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Blacktip Shark Fishing Tips and Tricks

​For most anglers Blacktip shark fishing is their first introduction into the world of shark fishing as a whole. 

In fact a lot of the times it is by accident when they are surf fishing with some kind of bait rig intended for ​other species.

One thing is for certain fighting these smaller sharks can be a heck of a lot of fun on light tackle.

Most Blacktip sharks will grow to a maximum of just over six feet in length and roughly 40 lbs in weight. But for their size they can be offer a great fight with plenty of aerial displays once hooked.

On heavy tackle when targeting much larger species of shark however they can become a bit of a nuisance as they will happily make bits of a larger shark fishing bait,  sometimes attacking it in small groups.

​Blacktip Shark Fishing

​Blacktip shark fishing can be done with both bait and lures on light spinning or conventional tackle and even flyfishing for Blacktip is growing rapidly in popularity.

The majority are caught near the surface even when offshore. So sight fishing is normally the best way to go, a good pair of polarized fishing sunglasses will help reduce glare and allow you to see several feet down with more clarity.

Catching Blacktip shark on bait will always be the most productive especially when using a chum bag.

Spread four rods out around a natural structure like a small reef or grass flats where they are known to be found and you should at least see a few interested.

If they refuse your bait for whatever reason then switch to casting topwater plugs as sometimes it can take a little action to get them to bite down.

​Blacktip Fishing Gear

Blacktip shark fishing gear is usually much lighter than say when you are Mako shark fishing.

There is no need for for super heavy offshore conventional gear unless that is where you are fishing and there is the possibility that larger sharks may also take your bait.

The ​best reel for shark fishing on lighter gear will be a size​ 8000 spinning reel. Not only can you fish with the normal shark bait rigs but you can also cast smaller lures like top water plugs with ease.

A good shark fishing pole when using a size ​8000 spinning reel would be a 7 or 8 foot salt water spinning rod like an Ugly Stik Tiger Elite or a surf casting rod in the 9 feet range if you need to cast a larger setup out beyond the breaking surf.

When choosing the right line for smaller sharks such as Blacktip then 50 braid or even 30 to 40 pound monofilament is a good choice for mainline. 

If larger sharks are also in the same waters then I would run 65 lbs braid or 100 lb mono at a minimum. 

A shock leader can be used that is 150 lb monofilament, and even for small sharks I'll use a single strand wire leader of up to 150 lb attached to a size 7/0 or 9/0 circle hook.

​Best Bait for Blacktip Shark

​Blacktips tend to inhabit reefs and sandy bars in and around beaches so pretty much any bait that makes these areas their home is what will catch Blacktips the easiest.

When fishing for Blacktips like any other shark species chumming will generally give the best results.

Sharks have a much better sense of smell than they do eyesight so get that chum in the water early.

Use the smelliest and oiliest fish you can find. A great reliable chum is a mix of mackerel and barracuda if you can get your hands on them. The mackerel are nice and oily and the cuda smell pretty strong.

Even if you are casting lures still try to get a small bit of chum in the water.

Squid can be a real game changer if they are refusing either live or dead fish as bait. You can use squid on some very light rigs which makes for very interesting fishing once a blacktip is hooked.

Mako Shark Fishing Tips and Tricks

​Mako sharks are known to be one of the most aggressive game fish that can be caught on a rod and reel.

Not only are they super aggressive predators but they are one of the fastest shark species and have a reputation for jumping wildly once hooked especially when in sight of the boat.

They also have a very impressive and highly visible set of teeth.

Catching these trophy pelagic's is no easy feat and many days can out on the water can result in no fish but, with the right approach and knowledge you can increase your chances significantly.

The short-fin Mako is considerably more widespread than the long-fin and the majority of short-fin Mako fishing will be done in the 500 feet of water or less.

​Mako Shark Fishing

​Mako shark fishing can be done by either traditional chumming and bait rigs or increasingly popular is high speed trolling for Mako.

Mako will happily feed on a wide variety of prey such as squid, tuna, bluefish and other sharks but it is the bluefish which is considered the best shark bait for Mako.

​Although they can be caught inshore, it is offshore where you will find the best success usually with a lot of chum out.

Chumming for Mako shark is not much different from other species, a fairly standard chum would be a mix of mackerel and tuna ground down and tied off the stern in either a chum bag or a bucket.

I tend to favor bags over buckets as they can be easier to get a really long slick chum line out of.

Care and patience must be used when setting the hook. A large Mako may take several bites of your bait before it gets the hook into it's mouth and striking to aggressively and too soon is responsible for more missed fish than just about anything else.

I'll run up to four rods in total with baits suspended at varying depths. Ultimately once a shark has the scent of your chum and has started to home in on it's source the chances of them not seeing your bait is quite slim.

Mako Shark Bait

The most successful bait for Mako shark is without doubt live bluefish especially when circling under a kite. Mackerel, squid and menhaden are also very successful.

