Catch and Release Shark Fishing

You’re setup on the beach with your brand new shark gear and you just caught and rigged up the best shark bait you could find. You waded out and casted your bait in the perfect location and got back to dry land and set your pole in the rod holder. Surely you remembered to loosen you drag all the way so your pole isn’t pulled in the water when that 6 foot blacktip cruises by your shark bait.

Now it’s time to do what fisherman do best. You wait. And you wait. Then in an instant your pole will double over or your clicker will start singing. In that instant you’ll be hit with an adrenaline rush like none other. It’s time to do battle with the biggest and baddest predator the oceans will ever see.

Get to your pole ASAP. At this point the shark has just picked up the bait and is off to devour his freshly plucked meal. From the time you hear that clicker you need to start counting. When you get to 10 it’s time to set the hook. As fast as you can start loading up the drag to a predetermined drag setting. Make sure you reel in all the slack and then set the hook as hard as you can. Now the shark is going to start peeling some major drag. Keep your eyes on the water because if you’ve hooked a blacktip, spinner, or mako shark you may see him jump out of the water. As he’s peeling drag don’t try to stop him. Let him wear himself out. Your goal at this point is to keep the line as tight as possible. If he turns and swims back towards the beach you’ve got to reel in that slack as fast as possible. It may also help to run up the beach to get that slack line tight again.

Eventually you’ll start gaining line back. Then you’ll see your 100lb leader surface. At this point you’ll want to have a friend handy to hold your pole or be the daring one and grab the shark by his tail. You’ll want him to be in less than knee deep water before trying to pull him by his tail onto the beach. You need to have a pair of 16″ channel lock pliers handy in order to retrieve the hook. Pull the shark by the tail onto the sand. You’ll need to work quick so no permanent damage is done to the shark. If you can’t get the hook out in a couple of tries cut the leader and leave the hook behind. The hook will rust out of his mouth in a couple of days and he’ll be perfectly fine.

Cutting Leader to Release Blacktip Shark.

Snap a couple of pictures and pull him back in the water. You’re going to need to walk him out quite a ways (knee deep water) and get the water flowing over his gills again. If he is unresponsive keep pulling him back and forth in the water. You’ll know when it’s time to let him swim free.

The Rest of the Shark Fishing Guide


  1. Holy Sizzling Sharks! Now that’s daring! Oh, yeah, and truly, “not so boring!” Where do you catch these bad boys? Is it any time of year?

    • poor sharks, shame on you!!!
      u have no idea what are you doing! better try something to rescue sharks from their miserable situation!


      • What their doing is enjoying God’s creations!! Sharks are the bad boys of the ocean, they can take a little hook in the mouth, it’s not gonna hurt them, turn off your Disney films and learn that some of the most conservation savvy people on the planet are your hunters, and fishermen. That is because they are out in the field and they know about the species, and habitat and what the animals can take. It’s the people that spend their life curled up on the sofa watching TV that don’t really have a clue what’s going on!!:shock:

        I’m a huge animal lover, I’ve never been hunting but I know quite a few hunters, and they have some of the most utmost respect for the game they hunt. Same goes for sharks, I’m just starting to get into shark fishing (been a fisherman my whole life), and as long as your educated about what you’re doing you can do little damage to the shark, and have an amazing experience. Don’t knock it until you try it!!
        Keep up the great work on the site I’m loving all the advice and pictures!!

        • Hey, I like your message that you wrote. SO VERY TRUE!!! I have also been fishing my whole life but just began shark fishing with my children at Hilton Head last summer. We had a blast!!! Matters of fact, I didn’t find Hilton Head to be such a kid oriented place. So we thought we would buy some surf casters and see what we could catch. Man, BEST IDEA WE CAME UP WITH THAT WEEK!!! All we did was catch sharks and my kids loved it. Matters of fact, that is all we ended up doing all week!!LOL We are going back this year (6/28/08-7/05/08) and, long story short, I have the whole family interested in doing it.

