibility that larger sharks may also take your bait.

A good option as a reel for shark fishing on lighter gear will be a size 8000 spinning reel. Not only can you fish with the normal shark bait rigs but you can also cast smaller lures like top water plugs with ease.

A good shark fishing pole when using a size 8000 spinning reel would be a 7 or 8 foot salt water spinning rod like an Ugly Stik Tiger Elite or a surf casting rod in the 9 feet range if you need to cast a larger setup out beyond the breaking surf.

When choosing the right line for smaller sharks such as Blacktip then 50 braid or even 30 to 40 pound monofilament is a good choice for mainline. 

If larger sharks are also in the same waters then I would run 65 lbs braid or 100 lb mono at a minimum. 

A shock leader can be used that is 150 lb monofilament, and even for small sharks I’ll use a single strand wire leader of up to 150 lb attached to a size 7/0 or 9/0 circle hook.

Best Bait for Blacktip Shark

Blacktips tend to inhabit reefs and sandy bars in and around beaches so pretty much any bait that makes these areas their home is what will catch Blacktips the easiest.

When fishing for Blacktips like any other shark species chumming will generally give the best results.

Sharks have a much better sense of smell than they do eyesight so get that chum in the water early.

Also Read: Bull Shark vs Great White Shark

Use the smelliest and oiliest fish you can find. A great reliable chum is a mix of mackerel and barracuda if you can get your hands on them. The mackerel are nice and oily and the barracuda smell pretty strong.

Even if you are casting lures still try to get a small bit of chum in the water.

Squid can be a real game changer if they are refusing either live or dead fish as bait. You can use squid on some very light rigs which makes for very interesting fishing once a blacktip is hooked.

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Mako Shark Fishing

Mako Shark Fishing Tips and Tricks

Mako sharks are known to be one of the most aggressive game fish that can be caught on a rod and reel.

Not only are they super aggressive predators but they are one of the fastest shark species and have a reputation for jumping wildly once hooked especially when in sight of the boat.

They also have a very impressive and highly visible set of teeth.

Catching these trophy pelagic’s is no easy feat and many days can out on the water can result in no fish but, with the right approach and knowledge you can increase your chances significantly.

The short-fin Mako is considerably more widespread than the long-fin and the majority of short-fin Mako fishing will be done in the 500 feet of water or less.

Mako Shark Fishing

Mako shark fishing can be done by either traditional chumming and bait rigs or increasingly popular is high speed trolling for Mako.

Mako will happily feed on a wide variety of prey such as squid, tuna, bluefish and other sharks but it is the bluefish which is considered the best shark bait for Mako.

Although they can be caught inshore, it is offshore where you will find the best success usually with a lot of chum out.

Also Read: Surf Fishing for Sharks

Chumming for Mako shark is not much different from other species, a fairly standard chum would be a mix of mackerel and tuna ground down and tied off the stern in either a chum bag or a bucket.

I tend to favor bags over buckets as they can be easier to get a really long slick chum line out of.

Care and patience must be used when setting the hook.

A large Mako may take several bites of your bait before it gets the hook into it’s mouth and striking to aggressively and too soon is responsible for more missed fish than just about anything else.

I’ll run up to four rods in total with baits suspended at varying depths. Ultimately once a shark has the scent of your chum and has started to home in on it’s source the chances of them not seeing your bait is quite slim.

Mako Shark Bait

The most successful bait for Mako shark is without doubt live bluefish especially when circling under a kite. Mackerel, squid and menhaden are also very successful.

A large chum bag is almost essential and you need to have enough on board for a full days fishing.

Chum will draw them in from miles around especially of you throw smaller bait fish into the slick of the chum.

The smaller bait fish will draw in small fish in the 3 to 5 pound range. This fish and the sound and vibrations that they give off will help to bring in larger sharks, so don’t just throw in some chum and sit there waiting.

Fresh bait is almost always preferred over frozen or store bought so if you can either buy off the dock the day before and keep refrigerated or catch your own using lighter gear.

Mako Shark Tackle and Gear

Mako shark gear will need to be at least a 50 lb class rod and reel and of course heavy wire leaders and circle hooks.

Fish of this size require a shark fishing rod with a lot backbone, a strong butt and top class guides.

Top quality shark reels need to be able to hold a lot of very heavy main line and also have the very best drag systems and internal gears.

