Rigging your shark bait is vital to hooking up with a shark. You can hook them through the eyes and fish just the head or you can hook them through the tail and fish them live. There are actually several different ways to rig your shark bait but I’ve only shown the method I prefer. Here’s a picture of a very nice bluefish rigged up as shark bait.
If you notice I’ve got 2 hooks on this rig of stainless steal leader. The bigger the bait the more hooks you need. This bluefish is around 18″ so 2 hooks were needed for good coverage. I feed the hooks through the mouth and out the gill. Place the first hook (closest to the main line) just below the gill. Then place subsequent hooks 1 – 2 inches from each other. If you’re using a piece of cut bait you’ll only need a single hook.
The next step to rigging your shark bait is critical! Make sure you bring some wax covered twine or zip ties. This method is used for two reasons. The first is to keep the shark from stealing your bait. As the bait sits in the water the skin will become soft and will tear easily. When a shark picks up the bait there is a good chance he’s going to mouth it for a while before the hooks are in the sweet spot. The second reason to secure the bait in this manner is to ensure the hooks are perpendicular to the bait. Imagine for a second the shark picks up your bait and happens the bite down right on the hook. More than likely the hook will lay flat on the bait and you’ll miss the hook-up.
My method for securing the hook to the shark bait is pretty simple. Cut a 20″ piece of twine and lay it out flat. Now place the bait in the middle of the twine with the hooks facing up. Take the two ends wrapping it around the bait and through the eye of the hook. Now flip the bait over and tie a square not. If you did it right the hook should automatically be pulled perpendicular to the shark bait. You shark bait should end up looking like this.
You may consider fishing for sharks with live bait. Its a little more tricky since you’ll need everything setup before you catch your first piece of bait. You’ll need a single hook leader and you’ll probably want to use a circle hook. The best place to hook a shark for live baiting them is probably aft of the dorsal fit on the top side. This should keep him alive for quite a while and give him an injured look which is sure to attack the big boys.
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.