​A large chum bag is almost essential and you need to have enough on board for a full days fishing.

Chum will draw them in from miles around especially of you throw smaller bait fish into the slick of the chum.

The smaller bait fish will draw in small fish in the 3 to 5 pound range. This fish and the sound and vibrations that they give off will help to bring in larger sharks, so don't just throw in some chum and sit there waiting.

Fresh bait is almost always preferred over frozen or store bought so if you can either buy off the dock the day before and keep refrigerated or catch your own using lighter gear.

Mako Shark Tackle and Gear

Mako shark ​gear will need to be at least a 50 lb class rod and reel and of course heavy wire leaders and circle hooks.

​Fish of this size require a shark fishing rod with a lot backbone, a strong butt and top class guides.

​Top quality shark reels need to be able to hold a lot of very heavy main line and also have the very best drag systems and internal gears.​

I'd run 500 yards of 80 lb main line, with a shock leader section of 300 lb mono which is then attached to a six foot length of #15 wire crimped and connected with a heavy duty barrel swivel.

Always use high quality single strand wire as multi-strand can be chewed up easily by klarge sharks

Hook wise use a size # 9/0 or 12/0 attached to the wire leader.

On some shark fishing charter boats you can see some monstrous shark setups running up to 8 lines but this is overkill and can become a tangled mess, 4 lines out in the chum around 20 feet down is more than enough for any boat.

Shark Fishing Charters – How to Choose the Right Boat

​Without a doubt booking a charter can be one of the most expensive things you can do following your passion for fishing.

Having the guiding hand of an experienced captain and crew can make or break your experience out on the water.

Booking a shark fishing charter is normally one of the most expensive types of charters available especially if you are target Mako or other large species offshore.

Offshore rates per day are usually well over $1000 so a lot of caution and prior planning should be made on your part to ensure that you have the best time possible.

Shark Fishing Charters

1. Do Your Research

The internet has transformed almost every single business in the world and fishing charters are no exception. The majority of charters these days should have a website where you can learn all about the boat, captain and crew.

​However, any negative reviews will ever be displayed if it is on the boats own website.

If you can try to look the boat up on one of the numerous online booking websites. Here you will find ALL of the reviews of the boat both good and bad.

If you can try to also look at some local fishing forums, a lot of these forums will have a charter section or thread and you should find some pretty honest reviews.

Facebook groups can also be a great place to find the best shark fishing charters as most people are quite vocal with their assessments and will happily share pictures of their day out and catch.

Be very careful when walking down a dock looking for a shark charter boat as it can be very easy for a captain to talk you into their boat pointing out all of the good things whilst hiding any of the negatives.

​2. Choose the Right Captain

​Any charter boat is only as good as the people that work on it and the captain is THE most important person on the boat.

The captain sets the tone for both how the crew behave and perform. Ultimately you are trusting this person with your safety.

​This is where doing a lot of research up front will pay dividends. It's easy enough to judge the boat from a few pictures but you can tell very little from how competent the captain is.

​3. Choose the Right Boat

Although a new expensive boat will not guarantee success it may tell you just how seriously the captain takes his fishing and it a new boat is dirty and not looking perfect then it is normally a pretty good reflection of badly the boat is run.

Conversely an old boat may look shabby and a little worn out but with the right captain and maintenance they can be superior.

Make sure the boat is of a suitable size and power for where you are planing on going fishing.

Any kind of offshore fishing needs a large boat with powerful engines(preferably two engines).

It should have all of the required safety equipment that is required by law and the equipment should be well maintained.

​4. Offshore or Inshore

This is one of the biggest decisions you will likely make when booking a shark fishing boat as it will not only affect the price considerably but also how long you will be out fishing for.

​A half day rate for inshore shark fishing can start for a little as $150 per person. This will of course depend on the kind of distance traveled and how long you are fishing for.

Offshore fishing however is normally a full day out and full day rates are well over $1000. Bigger boats have much bogger running expenses especially fuel bills and all of this will be factored into your bill.

​5. Charter Rates

Shopping around is extremely important and you should never just book the very first boat you come across.

With lots of charters charging over $1000 for a full day it really pays to look up at least 5 to 10 different charters and see how their rates compare to each other.

Always make sure you can book with a credit card in case the charter is cancelled or any other issue arises. 

​7. The Tackle Onboard

Tackle is a big issue on board and being stuck using badly maintained gear can be a nightmare.

Shark gear is heavy and heavy gear needs to be well maintained. Shark fishing reels take an absolute hammering on a charter boat as they get heavily used and abused in a year than the average weekend fisherman's. 

A good shark fishing rod needs to be an offshore boat rod that is rated at least 50 to 80 lbs.

​Make sure that there are sufficient shark rods and reels onboard and that all of the equipment used when fighting a large shark is up to the job.

