Deploying Shark Bait

You’ve really got 2 choices when it comes to deploying shark bait. You can cast it out or you can kayak it out. I’ve also convinced a couple friends to use their surfboards to deploy shark bait, but this method is not recommended. On the particular day we did deploy our shark bait with a surfboard, we got a hookup before he even made it back to the beach! They never knew shark fishing could be so much fun ๐Ÿ˜‰

Casting Shark Bait

Casting shark bait can be quite difficult since you’ve got to throw a pound or more of shark bait that is connected to a 6′ leader with an 8 oz. leader. What you need to remember is that sharks have an incredible sense of smell and have no problem coming into waste deep water. If you can only cast your shark bait 10-15 yards don’t worry. Walk it out as far as you can, just make sure you are in the gut (between sandbars). Once you get good at casting you should be able to throw a hunk of shark bait 30-40 yards.

If you’re casting a Penn Senator 113 or similar bait casting rod you’ve got a whole new challenge. Keeping your reel from ‘bird nesting’ is a must. There is nothing worse than getting a huge spool of line all tangled up and wasting precious time with which you could be catching bait. A lot of times a big tangled mess means cutting the line and starting over. You can’t afford to be cutting 50-100 yards of your spool. My first suggestion would be to tie on a weight and practice on the beach for several minutes. Once you feel comfortable add a little more weight. Remember a 6oz weight and a 20-30oz hunk of meat weighs a lot! You’ll eventually get the hang of it and it will be quite easy to cast. If you have major issues with casting I have another suggestion. Loosen the drag as light as it will go and throw it has hard as you can. With the drag enabled at all times it will not birds nest at all. Iรขโ‚ฌโ„ขm sure this is not good for your reel, so it’s best to learn to cast properly.

One other safety concern to mention when casting shark bait. When your heaving a ton of weight from the end of the pole the line as a tendency to slip in your fingers. You can get a deep cut on your fingers if this happens. Consider using some surgical tubing or a leather glove when casting. There is nothing worse than nursing a deep wound when you’re going to be on the beach all day.

Kayaking Shark Bait

Kayaking your shark bait is the best way to haul out those large baits. Two recommended kayaks are the Scrambler XT or the Frenzy. Both are made by Ocean Kayaks and are great for kayaking in the surf. If you get serious about shark fishing and buy a extra large reel you can haul out your baits several hundred yards and go for the big boys. Additionally they are quite fun to play in the waves when the fishing is slow.

Once you’re happy with your placement you can walk back to the beach and place your rod in a holder. I recommend a 2-3″ย PVC type rod holder about 4-5′ long. This will keep your reel out of the sand and the corrosive salt water. Also having the rod this high will keep the line out of the sand therefore prolonging the life of your main line. Once its in the rod holder be sure to loosen your drag. You want it tight enough so the waves don’t pull it out, and loose enough that a shark won’t realize he just picked up a dinner.

Have a tip or see something I missed? Want to ask a question? Just drop a quick comment below and I get back to you before your next big shark fishing trip.

The Rest of the Shark Fishing Guide


  1. I didn’t see anything about tying the bait up to a surf board, having one of your retarded buddies paddle it out, drop it in the water and watch his friends running toward the fishing pole because the line went ZING! seconds after the bait was in the water.

    • This website is great and has been a big help as I try to learn more about shark fishing. Going to Perdido Key Florida in a few weeks and want to do some shark fishing from the beach while there. Not looking to catch really big ones but a 4-5 footer would be nice. Not kayaking this trip but will purchase one soon, so I will be casting from the beach. Got a decent rod that will be loaded with 50lb microfiber line (200 yards). Can you give me an idea of what hooks, weights and leader set up I should use?

      • 200 yards is nowhere near enough. you need at least 500 yards. I dont own a shark rig without 1500 yards. All of mine have 300-500 yards of mono, backed by 1000 yards of braid

    • we swim our baits out when we take the trip to hickery by in bonita. its nice to have then a couple hundred feet out. better chance in shore fish wont take your baite a peice at a time. caugt an ellevan foot saw lat niht.

  2. Doh! It helps if you read the whole post. ๐Ÿ˜ณ

    • Hello, we use a baloon to get our bait out when peir fishing, it works great.