          With that being said, what would be the best places to go?? what time?? What kind of gear and where to get it?? Any feedback would be greatly appreciated. Have fun and always take a kid fishing!!


          PS- Shoot me back at with your response. Thanks again and happy fishing!!!

        • hunters and fisherman care most about the environment because we get our food from it you wouldnt pour toxic chemicals ion your fridge and its the same logic i hunt deer and i respect their beuty and their power and grace

      • beach sharker says

        y r the sharks so poor? they kill people and all the shark fisherman do back is have fun proving they r better that the oceans apex predetor. most big time real shak fisheman practice catch and release probably over 95% of the time. the shaks are released and r never hurt. a sharks mouth is made to handle pain and lots of pressure due to the food they eat thrashing around in there mouth it doesnt hurt. so, r the sharks still so poor?

  2. Very nice info!
    I was at the bait store and asked whats the difference between spanish sardines and thread herring.
    Guy said the 6 to 7 inch thin spanish sardines had lots of oil and blood.
    said Id have problems with sharks.
    To my delight I bought about 5 pounds worth.
    their were alot.

    cost about 16 bucks.
    I have a spot next to a bridge on the rocks, i go to the base of teh rocks inches off the water.

    Iset up my sardines threw them in, then put my huge penn reel and rod in a hole in th erock with the spinner rather loose for when I get hit.

    Im barely putting in the rod in the hole, when th ething starts screaming!
    im thinking oh man!!!!!!!!! I start reeling, and bam! my 60 lb test wa sbitten through.
    Im learning as I go.

    2 feet of wire leader is not enogh.
    Its safe to assume a shark ate the whole leader and bit my line.
    Im positive I wasnt stuck on the rocks.

    im in miami I go down to islamorada, were the tarpon are just as tough.
    Which later ontaht day on fathers day, I caught my first huge tarpon.

    well in that same spot were they clean th efish at the end of the pier, a 6 foot nurse shark practically wanted to crawl out of teh water.
    I could have jumped on it and bull rode it.

    next time I plan on using the tie method for my bait, which is a huge pain in my ass. and a very long leader wellgotta go!

    thanks for the useful info!!!

    • It did not eat the leader it hit the line with its tail

      • I just want to mention I am just beginner to blogging and sitbue-ilding and honestly savored your web site. Most likely I’m planning to bookmark your website . You absolutely have superb well written articles. Cheers for sharing your blog.

    • Carlton Collins says

      Your wire leader needs to be several feet longer than the shark you are going after – it is likely that the shark you hooked flicked his rough sandpaper like tail against the line and broke the line above your 2 foot leader. I grew up on Saint Simons Island and now live on Jekyll…I’m not the greatest shark fisherman…but after fishing for sharks for 50 years, I do know a little.

    • 2-3 feet of wire leader is plenty but then you need to attach the wire to 4 feet or so of 100lb or greater mono filament. This is fine for 6 foot sharks.

  3. “If you can’t get the hook out in a couple of tries cut the leader and leave the hook behind. The hook will rust out of his mouth in a couple of days and he’ll be perfectly fine.”

    this is process actually takes quite long around 7-8 months maybe even longer and can cause the shark to have problems feeding which can change his diet drastically maybe even being fatal..

    great site though lots of info…..:)

    • In addition to your comment, some success I’ve had is with using heavy wire cutters to cut the hook in half, then just slip the other end out of the mouth opposite of the barb. To do this safely, you need long needle-nose pliers to keep your hands away from its mouth.

      Also, I’ve never had a problem pulling a circle hook out. All you have to do is crimp the barb of the hook (the inner curve of the hook serves well enough as its own barb) and then it slips right out. I’ve had no problems catching four-five foot sharks with these arrangements.

    • Stephen Moore says

      You are correct! It takes much longer than a few days. I use bolt cutters and cut the hook if I can’t get it out without injuring the shark. Ii know the hook will work its self out that way. I’m 100% ccach and release.