Fresh shark bait is also a must and the quality of the bait onboard will say a lot about the how good a charter boat it really is.

Kayak Shark Fishing

​Fishing for sharks from a kayak can be one of the most exciting forms of fishing that you will ever do.

Hooking into a shark from a small plastic kayak can be a massive adrenaline rush, but there are a few important safety concerns to be aware of if it is your first time out.

Sharks are large apex predators and the can put up one hell of a fight especially when you are not on a stable platform like the beach or a charter boat.

But, this can also pose a serious risk to your safety.

Maintaining your balance and remaining upright on the kayak is the most important thing when kayak shark fishing

​That being said if you are careful it is just as safe as being in a boat.

Techniques, tactics and gear will be similar to inshore shark fishing from a boat. From a kayak however you do have access to a lot more of the coast line from rocky bays to shallow flats.

​Kayak Shark Fishing

Shark fishing from a kayak will generally be done using a couple of rods all of which will be using some form of bait.

Although you can troll from your kayak the most successful method will to use a strong scented bait. The best shark baits will normally some form of freshly caught local fish. 

Local is best as it is what the sharks are already used to feeding on.

​Personally I would not use a chum bag when sharking on a kayak as it poses a risk of capsizing.

​If you have a cum bag attached to your kayak and a larger shark decides to bite it and try and run with it you may well end up be turn over and into the water.

By all means have a small bucket of chum and throw it in occasionally to help attract sharks in from a distance but do not tie off a chum bag to your kayak unless you have some form of reliable quick release system.

​Tackle Considerations

When fishing from a kayak I would tend to use slightly lighter shark fishing tackle than normal.

The reason for this is that you want a really large shark to be able to break the line as a big shark can easily flip you over if they strike your bait hard.

You should also never use a heavy drag as a light drag will lessen the impact of them striking.

Keep your line tight so you can sense every little bump or bite. I would run 20 to 30 lbs main line and of course a wire leader is essential when fishing for sharks.

You won't really be casting any great distance so any shark fishing rod that is suitable for boat fishing should be good enough.

I would avoid roller line guides in favor of more traditional rind guides for your rod as roller guides can be trouble if the line is continually slipping the roller and getting caught on the assembly.

The best reel for shark fishing from a kayak will be either a large capacity spinning reel or a conventional reel. 

Conventional reels are simple and very reliable a Penn Senator for example can be picked up pretty cheaply these days and if properly maintained should last a lifetime.

If a spinning setup is your preference then a size 5000 and up should be good for lighter shark work.

​Once Hooked

Once you have a shark on the line probably the most stressful time will be playing it out and then the final unhooking.

​The majority of shark fishing is catch and release only so the quicker you play the shark the better the chances of it having enough energy to swim away safely afterwards.

Always keep the bow of the kayak pointed towards the shark as this will help keep you balanced.

You now need to decide will you land the shark on a beach which is safer or continue to play it out on the water.

Extrem care should be taken when unhooking and you should use a very long nose pliers. Never ever put your hand or fingers near the sharks mouth.

Kayak Safety

​Firstly, you should receive proper training on how to safely use your kayak.

Secondly make sure you know and understand the currents in the area that you intend on fishing in.

​Tides can be very powerful and paddling against a strong outgoing tide can be next to near impossible.

Paddling in the open water is a very dangerous activity and you really should spend some time with an experienced kayaker learning all of the necessary safety drills and understanding safety equipment.

A personal ​flotation device(PFD) is an essential item. In the event of a capsize it is your life line and will help keep you upright in the water.

A first aid kit and a helmet are also important. Safety flares and a two way radio are also a good option.

Best Shark Fishing Reels

​Shark's are one of the ultimate game fish you can target whether that's from the beach or off-shore on a boat.

​When choosing the best shark fishing reels you first need to decide just what size shark you will actually be targeting.

A sub six feet shark from the shore will have a very different rod and reel requirement than a 600 pound Mako from a boat.

You then need to decide where exactly you will be fishing. Will it be from the shore or offshore on a boat?

The type of shark rod that you use for either location are usually very different.

As with most saltwater fishing you have the choice between either a spinning reel or a conventional reel.

Spinning reels are best when casting on a beach whereas a conventional reel is preferred when you need to put down big leverage against a massive shark out on the ocean.

Firstly take a look at your shark fishing setup then match your reel to the line and the type of rod that is usually used in the scenario.

Shark Spinning Reels

If you choose to use a spinning reel for shark then you should aim to use a high quality reel that is capable of holding line that is rated at least 50 pounds in weight.

High quality really is the only option here as even a small shark will make light work or some cheap spinning reel.

Stick to the major brands and large sizes. Depending on your line requirements you will want to run anywhere from a size 6000 reel all the way up to a 10000. 

​A good compromise for smaller sharks from the beach on a spinning setup would be a size 8000.