      • how do you pop the baloon put a tac inside the baloon and pull hard when it gets off shore far enough?? maby the baloon will pop

        • I fish the north skyway pier in tampa fl all the time. when u use the ballon to get your live or dead bait out you only have to blow it up half way the ballon will pop when the shark has it if it is big enough

        • Tie the ballon to a life saver and the life saver to your line when the life saver melts the ballon will released

  3. Another way to get your bait out is to use a cardboard box. This requires having the wind blowing in the general direction you want the bait to go. You just take a box about 18″x18″ (or bigger, depending on the size of your bait) and tape the bottom with a little paper tape. Lay the bait in the bottom of the box. Cut a slit about 2″ in a top corner of the box and secure your leader by pushing it down into the slit, leaving the rest of the leader outside of the box. Put the box in the water and let it sail away as far as you want it to go then give it a good yank, pulling the bait out of the box. The bait goes to the bottom and the box will sink when it becomes waterlogged and disintegrate.

  4. John Abraham says

    I travel to fort lauderdale FL every year. we have a place on the ocean and i am learning how to surf fish for sharks. Last year i brought a huge lady fish over from the gulf and had it out for 1/2 hour and BAMMM gone and all my rigging with it. does anyone have any suggestions or comments about this area for sharks. i fish early about 4:00 am when no one is around. there are some reefs straight out where i live about 150- 200 yards out. should i kiak my bait out there ? also what pound test line is safest for large sharks ?
    this year is my year. (my wife hates this shit, i love it. Any help would be greatly appreceated. I leave aroung mid dec. and stay till early jan.

    • There are various shark species in Fort luaderdale. You might hook up with hammers, bulls, lemons, blacktips, spinners, nurses, and others. I wouldn’t yak out baits unless you have the gear to catch a large shark. A minimum would be a 9/0. I use braided line, I like to stay on the fish at all times. PowerPro is a very reliable braid, if your going to use braid, don’t use anything smaller than 65lb.

      What kind of set-ups do you have?

      Email me if you have any questions and i’ll gladly answer them,

    • I recommend a 9/0 penn senator 80lbs power pro line with a hundred pound topshot of mono on top of that you can use a sliding trace with 300 to 700 pound weed eater line and 250 to 1000 coated cable with a 16/0 or 20/0 circle hook.Hope this helps if you have any more questions you can email me at i own a surf fishing guide services here in southpadreisland texas.

  5. Here in South Africa shark fishing has moved on a bit.
    We use SLIDE RIGS.
    Basically you have a mainline (0,45mm mono) , attach a 3-9 meter flouro leader (1.0mm)
    and end off with 225lbs wire tip of about a meter long.Next you attach a stopper ring , another 45 cm of flouro and then a 10 ounce grapnel sinker.
    The non return clip has two 10/0 or 1x 10/0 and 1x 8/0 on a 80cm 225lbs trace.
    We normally use Bonnitos or skipjack as bait which are attached to the hooks similar to the article above.
    Cast your line into the water (150m-200m) and then attach the non return clip and slide the bait down.By gently jerking your rod for about 10min the bait will work its way down to the stop ring.
    If any one wants more detailed info please email me at and ill send some more info.

  6. mike robak says


    • Your main line should be braid. Then a shock leader. about 10-20 yards of 110 mono. You can use a uni-to-uni knot to make the connection. In general this knot will slip through the guides on your rod. To the shark leader you’ll want 5+ ft of steel leader. You should be able to leave the steel leader at the end of the rod to make the cast. The shock leader will wind up on the reel.

  7. This shark fishing sounds fun but I think I would use a kite to deploy my bait or maybe a remote control boat on a calm day. Maybe a wave runner. This may sound kind of goofy but its got to be better than carrying bait out on a surf board or kayak when a big Bull shark may be around and mistake you for the bait.