I’d run 500 yards of 80 lb main line, with a shock leader section of 300 lb mono which is then attached to a six foot length of #15 wire crimped and connected with a heavy duty barrel swivel.

Also Read: Great White vs Bull Shark

Always use high quality single strand wire as multi-strand can be chewed up easily by large sharks

Hook wise use a size # 9/0 or 12/0 attached to the wire leader.

On some shark fishing charter boats you can see some monstrous shark setups running up to 8 lines but this is overkill and can become a tangled mess, 4 lines out in the chum around 20 feet down is more than enough for any boat.

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Surf Fishing for Sharks

Surf Fishing for Sharks – [Tips & Tricks]

Surf anglers know that the single most exciting species of fish they can catch is almost always a shark. Many surf anglers set a series of rods up along the beach in hopes that they will hook a large shark.

Surf fishing for sharks kicks into high gear during the middle of the summer when most of the other game fish species have moved back out toward deeper water.

Anglers who have caught sharks in the surf will attest to the adrenaline-pumping action and intensity that comes when you’re fighting a full-grown shark in the surf.

There are some very important tips and techniques that you should know in order to maximize your chances of catching sharks while fishing along your favorite beach.

In this article, we will cover some of the most important points you’ll need to know when it comes to surf fishing for sharks.

The Best Time to Catch Sharks in the Surf

Sharks are more likely to come closer to the shoreline when the water temperature reaches a certain level. They will begin making their way towards the shore when the water reaches about 75 degrees Fahrenheit, which means the middle of summer is usually considered the best time to go shark fishing out of the entire year.

Most experienced shark anglers point to July 4 as the beginning of the peak of shark fishing season in the surf. This stretch of prime shark fishing will usually last until about Labor Day or a few weeks after.

Shark fishing in the surf is also best done in the late evening or at night since the dark waters make it much easier for them to hunt using their other senses to detect prey in the waters.

Sharks will also use the rising tide to ambush certain unsuspecting fish. Sharks will often prowl the beach in search of various species such as kingfish, croaker, and many others that they can often chase down.

If you know an area along the beach that is typically where other surf fishing anglers set up during the daytime hours, you can usually bet that this will also be a great shark fishing location as well.

Sharks will tend to gravitate toward areas that hold many other types of fish as they are not very picky when it comes to the specific type of fish they will eat at night, or in the daytime.

Also Read: Can You Eat Shark?

Most shark anglers who like to fish from the surf will fish throughout the nighttime hours and well into the early morning, while other anglers might arrive in these early morning hours and fish until an hour or so after daybreak.

Whether you’re fishing at dawn or dusk, it’s always good to keep in mind that sharks are much easier to catch and more prevalent along the beach when the sunlight is fading or during the night.

One of the main concerns anglers have when it comes to night fishing for sharks is the lack of visibility that you have which limits your ability to pay close attention to their fishing lines and rods.

It can also be very tough to play a shark along the shoreline after you’ve hooked one. In some cases, the fight with a large shark can last over an hour and the shark will zig-zag its way along the beach in the process.

Best Surf Fishing Locations for Shark

If there are areas of the beach you’re fishing at that have warmer waters in some sections than others, you can be sure that there will be more sharks where the water is warmer. You can still catch sharks in moderately cool or even cold water in some cases if you know where to fish and use the right rig and bait.

One of the biggest factors that determine whether or not sharks will be actively feeding in a particular area is if the tide is rising or falling. Sharks, like other predatory game fish, will use the rising and falling tides to their advantage and ambush their prey inside the rushing waters.

If there are certain areas of the beach that feature sandbars or holes in the bottom, sharks will often use these depth changes to corral their prey and run them up into a shallow area where they can easily devout them.

Unlike fishing for some saltwater species that thrive in rough water and high surf conditions, sharks tend to stick to water that is a bit more calm.

Also Read: Catching Flounder in the Surf

You’re going to be using larger bait and the more calm the water is, the better your bait will stay on the hook, plus the shifting tides and hard-pulling surf won’t move the position of your bait.

When you’re surf fishing for sharks, you don’t always have to cast your bait out to a very far distance in the same way you might do for mackerel and other species. Instead you might be better off casting your lure about midway into the surf.

Experienced anglers will attest to the fact that most sharks will come much closer to shore than you might expect. Cast your bait just beyond where the waves are cresting to have the best shot at hooking a shark.