  4. David Peters says

    That is some great info, I just got my first experance with shark fishing on 09/11/07 while my wife and I were on vacation at N. Myrtle Beach, S.C. I surf fish while she lays in the sun , To my suprise I caught a 4′ Hammerhead (What a fight) I just get to do it once a year but I can see where this is a great sport. Thanks for the info GREAT JOB !!!!

  5. Great info!! I went surf fishing for sharks in Dec 07 just north of Cocoa Beach. Unfortunately it was before I read this article. I had no leader. Very light tackle. Med action spinning rod with 30lb mono. 5/0 circle hooks with dead finger mullet. I got lucky and landed a 40″ black tip hooked perfectly on the side. However, I lost 4 rigs during the outing. I took 2 of my kids and we all had a blast. Our next trip will be more successful thanks to your info. I will keep you posted. Thanks again.

  6. Great site! A lot of information.
    I personally am a great fan of catch and release. If we want our children to have the same fun in shark fishing as we, we should not kill these beautiful animals that are on top of the food chain.
    One small thing about the text, quote:
    ”You’re going to need to walk him out quite a ways (knee deep water) and get the water flowing over his gills again. If he is unresponsive, keep pulling him back and forth in the water.”
    Pulling a shark back and forth in the water might drown him. Fresh water needs to flow from mouth trough the gills –>. My advice is to only push him forwards for as long as necessary, don’t pull him backwards.
    Thanks for the nice site, good luck with the next catch!

  7. Here are some good videos on how to release a shark safely:

    Email me if you have any questions,

  8. hey dude….
    We fish the shores of Carolina Beach N.C here and catch some very large black tips and even a few large tigers here The biggest so far has been about 350lbs and thats on spinning tackle and small conventional reels the sharks are here have fun good luck with the sharks!!!!!!!!
    Greg the sharkman!!!!

    • You must be talking about a sandtiger shark. Theres no way in hell your going to catch a real tiger up to 350lbs on spinning tackle.

  9. thanks a bunch… me and my dad go shark fishing quite often and will be back out on the water in a few days… we have caught a 200 pound 8 foot bull shark….6 foot dusky…….. and a four foot bonnet head.. we also caught a few large blacktips all in Hilton Head SC!!!!! I recommend hilton head in the fall. it is like the shark capital, we went regular fishing for a change and still caught mostly sharks.

    FINS UP!!!!!!

  10. Dude cummon,is that all your’ll have in USA, 😕 Here in SA we’ve got monsters,im talking about 150 kilograms+much bigger rods and we all use penn reels,but we gota throw much further than that,thats the only down fall,south africans are holding the records for largest BLACKFIN and BRONZE WHALERS and BRONZE HAMMER HEAD SHARKS 😆

    • Here in Texas we have some big @$$ tigers, bulls, and hammers. We always have big gear. Penn senator 12/0, 14/0, and the massive 16/0 are the comon shark rigs.

    • part time surfcaster says

      List of big sharks (100-500lbs) commonly caught by surf shark fishermen in the USA: Blacktips, duskies, sandtigers (you call them raggies, I believe) threshers, 7 gills, scalloped hammerheads, lemons sandbars, and Blues. (500-1000lbs and up): Bulls, great hammerheads, tigers, makos, and White sharks. I’ll admit that blues, makos, and whites aren’t COMMON catches, but they do happen.


  12. yea man great info but i was fishing in myrtle beach and caught a nice size croaker and cut it in half and threw it out there and about 5 minutes whammmmmmm my pole was whizzzing drag and i set oh man a 7 foot hammer head man almost broke my marlin pole fougght so hard .. nice info . i thinnk this will help me alot