An 8000 is still light enough so that it does not unbalance the rod.

Penn, Shimano, Daiwa and Fin Nor are the most established brands for larger sized spinning reels for shark fishing.

​Conventional Reels for Shark Fishing

Working big baits from a boat needs a reel that can hold a heck of a lot of heavy line.

This is where a large spool conventional level wind reel for sharks is the only real choice.

Make no mistake about large sharks can stay nose down for well over two hours and your reel is going to be taking a serious hammering.

​Not only is there a constant strain on the drag, but the regular runs that massive sharks can make will destroy any reel that is not up to the task.

Penn are easily the leader in offshore reels and classic reels like the Penn Senator or International have proven themselves time and time again.

Cheap low quality reels are an absolute waste of time and chances are if you do hook the fish of a lifetime then it will probably snap your line if your reel ends up seizing.

​Best Shark Fishing Reels

​The Daiwa Saltist is probably the best value shark spinning reel available. It is just as smooth and capable of a reel several hundred dollars more expensive.  

Daiwa have put considerable focus on ensuring that the Saltist is a resistant to the corrosive effects of salt water as possible. Salt water will destroy a reel once it gets inside the housing and bearings, always rinse your reels in fresh water as soon as possible after use.

The Saltist is pretty much an all metal construction with the exception of the waterproof Carbon ATD Drag. No fancy or exotic materials just sound engineering and very tight tolerances.

​8 main bearings and one anti-reverse bearing are made from a special form of corrosion resistant stainless steel.

The 8000 size has a max drag pressure of 33 lbs. The braid ready spool can hold 370 yards of 30lbs mono or 440 yards of 80lb braid with a gear ratio of 5.3:1.

  • 9 corrosion resistant ball bearings
  • Carbon ATD Drag System
  • Magsealed line roller and main shaft
  • Lighter Air Rotor
  • Digitally cut gears

Every seen the big game fish fighting chair scene in the movie Jaws?

Yep that's a Penn Senator 16/0 !!!  

​The all time classic conventional shark fishing reel the Penn Senator is probably responsible for the landing of more sharks than any other reel.

They are an absolute work horse and if looked after and serviced regularly should last you decades of dependable service.

​The Senator is no high speed reel and is built for ​hauling large fish from the deep. With a gear ratio of between 2.0:1 and 4.0:1 depending on the model you can put some serious power down when using one of these old school cranking machines.

Although the Senator has been around since the 1930's the technology and design has been continuously updated by Penn to keep the reel competitive.


​The third in the line of the hugely successful Slammer range of saltwater spinning reels from Penn, the Slammer III is built with one thing in mind; corrosion proofing.

Penn have gone to great length in both construction, design and materials when choosing the type of components to add to the Slammer. 

These reels are built for both heavy surf casting work and larger heavy spinning setups for larger species on offshore charter boats.

​Available from a size 3500 up to a massive 10500 these reels have big spools for holding a lot of line and an incredibly robust drag system.

The biggest in the series the size 10500 has a massive 60 lbs of maximum drag force which incredibly large for an open face reel. 

they come with 6 stainless steel ball bearings, CNC machined internal solid brass gears and a super solid low flex reel housing/body  and a sealing system IPX6 that seals the reel shut from almost any saltwater penetration.  

On the large models you get a 4.2:1 gear ratio and on the smaller ones 6.2:1 ratio.

If you are looking for a hardcore spinning reel for shark fishing then the Pen Slammer III is it.


​The SW in the Saragosa name denotes that it is one of Shimano's offshore spinning reel offerings. 

These reels are big, so big they only start at a size 5000 which would be a medium size fishing reel for most manufacturers/models to top it all off the biggest in the range is a size 25000.

The monstrous size 25000 of a shark reel holds 440 yards of 100 lb power pro braid, has a gear ratio of 4.4:1 and a max drag rating of 44 lbs not quite as high as the 60 lbs of the Slammer III above but by no means is it weak.

In terms of price it is aimed at the lower end of the market when compared to say a Twin Power SW or the Stella SW but it does include a lot of their features and build components.

The Saragosa gets ​some of the high end bells and whistles that Shimano have incorporated into their best reels in recent years.

The body on the Saragosa is made with their cold forged aluminum construction process called Hagene which gives the body an exceptionally rigid structure into which the Hagane gears are housed. All this adds up to very little flex or warp when the reels are put under heavy load. 

​One the smaller sizes there are 5 shielded stainless steel ball bearings and on the size 20,000 and 25,000 there is an additional bearing.


​Finished in a rather striking gold hue the Maikara is Okuma top of the line offshore big-game conventional reel. It is up there with the best of them and is pretty similar in build quality and power as it's other golden competitor the Penn International VS.

Penn used to absolutely dominate the shark reel segment of the market but with the Maikaira, Okuma have taken a serious swipe at strangle hold and offer up a serious contender. 