Best Rigs to Catch Shark in the Surf

Most sharks that you’ll catch in the surf will weigh less than about 100 pounds in most cases. There are the occasional giants that are well over 6 feet in length, but these are truly rare and one the most dedicated, or lucky, surf fishing anglers have a chance to reel in one of these monsters.

You’ll want to use a surf fishing rod that’s at least 8 feet long. Most surf fishing anglers prefer a shark rod that’s up to 12 feet long, which gives them more leverage and helps lessen the amount of fatigue you might get from fighting a large shark for an hour or more.

One of the most important gear items you can have when it comes to surf fishing for sharks is a large reel that’s capable of holding a significant amount of fishing line. You’ll want a reel that can hold about 300 yards of line because sharks are known to tear off vast quantities of line when they are hooked.

Just when you think you have them close enough that you can make the final pull to get them onto the beach, they will make another hard run back out to the deeper water and the fight will lengthen.

You’ll also need to use a steel leader instead of monofilament for shark fishing. This is due to the obvious fact that you’re dealing with an apex predator that typically has extremely sharp, strong teeth that will easily cut through most fishing lines like butter.

Don’t use anything below 100 pound test mono line when it comes to shark fishing. You can use heavier line up to about 300 pound test, but you can also get away with packing more line onto the reel by using a smaller pound test that’s less in diameter.

Remember that your sinkers and hooks will also need to be larger and stronger as sharks are notorious for straightening out smaller, lesser quality hooks.

It’s best to use a hook that’s at least a 6/0 size, but you can probably get away with using one as large as 10/0 in most cases for a larger presentation that will appeal to sharks more quickly than smaller baits.

Best Bait for Sharks in the Surf

It’s no secret that you’ll need larger bait when it comes to shark fishing. You can go with any type of bait fish you want and some might work better in certain circumstances for different shark species.

It’s often recommended that you use a bait fish that’s at least 10 inches long as most large sharks will usually not bother with smaller size bait.

You can also opt for using large chunks of cut bait in an area. Having multiple lines set out with bloody cut bait will always help draw sharks in closer and entice them to bite.

It’s a good idea to do some research and find out what sharks in your area like to eat before choosing which type of shark bait you’ll use.


Shark fishing is considered to be the ultimate form of surf angling. By following the tips we’ve given you, you’ll be off to a great start and should eventually land your first shark, or step up your shark fishing game and improve your overall chances.

As always, check the laws and regulations pertaining to surf fishing for sharks in your area and practice all safety measures that are related to shark fishing in the surf.

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Shark Fishing Charters

Shark Fishing Charters – How to Choose the Right Boat

Without a doubt booking a charter can be one of the most expensive things you can do following your passion for fishing.

Having the guiding hand of an experienced captain and crew can make or break your experience out on the water.

Booking a shark fishing charter is normally one of the most expensive types of charters available especially if you are target Mako or other large species offshore.

Offshore rates per day are usually well over $1000 so a lot of caution and prior planning should be made on your part to ensure that you have the best time possible.

Shark Fishing Charters

1. Do Your Research

The internet has transformed almost every single business in the world and fishing charters are no exception. The majority of charters these days should have a website where you can learn all about the boat, captain and crew.

However, any negative reviews will ever be displayed if it is on the boats own website.

If you can try to look the boat up on one of the numerous online booking websites. Here you will find ALL of the reviews of the boat both good and bad.

If you can try to also look at some local fishing forums, a lot of these forums will have a charter section or thread and you should find some pretty honest reviews.

Facebook groups can also be a great place to find the best shark fishing charters as most people are quite vocal with their assessments and will happily share pictures of their day out and catch.

Be very careful when walking down a dock looking for a shark charter boat as it can be very easy for a captain to talk you into their boat pointing out all of the good things whilst hiding any of the negatives.

2. Choose the Right Captain

Any charter boat is only as good as the people that work on it and the captain is THE most important person on the boat.

The captain sets the tone for both how the crew behave and perform. Ultimately you are trusting this person with your safety.

This is where doing a lot of research up front will pay dividends. It’s easy enough to judge the boat from a few pictures but you can tell very little from how competent the captain is.

3. Choose the Right Boat

Although a new expensive boat will not guarantee success it may tell you just how seriously the captain takes his fishing and it a new boat is dirty and not looking perfect then it is normally a pretty good reflection of badly the boat is run.