    • Down here in Australia my mate and I used to use a remote controlled boat to get our lines out from the Ninety Mile Beach here in Victoria.We started doing this over 20 years ago and ended up with a 5ft boat that had a 4hp outboard powerhead in it.My (now deceased) mate was a brilliant engineer and made up a lot of the metal parts,not to mention his craftmanship in wood!We had a hatch in the back of the boat in which there was a pipe that we’d put the bait & trace into.We also had another line attached to the front of the boat to pull it back in.We’d run the boat until it was around 500-600 metres out and when ready to drop the bait we’d just clamp the reel with the bait and open the hatch,allowing the trace & bait to flow out.We then turned it off and pulled it back in.We believe(d) we were the first people in Australia to do this with any regularity.There’s now another mob that have a boat and fish the same area..possibly after seeing our boat in action??

      Great stuff!!! ๐Ÿ˜€

  8. john michael kamel says

    this post answered all my questions,..thanks~!

  9. sam from jax says

    I have plans this summer to spend 10 days on the beach at the south ponte vedra area. Our plans are to do some shark fishing from the beach. I will be using a penn senator 113, and doing pretty much as your article says with tackle, line weight, bonita for bait etc. My plan for deploying bait will be with kayak, 75 to 100 yds out. Here is what im using to hold bait out: I want to deploy an anchor with a small lanyard attached to a jug float out to desired distance from shore; at the bottom of this anchor i will attach my line through a breakable clip that will hold my bait and line out. The bait and steel leader will be deployed several yards down current of the anchor. When shark takes the bait it should feed unobstructed through the breakable clip until which time i decide to set the hook and break and release the line. Am I looking for problems with possible tangle with lanyard.

    • I don’t think you’ll have any issues getting your line tangled in the lanyard. After your trip I’d love to hear just how well this idea works out

  10. When I go shark fishing, I don’t use a baitcaster. I use a conventional reel which has a casting and lock and reel switch on the top, and a clacker and regular switch on the side. And I just cast out and flip the switch to turn on the clacker. When I get a hit I flip the switch on the top, set the hook, and flip the switch on the side so that I don’t annoy everyone who is fishing around me ( on a pier or boat). ๐Ÿ˜€

    • I along with John Abraham live in the same buidling complex. we have gone fishing many times but there are two problems. One, it is to shallow to go out unless you have a kayak… problem is we dont have a kayak…… Two, there is always a debate about which bait to use. Today, we have chosen a rainbow fish. We are going to cast this thing out right now! Im writing this article five minutes prior to leaving. Any help will be greatly appreciated! ๐Ÿ˜ฏ

      • correction its a railbit fish? i dont know know exactly, but it looks like a combination of an eel and a houndfish but much much longer.

  11. awesom!! what about down here in the gulf of texas more around corpous area any good spots down here thanks!! i want to hook up a shark also

  12. Bryan Lester says

    I shark fish from the beach in Va beach sandbridge and north carolina, cape hatteras off of cape point regularly. Most of the time I kayak or jet ski bait anywhere from 100-250 yards but when we don’t kayak bait I normally use a 12 foot st. croix rod heavy action will hold a an 8-14 oz frog tongue sinker with a diawa sea line 50sha. If there is anyone on the east coast that had a passion for shark fishing and needs some advice please email me at, be glad to help. ๐Ÿ™‚ have fun fish hard and may the sharks be with you.

  13. Ever tried using a potato/lemon gun? that will get your bait out there. the other option is a plastic milk bottle with an elastic band tied to the handle. Drift the bait out and give the line a could pull to snap the elastic band. Works well

    • I’m new to fishing, but that’s not a good idea at all imhbh โ— o! There is too much trash in the ocean already. Look up the thread at the cardboard box as an alternative.

  14. we’re heading down to the bradenton fl area in june. anyone have any advice for some good spots ? I was thinking of heading out to the west as far as possible and throwing in. anyone have any suggestions on a good saltwater setup ( for shore shark fishing ) ? rod/ reel ? I saw a reel once, that once the bale was open, the reel turned to the front and when cast, the line all flew right off the reel, casting the bait WAY WAY out – no birds nests. any idea what brand that is ?
    Thanks for all the info – great site.

    • John FW IV says

      Siesta Key is a wonderful place to catch larger end blacktips and spinners, with the occasional hammerhead.

      North end of the beach, just before sunset.

    • That reel was an Alvey. Made in au. Google search will find them.

