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Florida Fishing - Species

SHARKS

Regulations

No minimum or maximum size; no closed season; one per person or two per vessel limit whichever is less.

General Information

Sharks differ from other fish in that sharks have soft bones while all other fish have hard bones. Sharks also differ from bony fish in that most species give birth to a small number of live young.

The popularity of shark, for their meat and the alleged medicinal values of shark fins, is straining the fishery. Increased angling pressure may produce new regulations on the harvesting of all shark species. It is very important to observe the limits and practice catch and release whenever practical.

Distribution

Florida has a variety of sharks ranging from species found primarily in inshore waters like bonnetheads to large open water species such as the mako. Some of the more commonly sought after and caught species are the blacktip, lemon, hammerhead, spinner, sandbar and bull sharks.

Tackle and Techniques

The tackle you use is directly related to the size of shark you're fishing for. Light tackle with 8-15 pound test line is adequate for the small sharks that frequent the backwaters and flats. For the big specimens you'll need a stout rod, reel with a good drag and a wire leader. Line in the 40 to 100 pound test range is what most anglers look for.

Bait

A live fish or freshly killed one that is cut to enhance bleeding is one of the best baits. Naturally bloody species such as bonita, are good to use either alive or dead. Odd as this may sound but a fish the size of which most anglers would be proud to have their picture taken with are likely to be the perfect size for shark bait.

Secrets to Success

Shark anglers who are dedicated to the sport are good people to fish with if you lack the experience. There is a degree of danger involved when a shark is along side or in a boat. The fish is known to snap and bite while thrashing around on the deck. If you plan to keep it, kill the fish as soon as possible. Many anglers also like to cut the shark and bleed it as quickly as possible. This can have a marked influence on the taste of the fish when it comes time to cooking it.

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