The frame is built from one piece machined aluminum with forged side plates that has finished with a special anti-corrosive coating.

You get an angled big T-bar handle for cranking down hard against big sharks. All that power is transmitted through helical cut gears which can carry a lot more torque than regular straight cut.

The carbonite drag is built to withstand the immense pressures of big ​shark fishing and on the larger models has a strike drag of 70 lbs and a whopping 100 lbs of drag at full on the lever drag models.  


​Shark Fishing Reels

A good shark reel needs to be able to hold a lot of high breaking strain line and also have a serious drag system coupled with a very high quality set of internal gears.

More modern reels will use helical cut gears which mean a better mesh between each gear and a much smoother operation especially when under a lot of pressure.

Internal gears need to be well sealed in order to protect them from salt water.

If you are targeting smaller sharks a spinning reel is a perfectly suitable choice.

​Spinning reels are a perfect choice when beach fishing for sharks as they can cast lighter baits and shark rigs than a conventional reel will.

Once you start to target larger fish especially offshore then a conventional reel makes the most sense.

There are different types of conventional reels available, single speed, two speed and variations of both with either a star drag or a lever drag system.

A two speed reel can be a real bonus. Just flick the lever and you get a load more torque to help fight against these mighty predators.

Torque or pulling power is what helps haul a large fish up from the depths.

You will of course loose a small bit of speed with the lower gearing.

You'll need a large capacity reel that can hold at an absolute minimum 300 yards of 50 lb line.

For larger species that means 500 yards of 80 to 100 lb braid, in my opinion it's better to have it than not!

Always wash your reels in freshwater after every use to help reduce the chances of salt water corrosion.

If you are to invest in a high quality reel then you really need to take the time to look after it and do some regular maintenance.

Always have your reels serviced regularly if they are being used heavily. A good reel can last decades if properly maintained.

Best Shark Baits

​Shark's have on of the keenest sense of smells in the ocean and can sniff out a few drops of blood from miles away.

The best shark baits will generally be some kind of bait fish that the sharks are already feeding on locally.

It's not uncommon for sharks to repeated come right up to a bait they are not used to and tap it with there nose, circle it for a few minutes and then loose interest in it altogether.

Generally the oilier and smellier the better!

Without doubt the number one rule to follow when obtaining shark bait is that fresher is always better!

Preferably you should be catching your own, however this may not always be possible so you may end up having to purchase some from a bait and tackle store or another fisherman.

​Possible sources of shark baits:

  • ​Catch your own
  • Bait and tackle shop
  • Offer fishermen on a pier
  • ​Offer charter boats that are finished their charter.

​​Sharks are scent hunters and the fresher the scent in the water the better. Oilier fish like mackerel are said to have a stronger scent.

But, not all shark fishing baits are created equal, you do not want any kind of bait that is too soft as smaller sharks will end up biting your bait off of the hook which can become very frustrating as the day wears on.

​Best Shark Baits

​1. Local Bait Fish

Local is always best, matching the hatch is an old saying that is rarely wrong especially when predatory fish are be targeted.

If you are new to the area then ask the locals what's in season and where. Your local bait and tackle shop is regularly one of the very best resources to ask at.

2. Bonito

You'll mostly find bonito offshore and that is where big sharks love to hunt. When one a charter I'll mostly ask that we fish with bonito especially if they are plentiful in the area and sharks are already used to feeding on them.

​3. Mackerel

Mackerel are pretty oily fish and give a great scent particularly when fresh. Most sharks at some time or another will have fed on mackerel so they are generally considered a very reliable shark bait especially when fishing from the shore or pier.

Hooking them through the eyes and butterflying the body open with a knife is an excellent tactic as the body then creates a real natural flutter as it moves through the water.

​4. Barracuda

Cuda's are extremely smelly when cut and sharks are well used to eating them. Given that they are such a long fish you can usually get two separate baits out of the one fish.

​5. Amberjacks

If you have ever fished for amberjack then you may well have had your prized catch stolen from you right at the boat by a shark.

​Shark Baits

Shark fishing bait will always be a lot more successful if it is fresh ​and still has a lot of it's natural scent still on it.

You will usually find that frozen or any kind of processed fish will not retain the same amount of scent and oils that a freshly caught fish will.

This is why catching your own bait will generally be the superior option.

However, if you have a large local pier or docks with a lot of charter boats you can always try to buy some fresh bait from locals.

You can even do this the day before as one an overnight in a fridge will not lessen the quality too much.

Just make sure that you get the whole fish and that it has not been bled or cut in any way.

Also make sure that the is no blood coming from the gills as fish can lose a lot of blood if they have been hooked deep down in the throat and gills.

Always remember that fresher is better.

Frozen fish once thawed can be become a lot softer than if it was fresh and this can lead to it falling off the hook a lot easier especially if you are casting a large bait from the shore.

