Although small fish can be fun to catch, it is not as thrilling as catching big fish from the shore. Anglers looking to catch some sharks should be aware that they are the largest fish found on beaches. Here’s a guide for surf fishing with sharks. Find out the best techniques and rigs to do the job.


To chase sharks, you can use the same surf equipment and tackle as for a smaller quarry. It’s just a matter of scaling everything up. Here are the facts:


A surf rod 8-10 feet long is ideal for catching sharks at the shore. It is best to use a rod that has a moderate to heavy power rating. A stiff rod makes it easier to catch these huge fish.

For shore fishers, a spinning reel is the best option. However, you can also use a casting reel. To accommodate the long runs that hooked sharks make, it is important to have a reel that can hold at least 300 feet of line. A reel should be capable of delivering at least 25 pounds of drag to the line.

Line & Leaders

When surfing for sharks, use a 65-pound-test braided main line. Braided lines are more flexible than monofilament and will withstand abrasion.

But you cannot just tie your hook to your main line. You will need to tie a length of 300-pound-test monofilament about 1 to 3 feet long. This will act as a shock leader and give your rig some much-needed flexibility. To prevent the shark from biting the line, you will need to attach approximately 6 feet of steel leader.

Hooks & Sinkers

A sinker that is strong enough to hold your bait in place will be required. A sinker between 4 and 8 ounces is a good starting weight. However, you might need to use heavier weights to fish in strong currents such as surf fishing. Attach the monofilament section of your rig to the sinker with a slide. This will allow it to move freely.

For shark fishing, circle hooks are the best choice. Because they catch sharks’ lips, it is easy to remove the hook. You will also be able to release sharks with less damage. Choose a size that is compatible with the baitfish you’re using. Hooks between 6/0 and 10/0 are usually good.

Hook Removers & Rod Spikes

Surf fishing for sharks takes patience. To ensure your rod stays secure while you wait, make sure you bring a rod holder. Do not compromise on quality. Nothing is worse than watching a shark take off with your brand-new rod.

To remove small hooks from sharks you can use pliers, but a hook removal tool is needed to get rid of larger ones. Hook removers are easier to use and can keep your fingers safe from the danger zone.

Shark Fishing Bait

You need large bait to catch large fish. Shrimp or small pieces of cut squid used to catch pompano and flounder from the beach won’t attract sharks’ attention, at least not large ones. You’ll need to use whole fish or thick strips of cut bait. The size of the resident sharks will vary, but most anglers find that baitfish between 8 and 12 inches in length work well.

Any baitfish can be used, but fresh bait is better than frozen. There are many options, including bluefish, whole squid, and menhaden. You can also catch your bait using a net and light tackle. You can use the same species as the sharks to catch your bait.


Sharks are often closer to shore than most people think. You don’t need to throw your bait more than 250 yards. Instead, cast your bait close to the cresting waves where sharks are actively feeding.

Concentrate your efforts in areas where the current or depth abruptly changes. The most productive spots are often found near estuaries. Fishing for sharks near bridges and piers can be a great option.

General Shark Fishing Tips and Tricks

You now know the basics of how to catch sharks, and where to put your efforts. To increase your chances of catching sharks, you should review these shark fishing tips.

  • Warmer waters will bring you more success. Sharks are active throughout the year, but they will feed more aggressively in warm water. Anglers who fish in cool waters will need patience and to pay attention to the selection of bait to be successful.
  • Patience is the key. Do not rush a hooked shark to the shore. It takes time to catch and land large sharks. Be patient. You may find yourself having to fight the shark for at least an hour.
  • The best times to catch sharks are usually dawn and dusk. You can catch sharks at any time of day or night. Remember that it can be difficult to land large sharks in darkness so make sure you have a flashlight handy.
  • Shark populations will be affected by tides in different ways. Talk to locals to find out the best times to surf. Surf fishing will be easier when there is relative calm. These times will be better for your bait, and it will be easier for you to hook any sharks.
  • Catch and release. Some shark fisheries will allow for a small harvest. However, it is best to release all sharks caught. Try to get the sharks out of the water by spinning them around.
  • Always go with a partner when fishing for sharks. Although you may be able to land, de-hook, and release a blacktip of 3 feet on your own, if you can hook a 7-foot Tiger shark, you’ll be happy you had help.

Final Thoughts

It’s exciting to surf fish for sharks. Make sure you are properly equipped and try different spots along the beach to find the best spot. You should be able to hook a large one in no time with a bit of luck and patience. We will see you at the shore!

The article was written by a professional charter captain at Salty Knots Fishing Charters with 15+ years of experience in the Gulf of Mexico. is a local fishing charter service based out of St. Pete Beach, Florida. “We know what it takes to catch a giant trophy fish!”

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