  13. ❗ I grew up on the beach at the mouth of tampa bay and have done enough shark fishing to write my own book. There is some handy info in your materials here but I would really caution against encouraging someone with out experience around these animals to get in the water with one and grab it by the tail. A shark of any size is fully capable of coming full circle and biting you while you have a hold of it. A better recommendation would be to pull it up on the sand with your pole using the incoming waves to help push the fish as far up on the beach as possible. Sharks are like no other fish, they can survive out of water for long periods of time, so having it on the sand (not you in the water with it) for a couple of minutes wont do it any harm. A good rule of thumb is if you can’t see the hook in the corner of its mouth don’t even try, just cut the leader. When it comes time to release grab the shark on top between the dorsal fin and the head. This is the only place you can hold it with out it swinging around and grabbing your arm or closest leg. Walk it out to the point where it can just baretly swim and let go! The water coming in with the waves will get over its gills and give it the rush it needs, in 25 years of doing this i’ve never seen a shark that got pushed back up on the beach because I didn’t cuddle with it in the water. DO NOT sit with it because when it gets that rush it will see you holding it, and act defensively by biting you. Its not a redfish or snook, it is highly probable that it may not like you next to it after what it views as a confusing and stressful ordeal and will use every tooth god gave it to let you know it.

    • Any suggestions for catching a shark off Indian Rocks beach. I have come nose to nose with a 5 footer, but never been able to catch one. Best time of day etc?

    • Hi………… name is Dave and I plan to do some shark fishing at Boca Grande on Gasparilla Island just south of Englewood Florida. I read your post and you mentioned “safely” releasing sharks. I have caught small blacktips & bonnetheads & am interested in catch & releaseing larger hammerheads & other species. I am inexperienced and do not want to get bit nor have my fishing buddies get bit. I am looking for some serious experienced advice & do not wish to be stupid and learn the hard way. Is tail poping a good idea to stay clear of the thrashing animal fighting for its life? whats the best way to tail rope them & then get the rope off & release them? do you try to hold them down with pressure against the gills & downward pressure just forward of the dorsal fin? Thanks for trying to help us newbies…………..shark fishing is the greatest fishing I have experienced & I don’t want to see anyone get hurt , I am humble and am not a “know it all”!! Thanks for your time matt, sincerely Dave S

    • Carlton Collins says

      Well said…I heartily concur with this advice…if you can’t see the hook, just cut the leader at a safe distance from the mouth…if possible, get a buddy to pin the shark down on the sand using both hands behind the head before attempting to remove a hook or cut the leader…

  14. I got started in surf fishing for sharks some time ago. After many unsucessful attempts (just feeding fish) I finally got some good info and got on the right track. Alot of the info I received from an old pro is the same as above. I have had a lot of success with using cut mullet in the Savannah and Charleston areas. I’ve caught all sizes with my personal record coming in between 6 and 7 feet. I choose to cast my bait from the beach and agree that having some sort of structure is key. I’ve moved inland now but last year on my vacation I hooked a shark that was around 8′ (by estimate). He came out of the water and I at least got a look. He straightened the small hook I was using then waived good bye. I am leaving in a couple days for the same vacation and will be much more prepared this time. This is a great website and is very informative. Tight Lines!!

  15. I caught my first sharks off the beach in Panama City at the halfway bridge on Memorial Day. We actually just came out in the evening with nothing particular in mind. Just wanted to get some fishing in. Catch and release. I had a bite and reeled in. Suddenly my fish jerked real hard for a moment and then I lost him. I reeled my line back in to rebait the hook and than I saw I still had my catch, a mullet, but only the head. I looked at my hubby and we both said. “SHARKS!” He is the better fisherman, no doubts about that. He took the cast net and caught some more mullets, cut them up and baited my hook, even cast it out for me. So there I was standing onthe beach holding my Shakespeare Bigwater rod while Joe was cutting up mullets. Than time my reel went ‘wheeee’ and I reeled in while the line went out. Joe jumped up and snatched the rod from me, did something to the drag and reeled it in. It was a shark about 3’long. I went into the water when it was about knee deep, took the leader and pulled him up on the sand. Joe yelling the whole time. “Get out of the water that’s a @#$^ shark.”
    “I know,” I hollerd back at him. “I just caught my first shark na na boo boo.” We took a couple of pictures of the bullshark, removed the hook, thank God for the circle hooks, and let him go.The next bite came almost as soon as I had my line back in the water. This one took me very unprepared. I was standing up and it almost yanked me off my feet straight into the water. I saved myself from going that route by just dropping down on my butt and digging my heels in. Than the line just snapped. My hook, weight, 24″ wire leader were all gone. Joe said.”There’s the bait put it on your hook yourself.” And he cast off his own line, all eager to catch a shark too. He did catch a fish. All exitited he reeled in a cute redfish. I reeled in a cute tiger shark. I caught another fairly big shark but he got loose in the shallow water. We did call it a night than, but we’re so hooked. These fish do put up a great fight but being able to actually touch a shark and remove the hook from those awesome teeth is something else. t’s a privileged to get close to one of those magnificent creatures.

