Shark fishing off Florida’s coast is an exciting challenge for anglers of all skill levels, but there is a lot to know before you cast a line. There are many species of sharks that inhabit the Atlantic and Gulf Coast waters around the state with some that you can fish for and others that are protected. It is important for anglers to know the proper gear requirements for catching these ocean predators, techniques to use, and most importantly the Florida regulations specific to shark fishing.
Start by purchasing a valid Florida fishing license and get ready for some fun outings on the water.
What to Know
When it comes to shark fishing in Florida there is a lot to know but that should not deter you from trying to catch some of the most impressive species that inhabit the waters surrounding the state. There are many species of sharks to catch in Florida including Atlantic Sharpnose, Blacktip, Bonnethead, Bull, Nurse, Thresher, Spinner, and Oceanic whitetip among others.
Before you set out to fish for sharks you will want to decide if you are prepared to try it on your own, have the proper equipment and have thoroughly looked into Florida’s shark regulations. If you plan to fish on your own, you will want to understand how to handle and release these fish and invest in release tools to keep with you. If you are new to shark fishing or a first timer trying it in Florida, you will want to hire a guide who can remove the guesswork for you and help you have the most successful experience possible on the water.
Ways to Fish for Sharks
Shark fishing charters are the most popular way to fish for sharks. Shark fishing trips, which are usually offshore charters, are the easiest way to do it. Charter captains will know the regulations, instruct you on techniques and have all the equipment needed to catch the fish of a lifetime including proper shark fishing rods and reels. Fishing from a charter boat has another advantage – you can easily move to another location if the fish aren’t biting in a particular spot.
Anglers can also try shark fishing from the shore. It is not uncommon to see anglers shark fishing from the beach, away from swimmers. You will need to take Florida’s Shark-Smart Fishing educational course and obtain a certificate if you choose this option.
Shark Fishing Equipment
Shark fishing rods and shark fishing reels are two of the most important pieces of gear when it comes to this specific kind of fishing. The next set of shark fishing equipment to consider is the line, terminal tackle, and bait. If you are new to shark fishing, you will want to consult the experts at local bait and tackle shops to find out the best equipment to use in the location where you are fishing. They will have the best insider knowledge and local expertise needed to advise you on suitable tackle.
Shark Fishing Regulations
Florida has strict shark fishing regulations. There are harvestable sharks like Blacktip, Bonnethead, Bull, Porbeagle and Thresher as well as prohibited sharks including the Atlantic angel, Bigeye thresher and Lemon shark. If you catch one of the prohibited species, the shark’s gills must remain in the water. If you plan on doing shore-based shark fishing, you will need to obtain a Shore-based Shark Fishing permit from the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission which entails taking regulation tutorials and passing a questionnaire.