​Tackle Considerations

​Given their size and power sharks are clearly some of the strongest and most aggressive fish you will ever likely catch on a rod and reel.

You really need to make sure that your shark fishing gear and tackle is up to the job.

What kind of rods and reels you use will depend on whether you are fishing from a boat of off of a pier or the beach.

The best shark fishing rods regardless of their length will need a strong backbone so should be rated at least 50 to 80 lbs.

​The best shark reels​ need to match the type of setup you have chosen. For example a good surf casting outfit that is used for smaller shark species will be all but useless for larger species offshore and vice versa.

​Regulations

Always follow your local rules and regulations when it comes to the use of fish as bait.

​Some anglers will always opt to use live bait when shark fishing even when it is prohibited by the local state laws.

Certain fish a specific times of the year are also banned from being used as shark baits.

If in doubt check your local states laws well in advance and be sure to note what species you can use and when they can and cannot be used.

Best Shark Fishing Rods

​Choosing a shark fishing rod will be mostly influenced by how you intend on fishing. 

Will you be offshore on a boat or fishing from the shore on a pier or the beach?

​Depending on your where you will be fishing will probably be the number one influencing factor on what type of shark rod you buy.

Regardless of the type the best shark fishing rods all need a strong backbone, rod blank and butt section not to mention high quality components such as reel seat line guides and tip guide.

​On a cheap rod the first thing to go is usually either the line guides or the reel seat, it is rarely the rod blank that will fail first.

​Regardless of the type of rod you choose it should be rated as a 50 lb class rod at a minimum.

Sharks need a rod that is capable of handling sustained pressure and can run heavy mono or braid at a minimum of 50 lbs breaking strain.

Ideally you will have enough power in the rod so that the fight does not go on for too long, as in most states for the majority of shark species the fishing is catch and release only.

The quicker you can unhook them the better their chances of surviving when released.

​Shark Fishing Rods for Surf Fishing

Traditional surf fishing has changed considerably in the last ten years especially for larger species like shark.

A lot of anglers are now using either a kayak or more recently drones to haul their large shark baits out past the breaking surf some as far as several hundred feet beyond it.

This approach no longer requires a long surf casting rod. Instead they can opt to use slightly longer offshore conventional rods as no casting is required.

​However, if you are just starting out then a surf casting rod will be the best option.

You can run either a spinning or a conventional as your choice of shark fishing reel on these big rods, but more often than not when fishing for sharks less than six feet spinning tackle is the more popular.

​A longer surf casting rod for shark fishing gives has a number of advantages over a shorter rod:

  • Better casting distance
  • Keeps line high out of the waves
  • Will be easier to detect a bite

Line guides should be ring guides only so you can use either mono or braid. Leave the roller guides to the heavier offshore shark poles.

​Shark Fishing Rods for Offshore Fishing

A good offshore rod for shark will be a convention boat rod 5'6 to 6 feet with a moderate to fast taper the type that is commonly used with a harness. 

You can choose either traditional ring guides or roller guides.

It is generally considered a bad idea to pair roller guides with braid as your main line because if the line slips the roller on to the side the roller will destroy the braid.

Monofilament is a lot more forgiving when used with rollers, the only downside is a little more stretch in your line making hook sets a little less sharper.

Some prefer a fast taper others a more moderate and this is normally a personal preference thing.

​Best Shark Fishing Rods

The Penn Carnage 2 surf rods are available in either a spinning or conventional model and run from a 10' to a 12' in length. Power wise they range from a medium to an extra/heavy.

The medium/heavy is rated for 20 to 50 lbs line and weights in the 2 to 6 ounce range.

The extra/heavy is rated for line in the 50 to 80 lbs range and weights in the 6 to 12 ounce range.

​They are specifically engineered for use with braided fishing line but can still use monofilament.

All models are a two piece design.

All rods have a moderate/fast tip action. A more moderate rod action will allow you to load more of the full length of the rod blank to cast heavier weights with more efficiency.

A faster tip will give you more sensitivity and allow you to detect bites easier.

The combination of moderate/fast is the best of both and is perfectly suited for casting weighted rigs for sharks out past the surf.

They are specifically designed with surf casting in mind and if you are looking to get out past the breaking surf then the longer rods will be the better option.

The only trade off with a longer shark rod is that it you hook a very large shark then you will have a longer lever to contend with whereas a shorter rod will give you more leverage to work against the shark.

Longer rods however cast better and once in your rod holder on the beach will also keep your line higher up over the surf and breaking waves making it easier to detect bites.

They are built on SLS3 rod blanks and have Fuij K guides with Alconite inserts, they also come with a high quality Fuji reel seat.


A classic style surf spinning rod that is aimed at performance casting.

​The Tsunami Airwave range has been designed with lowering the weight of the rod as much as possible whilst still retaining a lot of backbone, durability and casting performance.