  16. Great posts with a ton of good information. Here’s a question that might not quite fit here, but how do I AVOID catching sharks? I was fishing on Hilton Head last summer, and decided to do a little surf fishing. I was catching one black tip after another, but not a single fish! I love the fight the sharks put up, but I’d like to catch a fish here and there too. Thanks

    • There are so many sharks (mostly babies) that you’ll never be able to keep from catching them. Most people use shrimp or squid and manage small rays, sharks, and some fish. I personally cast net my own mullet and use them. If there are sharks they are usually bigger ones hitting or any other decent sized game fish. This summer I had two 4’+ sharks break off on a finger sized mullet!

      • where is the best place to catch sharks in the surf

        • Carlton Collins says

          On Saint Simons and Jekyll island, like the rest of the eastern seaboard, you can catch sharks anywhere – but location will dictate the size. Sharks from small to 6 feet can be caught along any beach or any rivers behind the island (unless there is a pulp mill spewing hot, semi-polluted water back into the river. The bigger sharks are found in deeper waters and you will need a boat to take you out or a boat to carry your line out. Some people have success attaching balloons to their bait to float it out to sea, then pull the rod hard to pop the balloon so the bait will sink.

          The bigger sharks can be found in the sounds between islands, or in the deep waters of the Intracoastal waterway…60 feet or deeper. They seem to feed more at slack tide, or maybe that’s because they can more easily follow the bait’s scent when the water is moving slower. If you hook a monster, you will never reel it in unless you tire it out first – so if you are in a boat, just let it pull the boat around for a few hours – 5 or more hours is not uncommon. If you land a really big one from shore, you’ll likely never pull it in – either you will run out of line, or run out of stamina – but I’ve seen a 13 footer pulled in from the Saint Simons Pier, so it can be done if you have strong tackle. It took a tow truck to pull all the way in after the fisherman lassoed his tail with a heavy rope.

  17. Bryan Lester says

    I am a big time shark fisherman. I own a boat but rather fish from the surf for sharks, it’s such a blast. Majority of the time we release the sharks. Once or twice a year we might keep a big bull shark and a blacktip, just enough to put in the freezer. But regulations on the sharks in VA and NC are 54″ and that really narrows it down to what we can keep. We normally target 5-12′ sharks off of Hatteras and Va beach. There was a monster shark last year caught off cape point which was awesome. It was 12’6″ tiger shark and weighed 620 lbs. which was a record fish. We fought fish on 14/0 penn for 3 hours and 10 minutes, it was a blast! The shark was released unharmed and was not gaffed. It was tail roped and pulled to the surf and still had enough water under it to support it’s weight. I do not believe in killing sharks for the jaws when you can buy them from any boardwalk beach shop you visit. It’s a different story if you are eating the shark but don’t take advantage with what we have been blessed with. Have fun fish hard and may the sharks be with you. If you really wanna fish for thebig boys in Va beach and Hatteras email me at

  18. I get the whole “catch and release” thing, but really, shark steak is some of the best fish I’ve ever had. Last year I found a big interest in fishing in Sanibel Island, Florida. Using nothing more than a surf rig and cut squid, I caught three sharks, each about 2-3 feet long, and my grandfather decided that we should fillet them like we did with all of the catfish we had been hooking. I don’t know exactly what type of sharks they were, but I knew, based on the detailed regulations that they were legal to take. Is there a specific reason why catch and release is used more as a method rather than catch and eat?