  15. Bryan Lester says

    my suggestion for casting a good distance and a very reliable reel would be a diawa 50 sha you can buy them anywhere for about 109 to about 119 dollars. My rod choice would be 12′ heavy action rod and make sure the rod will handle 6 to 12 ounce sinker.but if there is anything else I can help you with be glad to just email me at good luck.

  16. As a Newbie, I am always searching online for articles that can help me on this subject. Thank you!

  17. im goin shark fishing in ocean city md. never been shark fishing but have a proline boat an i want one tell me wat i need an do to get me any size shark so i can say ive caught one

    • RI Shark KING says

      You need a good rod, I’ve got a 6ft 8in 50-130lb Penn 14/0, Penn Senator 10/0 Big Game Fishing Reel, I’m using for line a lovely microfiber line as here in rhode island they are quite fond of running like a bat out of hell once hooked. Though monofiliment from your local dealer will be sufficent, I personally use 60 pound test monofiliment. For a leader I tend to make my own using a crimping tool some snaps and a swivel and use 400-500 pound stainless steel cable. To connect my leader to my mainline I tent to use 100-180 pound test monofilament. It all really depends on the season what line I pick. During the summer we have on occation had 1000 pound great white sharks, but generally the warmer the weather the bigger the sharks. For hooks I use 1 circle hook and a j hook, and spider weights. For hooks it depends on the sharks I’ve seen, if I see smaller sharks I like a 5/0 hook, if there are medium sharks in the area, I generally use a slightly larger hook a 8/0 hook or a 7/0 hook, if there are big sharks in the area I use a 12/0 hook. Keep in mind shark fishing isn’t always an exact science. You don’t need a boat roger, can catch them right from shore, I find at night is the better time as the beaches are empty generally, focus on sandbars. I find where 2 sand bars are, or an entrence to a feeding area, and I offer my food there. Where the sand bars are, I offer up my food between them, it seems that they are like deer, the sandbars offer up a natural underwater saddle wich they travel between. As for the entrances to feeding areas, there is here a small tidal area where the sharks love to get up in there, the baitfish go in the bigger fish follow, the sharks follow, the entrance is tidal, generally 6-7 feet deep, and it is maybe 30 feet wide at it’s widest. Bait I use anything bloody and oily. I will use bluefish schoolies at about 20 inches and up, I like to cut open the head so that the oils from the guts and the blood leak out for a tastier more appealing snack, infact it’s lead to some interesting shows, where 2 sharks seem to fight over the bait, yet to hook 2 sharks at once though. I use steel hooks over stainless steel or galvanized steel as if the shark gets away the hook will eventually rot out. I take 1 shark a year, so if your planning on harvesting, a good knife and 38 revolver is helpful. When harvesting, shoot it in the head, I cannot stress this enough, I want it to go as painlessly as possible. It’s a noble creature it should have some dignity. After the deed is done, gut it, save the guts, more on this later. Once it’s been gutted, I remove the head from the gills up and then I remove the fins, the tail, and pack the tail and fins on ice and then chop it into steaks while on the beach as fast as I can so it don’t spoil and pack it on ice, I generally bring 2-3 coolers for this job and get 4-6 bags of ice. Ok you caught your shark got your gear, you’ve gutted it, you’ve made it small enough to take with you. I take the whole head, some people look down on this, but I tend to boil the head, I sell the jaws and the extra teeth and save the liquid from boiling the head.

      Why save the guts and the liquid from the head? Simple, catfish. 2-3 bags of cat food, bunch of 5 gallon buckets, pour the kitty food in the buckets, I like to go to slaughter houses and look for discarded stuff, lungs or something they throw out and blood, lots of blood. Mix the blood into the bucket with the catfood, the catfood should swell. Mix in the organs and shark guts including the boils bits you’ve strained from the liquid for boiling the shark head, and mix this concoction real well. Let this sit for a week COVERED! Once a week has gone by open it and mix it some more, if need be add some more blood so that it’ll be pastey, cover it and let it sit for 1 more week. Keep mixing it every few days, and if it smells bad to you, it smells bad to you, it smells good to catfish. So now you have a nice story to tell people, I’ve caught a shark, and you can tell it, sitting at a pond, fishing for catfish. You can then tell them their catfish bait is the guts of the shark and some other odds and ends…Also be sure to check the sharks stomach and remove things not needed…I’ve yet to catch a catfish in america that can or will eat a florida licence plate, or a shoe, or a tin can. I must say sometimes you’ll be amazed in what you find in there…a scuba divers watch is quite a nice return bonus….feel bad if the diver was eaten….