Conversely an old boat may look shabby and a little worn out but with the right captain and maintenance they can be superior.

Make sure the boat is of a suitable size and power for where you are planing on going fishing.

Any kind of offshore fishing needs a large boat with powerful engines(preferably two engines).

It should have all of the required safety equipment that is required by law and the equipment should be well maintained.

4. Offshore or Inshore

This is one of the biggest decisions you will likely make when booking a shark fishing boat as it will not only affect the price considerably but also how long you will be out fishing for.

A half day rate for inshore shark fishing can start for a little as $150 per person. This will of course depend on the kind of distance traveled and how long you are fishing for.

Offshore fishing however is normally a full day out and full day rates are well over $1000. Bigger boats have much bigger running expenses especially fuel bills and all of this will be factored into your bill.

5. Charter Rates

Shopping around is extremely important and you should never just book the very first boat you come across.

With lots of charters charging over $1000 for a full day it really pays to look up at least 5 to 10 different charters and see how their rates compare to each other.

Always make sure you can book with a credit card in case the charter is cancelled or any other issue arises. 

7. The Tackle Onboard

Tackle is a big issue on board and being stuck using badly maintained gear can be a nightmare.

Shark gear is heavy and heavy gear needs to be well maintained. Shark fishing reels take an absolute hammering on a charter boat as they get heavily used and abused in a year than the average weekend fisherman’s. 

A good shark fishing rod needs to be an offshore boat rod that is rated at least 50 to 80 lbs.

Make sure that there are sufficient shark rods and reels onboard and that all of the equipment used when fighting a large shark is up to the job.

Fresh shark bait is also a must and the quality of the bait onboard will say a lot about the how good a charter boat it really is.

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Kayak Shark Fishing

Kayak Shark Fishing

Fishing for sharks from a kayak can be one of the most exciting forms of fishing that you will ever do.

Hooking into a shark from a small plastic kayak can be a massive adrenaline rush, but there are a few important safety concerns to be aware of if it is your first time out.

Sharks are large apex predators and the can put up one hell of a fight especially when you are not on a stable platform like the beach or a charter boat.

But, this can also pose a serious risk to your safety.

Maintaining your balance and remaining upright on the kayak is the most important thing when kayak shark fishing

That being said if you are careful it is just as safe as being in a boat.

Techniques, tactics and gear will be similar to inshore shark fishing from a boat. From a kayak however you do have access to a lot more of the coast line from rocky bays to shallow flats.

Kayak Shark Fishing

Shark fishing from a kayak will generally be done using a couple of rods all of which will be using some form of bait.

Although you can troll from your kayak the most successful method will to use a strong scented bait. The best shark baits will normally some form of freshly caught local fish. 

Local is best as it is what the sharks are already used to feeding on.

Personally I would not use a chum bag when sharking on a kayak as it poses a risk of capsizing.

If you have a chum bag attached to your kayak and a larger shark decides to bite it and try and run with it you may well end up be turn over and into the water.

By all means have a small bucket of chum and throw it in occasionally to help attract sharks in from a distance but do not tie off a chum bag to your kayak unless you have some form of reliable quick release system.

Tackle Considerations

When fishing from a kayak I would tend to use slightly lighter shark fishing tackle than normal.

The reason for this is that you want a really large shark to be able to break the line as a big shark can easily flip you over if they strike your bait hard.

You should also never use a heavy drag as a light drag will lessen the impact of them striking.

Keep your line tight so you can sense every little bump or bite. I would run 20 to 30 lbs main line and of course a wire leader is essential when fishing for sharks.

You won’t really be casting any great distance so any shark fishing rod that is suitable for boat fishing should be good enough.

I would avoid roller line guides in favor of more traditional rind guides for your rod as roller guides can be trouble if the line is continually slipping the roller and getting caught on the assembly.

The best reel for shark fishing from a kayak will be either a large capacity spinning reel or a conventional reel. 

Conventional reels are simple and very reliable a Penn Senator for example can be picked up pretty cheaply these days and if properly maintained should last a lifetime.

If a spinning setup is your preference then a size 5000 and up should be good for lighter shark work.

Once Hooked

Once you have a shark on the line probably the most stressful time will be playing it out and then the final unhooking.