​The Airwave is built on high-fiber density blanks that lowers the average weight without sacrificing on performance.

If you find yourself casting a lot throughout the day then the Airwave is a smart choice as a heavy rod can become tiresome after a long day casting through the surf.

The heavy rated rod is rated for line in the 20 to 40 lbs range and can throw weights in the 3 to 5 ounce range.

They come equipped with Pac Bay Aluminum oxide braid friendly guides and a lightweight Fuji graphite reel seat.


If you are looking for a rod that can be used for smaller sharks and still double up for lighter surf casting and other inshore work then the Mojo Surf line from St Croix is a safe bet.

The mojo range covers a large variety of techniques and species for both freshwater and saltwater fishing.

​Not all shark fishing is about landing the next jaws and if your local beach, pier or dock has a healthy amount of smaller sharks in the sub 6 feet range then you can forget about needing a dedicated shark fishing rod and buy something that is usable for multiple different inshore fishing techniques.

The Mojo surf range as the name suggests if designed with surf casting in mind. St Croix are known for building exceptional rod blanks and the Mojo range is no exception.

They are built on St Croix's ​SCII mid-modulus graphite fiber for lighter weight and premium sensitivity through the rod tip and down into the blank.

The heavy rated rods is suitable for line in the 10 to 20 lbs range and weights in the 1 to 4 ounce range, so these rods are clearly for small shark species.

The tip action is rated as a moderate/fast so you get the sensitivity of a fast action tip but still the better backbone and rod blank of a moderate rated rod that allows for more power to be transferred through the rod when casting.

Lightweight line guides with hardened zirconium inserts and a premium Fuji DPS reel seat for the hardware and twp coats of Flex-Coat slow cure finish to round out the rods.


If you are looking for a shorter boat rod that is not as heavy duty as some roller/conventional rods then a heavy duty spinning rod can be a great alternative.

​Heavy duty  spinning rods are a bit more versatile than a standup roller rod so you can target multiple species with these rods and a broader range of techniques. 

The Shimano Talus is rated for line in the 50 to 100 lbs range and comes in at a length of 6'9" making it very usable on a boat.

The tip section has a fast action for quick hook sets and better sensitivity whilst using single hooks on bait rigs.

They are designed for use with braided fishing line and feature Fuji Aluminum Oxide guides with a Shimano reel seat.

​They are built on Shimano TC4 rod blanks which is their heavy duty rod technology for added durability. 


The Shimano TLD A Stand Up is a classic style conventional roller offshore rod for big shark fishing.

Once you start to target larger species of shark a purpose built offshore rod really starts to make sense.

​Big sharks put a massive strain on not only your rod blank and reel but also on the line guides and roller guides are one way to ensure that you line moves as smoothly as possible with the least amount of friction when under very heavy loads.

There are ​four rods available in the range a 20 lbs rod that has normal guides and then the 30, 50 and 80 lbs class rods which all feature roller guides.


​Shark Fishing Rods

​As we discussed above your choice of fishing rod for sharks will be determined by whether you are fishing from a boat or from the beach/pier.

All rod for shark fishing need to be well built with a lot of power through the rod blank and down into the butt section. 

You also need to make sure that the reel seat and the line guides or rollers are of the highest quality to help reduce any friction between the line and the guides.

Shark fishing gear should last years of use and abuse if you buy quality from the beginning.

​Surf Shark Rods

Assuming you are actually casting your bait out and not using a kayak to haul it out over the breaking surf then a long surf rod with a heavy power rating usually in the 50 to 80 lbs range is the best rod for the job.

​Length

Personally I would not use a shark fishing pole for this type of fishing under ten feet in length.

A longer ​pole that is eleven or twelve feet long will have a number of advantages over a shorter rod.

A long rod once set into the rod holder will hold your line up high in the air above the crashing waves.

​This also keeps the line high in the water off of the ocean floor free from any snags and also giving you a lot more feedback through the line.

You will also gain a notable amount of distance when casting. A longer rod is basically a much bigger lever and once you load the rod blank that lever becomes a huge spring that will help to whip a large bait and weight a lot further than any short rod can.

​Action

Rod action describes where on the rod blank the rod will start to bend naturally once you apply some pressure to it.

A fast action will bend higher up the blank towards the tip.

What rod action for surf casting for sharks ?

A fast rod action is best when surf fishing for sharks from the beach or a pier. This is will give you the best casting characteristics but also a more sensitive tip for detecting bites.

​Power

Given their size a heavy rod action is a must for all shark fishing. Look for rods that are rated from 50 to 80 lbs.

Anything smaller and although you may end up landing the shark chances are it will take a long time and a tired shark has a lot lower chance of surviving once released than one that is played quickly.

​Offshore Shark Rods

​Size

On a boat shorter is nearly always better so look for a good conventional offshore boat rod in that is either 5'5" or 6' in length.