    • sport. catch and release is more fun and when you relase them there is a chance of cathcin the same 1 twice ❗ ❗

    • Small sharks are much better eating than large ones. Once they get big there meat turns to crap.

    • sharks are overfished in a lot of the world. so we try to preserve them since so many countries in asia think its a good idea to kill them for shark fin soup regardless of species of whether theyre endangered

  19. i got a question im leaving for Key West tomorrow and really want to catch a shark. I’m from texas and fish for sharks in Galveston all the time. Anyone have any tips for where to fish or what to use?

    • Carlton Collins says

      Where ever you fish, chum the water with three buckets of fresh cut bait fish regularly for an hour – that will leave a blood and fish oil slick for half a mile and the sharks will follow it in and find you. Actually, that will attract all kinds of fish, not just sharks. As mentioned above, use a wire leader 2 feet longer than the shark you are going after, and fish anywhere – the deeper and more open the water, the bigger the sharks…

  20. 🙂 nice catch. every time i go shark ishing on the surf i donn’t get anything.. 😥 have fun fishing!!!!

  21. Hey, Im heading down to Myrtle Beach SC in the middle of March and am interested in shark fishing from the beach as many of you are talking about. Being from Chicago I’ve grown up catching bass, catfish, trout and panfish…needless to say I’ve only had to use lighter tackle my whole life, never exceeding 10 lb test. But I would really love to try this and would appreciate some tips.

    Im not looking for huge sharks, I’d be perfectly happy with 2-4 footers and I was wondering how heavy of line should be used. Also what sort of leaders should be used? The only ones Im familiar with are little 8 inch steel leaders for Northern Pike and Im assuming sharks would be able to bite through that. Additionally, if you have comments on hooks or ways of rigging up your bait please fill me in. I dont know if Im just supposed to throw half a fish out there and let if float or put weight on it to sink it to the bottom. Also, how far out should I place my bait (Ill most likely be fishing at night).

    Anyway, all advice would be greatly appreciated or if you could refer me to a website full of good information I’d appreciate that as well. You may email me at Thanks.

    • I liked this one, too, although I hav&en#8217;t actually seen it in play. The fleshed-out factions were a great plus for me; otherwise, yeah, it’s very similar to BM1.




  23. Will Fundora says

    Very nice site Informative and a good start up for the begginer shark hunter but if you want hard core and the best land- based shark tournament in the world “the Big Hammer Challenge”check out

    Tight lines and “Catch a monster”

  24. Welcome
    I usually use the bait to catch large fish from the beach and more often you cut the thread and a few escape and he grabbed the note that I am using German-made yarn thickness of 50.
    In fact, one of the best sports favorite and I encourage all friends and who practice them all the greetings and appreciation and ask that give us their expertise in this activity.
    best regards

  25. Just moved to Florida from Ohio in august, I live close to destin , an ❗ d I must say the sharks
    In destin are amazing I just starting shark fishing , but my first one was a 5 foot bull shark caught on spinning tackle and 30 lb test . The info you have put out helped me alot.

  26. thealmostmastercasterbaiterwader says

    someone please give me miracle info! i just moved to charleston SC, its sat december 4 and i want to hook into a shark from the beach! i have a 12 ft rod and a big penn spinning reel. what should i do to land a nice shark[3-10ft] of any kind? what rig/bait should i use? what area of water should i look for(beach)? Thanks. im going fishing everyday until i land a job here!

  27. Please take a look at the shark savers website ( learn about sharks. It’s outrageous that you do this as a hobby.

    “Sharks face the threat of extinction in every part of the world due to overfishing. The over-fishing is driven by the high demand for shark fins. Complicating matters is man’s fear and ignorance of sharks, which results in people either not caring about sharks, or thinking that it is a good thing to kill them.”

    • part time surfcaster says

      I went to the site. It never said not to fish for sharks…..actually, they said they didn’t care about recreational shark fishing, as long as it was catch and release with the animal out of water for a minimal ammount of time, making sure the shark experiences as little stress as possible. Actually read both this site and the shark savers site before you say that we’re “outrageous”. You won’t look as stupid that way!