  18. Surf fisher says

    Have any of you tried one of those ballon launching slingslots? I’m planning on trying this soon to save time, just wondering if anyone has already done this with success?

  19. RI Shark KING says

    I find a chain mail glove works quite nicely protecting your hand. While your line zips out, I personally made mine from extra 400 pound stainless steel cable and a welding torch ^_^

    Here in rhode island, I find what ever local fish works quite nicely, even a whole medium bluefish, the fresher the better and the bloodier the better. I love fishing the guts as these spots seem to be where they travel from place to place.

  20. some good info. i’m going shark fishing from kayaks at grayton beach in mid-october. i’ll let you know what we catch.
    also, you know the saying about “a work to the sufficient is wise….” we always fish in pairs.
    our motto is “We are adventurers, not idiots, we know when to cut a line.”

  21. we fish in the outter bamks and started off kayaking our bait out then last year switched to using a kite and a cordless drill for retreaval works great we can run out 500 yrds of line and retreave it in about 15 min. that puts our bait out about 300 yards. my first time putting bait in the water i caught a 9’6” hammer head and brought it onto the beach for pictures then released it. this years trip we will have two kites going.

  22. Ok, Shawn……
    WHAT do you use to get your bait out? We shark fish in Hatteras, and the first few years, my (very stupid) husband would walk through the waves AT NIGHT, till the water was up to his neck, and cast his bait out.
    Then he got told how stupid he was, by the locals at the bait shop. So now he kayaks the bait out (AT NIGHT!!).
    This drives me absolutely CRAZY!!!!!!!!!
    For one, if he falls over, which happens plenty, he’s shark bait. For two, he kayaks out sooooo far, that with our best flash/spotlight, we can’t see him for a few extremely tense minutes!
    Now, the first year with the kayak and a GOOD Penn reel, he DID end up fullfilling his dream, and catching a big shark. Just about 8 feet. VERY thrilling. We took pics, and nursed it back to life in the water and it disappeared. That was cool.
    But vacation is coming up soon again, and I just can’t take the stress again, every night, of wondering if my husband will appear through the ocean spray, into my beam of light each time on the way back into shore!
    If he could find a better way, he’d GLADLY try it!
    We made a potato gun one year, but that was too dangerous, and didn’t work very well, and we never even tried it with bait.
    His brother has a bait caster machine, very complicated, frozen tubes of bait, a car battery, etc….very cool, but FRESH bait is what works, and it still doesn’t go far enough!

    So, what is this method you explained above? A kite? And a cordless drill?
    Please do explain!! I’d soooooo appreciate it!
    Thanks, and good luck!

  23. caught a 7+ ft didn’t measure precisely but may have been closer to 8ft bull shark last night 10 o’clockish OBX NC Corrolla beach got some sweet pics too!

  24. My husband and I are starting to get into surf fishing out at PINS (Texas)and we fished the Sharkathon Tournament for the first time last year (that was our first attempt at Shark fishing and it wasn’t very successful). We have a kayak but it turns out to be the wrong kind for that area so it made it really hard. We are investing in the right kayak (the Scrambler XT if I can find one before our next trip) and I’m sure it will help a lot. However, my question is about deploying bait at night. It is so dark out there and my husband does the bait deployment in the kayak. I am terrified something is going to happen to him and I’m not going to see him or know what to do. I would appreciate any suggestions/tips on how to get the bait out far enough at night and still be safe. I have seen others use large spot lights but I have also read that spot lights are not good to use when fishing for sharks. He wears a head lamp but he goes out so far I can barely see it. What do you guys do at night to get your bait out?

  25. JET SKI

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  27. I run big baits and big weights 7-8 hundred yards out. Its great if a bait gets picked up. But after a couple days soaking and nothing. What are some easier ways to free your weight and get your bait back to shore. I do use floats with some rigs. But I hate yakking back to get the rigs.

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