Also Read: Difference Between Great White vs Bull Sharks

The majority of shark fishing is catch and release only so the quicker you play the shark the better the chances of it having enough energy to swim away safely afterwards.

Always keep the bow of the kayak pointed towards the shark as this will help keep you balanced.

You now need to decide will you land the shark on a beach which is safer or continue to play it out on the water.

Extreme care should be taken when unhooking and you should use a very long nose pliers. Never ever put your hand or fingers near the sharks mouth.

Kayak Safety

Firstly, you should receive proper training on how to safely use your kayak.

Secondly make sure you know and understand the currents in the area that you intend on fishing in.

Tides can be very powerful and paddling against a strong outgoing tide can be next to near impossible.

Paddling in the open water is a very dangerous activity and you really should spend some time with an experienced kayak-er learning all of the necessary safety drills and understanding safety equipment.

A personal flotation device(PFD) is an essential item. In the event of a capsize it is your life line and will help keep you upright in the water.

A first aid kit and a helmet are also important. Safety flares and a two way radio are also a good option.

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Best Shark Fishing Reel

Best Shark Fishing Reels 2023 – [Buyer’s Guide]

Shark’s are one of the ultimate game fish you can target whether that’s from the beach or off-shore on a boat.

When choosing a shark fishing reel you first need to decide just what size shark you will actually be targeting.

A sub six feet shark from the shore will have a very different rod and reel requirement than a 600 pound Mako from a boat.

You then need to decide where exactly you will be fishing. Will it be from the shore or offshore on a boat?

The type of shark rod that you use for either location are usually very different.

As with most saltwater fishing you have the choice between either a spinning reel or a conventional reel.

Spinning reels are better when casting on a beach whereas a conventional reel is preferred when you need to put down big leverage against a massive shark out on the ocean.

Firstly take a look at your shark fishing setup then match your reel to the line and the type of rod that is usually used in the scenario.

Shark Spinning Reels

If you choose to use a spinning reel for shark then you should aim to use a high quality reel that is capable of holding line that is rated at least 50 pounds in weight.

High quality really is the only option here as even a small shark will make light work or some cheap spinning reel.

Stick to the major brands and large sizes. Depending on your line requirements you will want to run anywhere from a size 6000 reel all the way up to a 10000. 

A good compromise for smaller sharks from the beach on a spinning setup would be a size 8000.

An 8000 is still light enough so that it does not unbalance the rod.

Penn, Shimano, Daiwa and Fin Nor are the most established brands for larger sized spinning reels for shark fishing.

Conventional Reels for Shark Fishing

Working big baits from a boat needs a reel that can hold a heck of a lot of heavy line.

This is where a large spool conventional level wind reel for sharks is the only real choice.

Make no mistake about large sharks can stay nose down for well over two hours and your reel is going to be taking a serious hammering.

Not only is there a constant strain on the drag, but the regular runs that massive sharks can make will destroy any reel that is not up to the task.

Penn are easily the leader in offshore reels and classic reels like the Penn Senator or International have proven themselves time and time again.

Cheap low quality reels are an absolute waste of time and chances are if you do hook the fish of a lifetime then it will probably snap your line if your reel ends up seizing.

Best Shark Fishing Reels

1. Daiwa Saltist

The Daiwa Saltist is probably the best value reel available. It is just as smooth and capable of a reel several hundred dollars more expensive.  

Daiwa have put considerable focus on ensuring that the Saltist is a resistant to the corrosive effects of salt water as possible. Salt water will destroy a reel once it gets inside the housing and bearings, always rinse your reels in fresh water as soon as possible after use.

The Saltist is pretty much an all metal construction with the exception of the waterproof Carbon ATD Drag. No fancy or exotic materials just sound engineering and very tight tolerances.

8 main bearings and one anti-reverse bearing are made from a special form of corrosion resistant stainless steel.

The 8000 size has a max drag pressure of 33 lbs. The braid ready spool can hold 370 yards of 30lbs mono or 440 yards of 80lb braid with a gear ratio of 5.3:1.

  • 9 corrosion resistant ball bearings
  • Carbon ATD Drag System
  • Magsealed line roller and main shaft
  • Lighter Air Rotor
  • Digitally cut gears

2. Penn Senator

Every seen the big game fish fighting chair scene in the movie Jaws?

Yep that’s a Penn Senator 16/0 !!!  

