How to Catch a Shark (and release) Fishing from the Beach

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 Catch and Release

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fishing Shark Questions & Answers

There’s good news. Many recreational shark fishermen are moving toward the practice of catch and release—about 96 percent of sharks recreationally caught in the U.S. are now released back into the ocean.

In addition, many shark fishing tournaments have become catch and release for those anglers who wish to preserve the sharks, but still get the thrill and reward of a big catch.

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 most important aspect of catch and release fishing is how the shark is caught, handled, and released. 

For better survival of released sharks, anglers need the right mix of gear and techniques—because what you fish with and how you fish can make all the difference in whether a released shark will live or die.

Recent studies by NOAA Fisheries' scientists in Southern California have shown that the use of circle hooks rather than J-hooks greatly increases a shark’s chances of survival after release.

Other fishing techniques such as minimizing fight times and keeping sharks in the water while removing tackle also help to increase survival rates.

Get the “Release Mako” App and Report Your Shortfin Mako Releases

Shark anglers on the East coast are helping NOAA scientists studying the life history of the shortfin mako shark.

By knowing the locations of released sharks, scientists learn about their movement, distribution, and migration patterns—all of which contribute to management decisions about the species including recreational catch limits.

This free "Release Mako" mobile app allows you to report your live releases of shortfin mako sharks from your Apple or Android devices while still out on the water.

It also includes information about the shortfin mako stock status, fishing regulations, FAQs, and safe handling and release guidelines.

Land a Shark

One of the biggest mistakes beach fishermen make, says Warren, is to wade out to chest-level water and then cast their bait beyond the surf.

Like it or not, the sharks are in the surf, where you’d typically be swimming.

Cast right there.

  • If you’re targeting big sharks (6 feet or longer), however, they’ll hang out where the shore drops off, just beyond the waves.
  • The easiest way to get your bait there is to kayak out beyond the breakers, drop your bait, and then kayak back to shore.
  • Now comes the fun part — your first bite. You’ll know when a shark hits, because your rod tip will bend almost to the water and your reel will scream.
  • After you cast, set your drag just loose enough that a shark can take your bait and run with it. You don’t want him to immediately know he’s hooked.
  • Once their run lets up for a second, tighten your drag. Give a slight tug (the circle hook should have already set itself). Now they know they’re hooked, and they’ll make a second run.
  • The game of tug-of-war begins. Don’t rush it. Landing a big shark can take well over an hour.
  • When the shark gives you some slack, reel away. Keep your rod tip up, and when you feel the opportunity, lower it slightly and reel in some line.
  • Inch the shark closer to the beach or to your boat.

Did we mention a cardinal rule of shark fishing yet?

Never fish alone

  • Once your shark emerges in the shallow water, you’ll need to hold onto the rod while your partner approaches the shark in the water.
  • If it’s a big guy, use a rope around their tail to gently pull it to the shore.
  • If it’s a small shark, grasp their tail or pectoral fins (not their gills!) and pull it backwards to shore
  • Always keep the shark’s mouth facing the ocean so that they can continue breathing with help from waves or the slightly deeper water.
  • You don’t need to pull them all the way onto hard sand.
  • Leave them in the soft sand where waves continue to splash over them, or in enough water that they can breathe (but in a place that you can safely remove the hook).
  • All the while, remember that sharks have teeth, and they can bite you. Be careful.

Release a Shark

How to Catch Shark (and release) Fishing from the Beach with tips and tricks

How-to Catch Sharks fishing from the beach with tips and tricks!

Florida fishing bikini girl in her shark fishing video adventure, beach/surf saltwater fishing, brings viewers danger and beauty as she reels 'em in and wrestles big toothy blacktip sharks onto the beach!

The best blacktip beach shark fishing gopro video 

How to Catch (and Release) a Shark

When you catch a shark, you have two minutes with it, more or less. 

“It’s not a photo shoot,” says Warren. “The first thing you do is get them dehooked".

Before you go shark fishing, put the following items in your tackle box:

  • Dehooker (or pliers)
  • Wire cutters (if you’re targeting small sharks)
  • Bolt cutters (if you’re using 10 aught hooks or larger)
  • Once you’ve caught a shark, your number one priority is to ensure its survival and safe return to the ocean.
  • “If you’re going to fish for sharks, you need to have the right tools,”  In short, be prepared in advance, and in the moments before landing your shark.
  • Give yourself ten seconds to remove the hook, either using pliers for a small shark, or with a dehooker tool (they’re cheap — buy one). If you can’t remove the hook in ten seconds, snap it in half with wire cutters or bolt cutters. 
  • Now, you have about twenty seconds to take photos. That’s not necessarily enough time for everyone in your crew to get their own picture holding the shark. Get a group shot, if necessary. Even better, take pictures with the shark in the water. Lift its jaw from behind for a few seconds, and then get it back into the water.
  • On the beach, push the shark back into the ocean, face first, until it’s deep enough to swim off on its own.
  • High five your friends and drink a beer. You caught a shark and set it free.

“The first time I caught a big shark, I was overwhelmed with joy,” says Warren. “Most importantly, I was happy knowing I put it back in the ocean in good condition.”

Credit to for this info:How to Catch (and Release) a Shark

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