  28. thealmostmastercasterbaiterwader says

    well im not scared of them nor am i ignorant. every fish i catch i safely release. and if one of them is too injured to survive i would eat it. but i am very much against the de-finning of sharks and mistreatment of any animal. i appreciate your concern, but maybe you need to refine your targeting process. i will be glad to check out the sharksavers website.

  29. thealmostmastercasterbaiterwader says

    also, i have studied in depth many species of animals since i was little. my fascination with animals creates my drive to explore and go fishing. it also makes me handle any animal with care and concern for its well being. if a hook is properly removed and the shark that has been caught is handled correctly it has no problem re-orienting itself back into its habitat within a short period of time. so what is so outrageous about my hobby?

  30. Great site guys. I’m going to Myrtle Beach in June and wanting to try a little fishing. I have never fished for anything bigger than bass and catfish! What type of rod/reel combo should I use for pier fishing and how should I rig it up? I’m open to any and all suggestions. What type baits, how to fish them etc. etc. Any and all advice is greatly appreciated. Not sure what I want to fish for, just know I want a good fight and be able to release. Maybe keep 1 or 2 if their good eating. Email me @ Thanks good fishing

  31. Hello. I LOVE fishing. I have fished fresh water my whole life. Like many fishermen, I respect the fish. Can someone explain the “gravity” problem when laying a shark or fish on land? I saw it mentioned a few time in these comments? Also, a friend went deep sea fishing and reeled in a marlin. Though the fish was revived in the water, it soon died. Can a fish handle the stress of hours of fight and still revive?

  32. As an experienced pier, surf and boat fisherman and NOAA/NMS certified shark tagger in the Virginia, NC & SC waters for 30+ years, I am very concerned about the lack of safety in your instructions on catching, landing, detaching and releasing a shark from the beach. You either don’t have a lot of experience in doing it the way you describe or you’re pretty damn lucky that you haven’t been bitten while wading into water to grab a hooked shark by it’s tail, pull it to the beach by it’s tail, removing the hook, pulling back into the water and wading in the water with the shark as you try to revive it. A shark of any size can instantly swing around 180+ degrees to bite you while you’re holding it’s tail. If you’re “lucky”, it might hit your head with it’s head or body instead of it’s mouth and teeth.

    I’ve seen several people get bitten in various places based on your instructions. If you plan on releasing a fish or shark, it’s best to use a barb-less hook. Consider cutting the leader and letting the shark swim away instead of beaching it. The shark may be injured and bleeding, which means you need to definitely avoid getting in the water with a shark. A pregnant female may abort her pups prematurely based on your beaching attempt. More than 1 shark is probably nearby and you, the hooked shark and aborted pups are all welcome and easy targets for the unhooked sharks you don’t see.

    Sharks on the east coast and elsewhere were over fished and wasted for several decades. They grow and sexually mature at a much slower rate than a fish. The larger species often produce only a few (1-5) pups per pregnancy. They are often eaten or killed by other sharks and humans before they are sexually mature. A lot of environmental factors impact their life expectancy. Yes, sharks are endangered and should be respected and protected.


    • Capt. Chris says

      Well said Sharky… I think this guy is either lucky with his antics or full of BS and apt to be called Lefty or pegleg soon. Shark handling is no joke and us taggers need to make sure anyone who is handling them is informed about the safe, ethical and responsible way to do so.. Tight lines..

  33. Capt. Chris says

    Some good info here but clearly written by an amature. Great lessons in how to get bit drown sharks and gut hook them with Jhooks. I tag dozens if not hundreds of sharks each year and circle hooks of proper size to bait results in as many hookups as J hooks without gut or gill hooking. Bronze circle hooks are the responsible way, stainless hooks dont rust either….. This is a good place to start but encouraging people to grab a shark by the tail isnt too bright nor is drag them back and forth as thats a great way to drown them.. Hopefully as the author gets some experience he will rewrite this with a bit more responsible and accurate information.

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