The all time classic conventional shark fishing reel the Penn Senator is probably responsible for the landing of more sharks than any other reel.

They are an absolute work horse and if looked after and serviced regularly should last you decades of dependable service.

The Senator is no high speed reel and is built for hauling large fish from the deep. With a gear ratio of between 2.0:1 and 4.0:1 depending on the model you can put some serious power down when using one of these old school cranking machines.

Although the Senator has been around since the 1930’s the technology and design has been continuously updated by Penn to keep the reel competitive.

3. Penn Slammer III

The third in the line of the hugely successful Slammer range of saltwater spinning reels from Penn, the Slammer III is built with one thing in mind; corrosion proofing.

Penn have gone to great length in both construction, design and materials when choosing the type of components to add to the Slammer. 

These reels are built for both heavy surf casting work and larger heavy spinning setups for larger species on offshore charter boats.

Available from a size 3500 up to a massive 10500 these reels have big spools for holding a lot of line and an incredibly robust drag system.

The biggest in the series the size 10500 has a massive 60 lbs of maximum drag force which incredibly large for an open face reel. 

they come with 6 stainless steel ball bearings, CNC machined internal solid brass gears and a super solid low flex reel housing/body  and a sealing system IPX6 that seals the reel shut from almost any saltwater penetration.  

On the large models you get a 4.2:1 gear ratio and on the smaller ones 6.2:1 ratio.

If you are looking for a hardcore spinning reel for shark fishing then the Pen Slammer III is it.

4. Shimano Saragosa SW

The SW in the Saragosa name denotes that it is one of Shimano’s offshore spinning reel offerings. 

These reels are big, so big they only start at a size 5000 which would be a medium size fishing reel for most manufacturers/models to top it all off the biggest in the range is a size 25000.

The monstrous size 25000 of a shark reel holds 440 yards of 100 lb power pro braid, has a gear ratio of 4.4:1 and a max drag rating of 44 lbs not quite as high as the 60 lbs of the Slammer III above but by no means is it weak.

In terms of price it is aimed at the lower end of the market when compared to say a Twin Power SW or the Stella SW but it does include a lot of their features and build components.

The Saragosa gets some of the high end bells and whistles that Shimano have incorporated into their reels in recent years.

The body on the Saragosa is made with their cold forged aluminum construction process called Hagene which gives the body an exceptionally rigid structure into which the Hagane gears are housed. All this adds up to very little flex or warp when the reels are put under heavy load. 

One the smaller sizes there are 5 shielded stainless steel ball bearings and on the size 20,000 and 25,000 there is an additional bearing.

5. Okuma Makaira

Finished in a rather striking gold hue the Maikara is Okuma top of the line offshore big-game conventional reel. It is up there with the best of them and is pretty similar in build quality and power as it’s other golden competitor the Penn International VS.

Penn used to absolutely dominate the shark reel segment of the market but with the Maikaira, Okuma have taken a serious swipe at strangle hold and offer up a serious contender. 

The frame is built from one piece machined aluminum with forged side plates that has finished with a special anti-corrosive coating.

You get an angled big T-bar handle for cranking down hard against big sharks. All that power is transmitted through helical cut gears which can carry a lot more torque than regular straight cut.

The carbonite drag is built to withstand the immense pressures of big shark fishing and on the larger models has a strike drag of 70 lbs and a whopping 100 lbs of drag at full on the lever drag models.  

Shark Fishing Reels

A good shark reel needs to be able to hold a lot of high breaking strain line and also have a serious drag system coupled with a very high quality set of internal gears.

More modern reels will use helical cut gears which mean a better mesh between each gear and a much smoother operation especially when under a lot of pressure.

Internal gears need to be well sealed in order to protect them from salt water.

If you are targeting smaller sharks a spinning reel is a perfectly suitable choice.

Spinning reels are a perfect choice when beach fishing for sharks as they can cast lighter baits and shark rigs than a conventional reel will.

Once you start to target larger fish especially offshore then a conventional reel makes the most sense.

There are different types of conventional reels available, single speed, two speed and variations of both with either a star drag or a lever drag system.

A two speed reel can be a real bonus. Just flick the lever and you get a load more torque to help fight against these mighty predators.

Torque or pulling power is what helps haul a large fish up from the depths.

You will of course loose a small bit of speed with the lower gearing.

You’ll need a large capacity reel that can hold at an absolute minimum 300 yards of 50 lb line.

