Fishing Tips: Sharks

By Capt. Kevin Shea: June 2005


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Nice 20lb Mahi caught in Sept. 2003

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"Shark fishing is like watching the grass grow". That was the comment from a great mate that worked on my boat last yeat. Thanks to Doug S. for the great quote! By the way, if you're looking for shark charter info, I have a complete page available including tournament dates and rates.

Well, it's a lot more fun than watching the grass grow, but there are times when the process is a slow one. So, I like to say that shark fishing is a lot like, well, fishing. Like any other type of fishing, there are good days and bad ones.

When to fish for sharks
It just so happens that June water temps usually climb to a point that these toothy predators begin to inhabit our waters in Montauk. It's always a good idea to watch water temperatures closely before you go shark fishing. In the early days of the season, look for warm water temperature breaks. When summer kicks in heavy, look for colder water among the hot, flat offshore waters. If I had the choice of when to fish for sharks, I'd choose the last week of June through the first week of July OR the first 2 weeks of October.

Where do we fish for sharks?
There are numerous shark spots within striking distance of boats leaving from Montauk. These spots range anywere from 10 to 55 miles from the point. The most important things about your location are structure and water temperature. A structure can be a rise or dip in the sea floor. Since shark fishing is normally drift fishing, chart your drift, based on wind and tide, to follow the edges of the structure you choose. From Montauk, there are excellent shark fishing spots to the east, southeast, south and southwest.

What to bring on a shark fishing trip?
When chumming for sharks (most popular) your gear should be able to handle a fish over 300 lbs. It is not uncommon to hook into a shark that exceeds this weight. Whatever gear you choose and depending on wind and tide, you should fish with 3 - 5 baits in the water. That means, you will need just as many rod/reel setups. I recommend the following tackle:

Rod: 50 to 80 lb. class rod
Reel: Penn Senator 9/0 or higher
Reel: Penn International 50 or 80
Fishing Line: 80 - 100 lb. Mono
Hooks: 12/0
Leaders: 12 ft., 200 lb. test wire
Flying Gaff
Quality Wire Cutters
Balloons or floats
Chum Bags
EzTwist - Dubrow
Tail Rope: 7ft with secured loop
Tag stick and tags
Harness AND safety straps
Outrigger or flatline clips

Don't forget bait and chum:

Flat of Bunker
Flat of Mackerel
Fresh Bluefish (if available)
Live bluefish (if available)

let me list some other important things to bring on a shark trip:

Food - don't forget to pack snacks
Sunscreen - drifting in the sun and heat can set in a serious burn if you're not prepared
Cold drinks - Beers are fine (for everyone BUT the Captain), but don't forget to bring non-alchoholic drinks to keep you from dehydrating.
A Hat
A sweatshirt - yes, it can be cool out there, even on sunny days.

Next Page: Before you leave the dock >>


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