Where To Go Shark Fishing

Sharks can be found in all oceans of the world in three major areas: inshore waters, coastal islands and reef, and in the open waters offshore. Here's how to find them in each area.

Shark fishing can be an exciting alternative to fishing for traditional saltwater game fish and can provide you with an opportunity to battle some really big fish if you have the proper tackle to bring them in. Sharks are found in practically all the ocean waters of the world, and some species are even present miles from the sea in inland rivers. Most sharks are more prevalent in warm, tropical waters, so in the United States, Florida and the Gulf Coast states are all a good bet for shark fishing.

Finding sharks is relatively easy if you know where to look for them. All sharks are predators of course, but are also scavengers ready to take advantage of any easy meal that presents itself. Sharks are voracious carnivores that are always on the prowl for food and their gills only function when they are moving forward, so they spend their lives in constant motion. Sharks congregate in places where there are large numbers of smaller fish that they can feed on, so the key to finding sharks is to first know where to look for other fish. There are three major areas to hunt for sharks, and these areas are frequented by sharks of differing feeding habits. The areas are: close inshore and in estuaries, coastal areas near islands and structures, and offshore in the open ocean.

The close inshore shark species, such as bull sharks, sand sharks and some varieties of hammerheads can be caught off fishing piers or jetties right off the beach or in the waters of bays or the mouths of coastal rivers. These sharks hang out close to shore to feed on mullet and other shoaling fish that concentrate there and are in turn feeding on shrimp or other invertebrates. You might catch one of these shark species inadvertently while fishing for smaller game. Although many of these sharks are small, it's not uncommon to catch really big ones close to land. Serious inshore shark fishermen fish the piers and jetties at night, "chumming" the water by dumping in buckets of cut-up fish or other bloody meat to attract sharks.

The second category of shark fishing locations is the coastal area. This usually means areas that are accessible to fishermen with boats, and can be any area off of a coast that has some natural or man-made structure to attract fish, and consequently, the sharks that feed on them. Barrier islands are one such area, and the passes between closely-spaced barrier islands can be especially good on an incoming tide, when sharks hang out there waiting on the sea to bring them their dinner. Other areas in this category are underwater coral reefs, which support a vibrant ecosystem of animals at every stage of the food chain and sharks at the top end. In the Gulf of Mexico and other areas, man-made structures such as offshore oil drilling rigs are also a haven for marine life and are very productive locations to fish for big sharks.

The open ocean is home to pelagic sharks, like the mako and whitetip. Many of these sharks spend their entire lives far from land, roaming the open oceans in search of food. They might be the hardest sharks for offshore fishermen to locate, but can sometimes be found in large numbers in a "feeding frenzy" caused by schooling prey species.

The area you choose in which to pursue the sport of shark fishing depends largely upon whether you own or have access to a boat and what kind of boat it is. But inshore shark fishing is available to almost anyone who can invest in a rod and reel and some bait, so give it a try see what you can pull in when you cast your hook for sharks - the supreme predators of the sea.

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