For larger species that means 500 yards of 80 to 100 lb braid, in my opinion it’s better to have it than not!

Always wash your reels in freshwater after every use to help reduce the chances of salt water corrosion.

If you are to invest in a high quality reel then you really need to take the time to look after it and do some regular maintenance.

Always have your reels serviced regularly if they are being used heavily. A good reel can last decades if properly maintained.

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Best Shark Bait

Best Shark Baits

Shark’s have on of the keenest sense of smells in the ocean and can sniff out a few drops of blood from miles away.

The best shark baits will generally be some kind of bait fish that the sharks are already feeding on locally.

It’s not uncommon for sharks to repeated come right up to a bait they are not used to and tap it with there nose, circle it for a few minutes and then loose interest in it altogether.

Generally the oilier and smellier the better!

Without doubt the number one rule to follow when obtaining shark bait is that fresher is always better!

Preferably you should be catching your own, however this may not always be possible so you may end up having to purchase some from a bait and tackle store or another fisherman.

Possible sources of shark baits:

  • Catch your own
  • Bait and tackle shop
  • Offer fishermen on a pier
  • Offer charter boats that are finished their charter.

Sharks are scent hunters and the fresher the scent in the water the better. Oilier fish like mackerel are said to have a stronger scent.

But, not all shark fishing baits are created equal, you do not want any kind of bait that is too soft as smaller sharks will end up biting your bait off of the hook which can become very frustrating as the day wears on.

Best Shark Baits

1. Local Bait Fish

Local is always best, matching the hatch is an old saying that is rarely wrong especially when predatory fish are be targeted.

If you are new to the area then ask the locals what’s in season and where. Your local bait and tackle shop is regularly one of the very best resources to ask at.

2. Bonito

You’ll mostly find bonito offshore and that is where big sharks love to hunt. When one a charter I’ll mostly ask that we fish with bonito especially if they are plentiful in the area and sharks are already used to feeding on them.

3. Mackerel

Mackerel are pretty oily fish and give a great scent particularly when fresh. Most sharks at some time or another will have fed on mackerel so they are generally considered a very reliable shark bait especially when fishing from the shore or pier.

Hooking them through the eyes and butterflying the body open with a knife is an excellent tactic as the body then creates a real natural flutter as it moves through the water.

4. Barracuda

Cuda’s are extremely smelly when cut and sharks are well used to eating them. Given that they are such a long fish you can usually get two separate baits out of the one fish.

5. Amberjacks

If you have ever fished for amberjack then you may well have had your prized catch stolen from you right at the boat by a shark.

Shark Baits

Shark fishing bait will always be a lot more successful if it is fresh and still has a lot of it’s natural scent still on it.

You will usually find that frozen or any kind of processed fish will not retain the same amount of scent and oils that a freshly caught fish will.

This is why catching your own saltwater bait will generally be the superior option.

However, if you have a large local pier or docks with a lot of charter boats you can always try to buy some fresh bait from locals.

Also Read: Are Sharks Edible?

You can even do this the day before as one an overnight in a fridge will not lessen the quality too much.

Just make sure that you get the whole fish and that it has not been bled or cut in any way.

Also make sure that the is no blood coming from the gills as fish can lose a lot of blood if they have been hooked deep down in the throat and gills.

Always remember that fresher is better.

Frozen fish once thawed can be become a lot softer than if it was fresh and this can lead to it falling off the hook a lot easier especially if you are casting a large bait from the shore.

Tackle Considerations

Given their size and power sharks are clearly some of the strongest and most aggressive fish you will ever likely catch on a rod and reel.

You really need to make sure that your shark fishing gear and tackle is up to the job.

What kind of rods and reels you use will depend on whether you are fishing from a boat of off of a pier or the beach.

Shark rods regardless of their length will need a strong backbone so should be rated at least 50 to 80 lbs.

Shark reels need to match the type of setup you have chosen. For example a good surf casting outfit that is used for smaller shark species will be all but useless for larger species offshore and vice versa.


Always follow your local rules and regulations when it comes to the use of fish as bait.

Some anglers will always opt to use live bait when shark fishing even when it is prohibited by the local state laws.

Certain fish a specific times of the year are also banned from being used as shark baits.

If in doubt check your local states laws well in advance and be sure to note what species you can use and when they can and cannot be used.

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