A shorter rod give you a lot more leverage against a heavy shark and combined with a high torque reel(low gearing) you should be able to exert enough pressure to reel them in quickly.

Short poles are also a lot easier to use on a boat than a long rod unless you are trolling and running a lot of planer boars out wide.

Ring Guides vs Rollers ?

Roller assembly braid mono in rings no chaff

​The main advantage that roller guides give you on big game rods is that they reduce the amount of friction between the line and the guide.

​But if your line pops off onto the side of the roller it can make bits of your line especially if you are using braid.

Monofilament is the better option if you opt for a ​pole with roller guides.

​Modern ring guides especially the higher end ones are so hard now that they will wear very little and cause very little friction against the line.

There is very little to go wrong with a simple ring guide assuming it is of a decent quality.

You do see a lot of anglers that use a roller guide on the tip and then ring guides on the rest of the rod but in my opinion this is a mistake. 

You should either go all roller guides or all ring guides no mixing and matching as once you use one of the other type you loose the benefits of the type of guide.

​Bent Butt or Straight ?

If you are new to offshore fishing then you may never have encountered a bent butt rod before.

These rods are for using in a fighting chair. One thing to remember that this kind of setup if not tournament legal and so if you intend on doing some tournaments then a straight butt rod is the way to go.

Straight butt rods can be used in a belt or harness.

A really high end expensive rods the butt will be solid aluminum and they can be flicked from the straight position into a bent but as there is a pivot point just below the reel seat.

​Materials

Fiberglas or some form of modern fiberglass blend with either graphite or carbon fiber but straight up fiberglass is a pretty solid bet.

The standard of epoxy resin will also have an impact of the final quality of the rod.

Shark Fishing Gear and Tackle

​Shark fishing is one of the most exciting types of fishing you can do from either the beach or on a boat. Your shark fishing gear needs to be able to handle these big aggressive fish.

These fearsome predators with their rows of razor sharp teeth and coarse like skin require fishing tackle that is up to the job.

Light tackle is not up to the job and if you have ever hooked a shark accidentally on lighter gear you probably know that they don't tire easily and the fight could last several hours.

You don't want to end up fighting a shark for too long. Larger fish if played for hours can die from the fatigue even if they swim off.

That's why your shark fishing gear needs to be able to handle and control large fish.

​Shark Fishing Gear for Beach

1. Rod

A good shark fishing rod needs to match how and where you will be fishing from and also the size of shark you will be targeting on a regular basis.

If you are mostly fishing from a boat then a shorter boat rod is usually the preferred choice.

A shorter rod gives you much better power from a leverage point of view. This rods are short, stout and can handle a huge amount of pressure whilst hauling up from deeper waters.

Just what type of power rating your need and the choice between using a spinning rod or a conventional rod will again depend on the size of shark you target.

For shorter 6 foot sized sharks a spinning rod is more than enough but once you move to larger fish then I would opt for a conventional rod and reel for shark fishing.

If fishing from the beach then clearly a short rod will not be sufficient. Longer rods cast better and a good surf fishing rod will help to get your bait out into deeper water where it belongs.

​2. Reel

​The best shark fishing reel is one that matches your rod and line setup. Spinning reels can be used on smaller species, once you move to the larger types of shark then you would be better to move to a conventional reel.

Conventional reels will always provide a lot more cranking power over a spinning reel.

They can also hold a lot more line and if you are deep sea fishing and trolling on a boat then they are the superior choice every time.

​3. Line

​Although some fishermen will always stick to monofilament I am a firm believe​r in using braided fishing line for shark fishing.

Sharks have tough and very coarse skin. That skin can wreck braid when it rubs off of it. The coarse skin will run the braid by cutting through individual strands of the braid which then results in large section of it thinning and then eventually snapping.

The trick is to use a heavy monofilament shock leader that gives a bit of stretch but more importantly mono is more resilient to the abrasive skin on sharks.

You can use up to a ten foot mono leader. And then a wire trace or leader right at the hook.

4. Hooks

Circle hooks are by far the most popular choice for shark fishing as due to their shape they help to keep the line or leader clear of the sharks rows of sharp teeth.

That being said some fishermen quite simply refuse to use them even though they can have a slightly higher hook up rate.

​There is also a huge debate in the shark fishing community regarding whether or not you should use a barbless hook.

Barbless hooks make removing he hook from a sharks mouth significantly easier and if you are releasing the shark then you need to make the process of returning the shark to the water as quickly and efficiently as possible.

​5. Leader

No discussion around shark fishing gear and tackle would be complete without mentioning a heavy leader.

Although there is an argument to say that circle hooks should help to keep your line away from the sharks teeth in my experience you are always better off using a strong wire leader up to the hook.

As mentioned above a wire leader is pretty abrasion resistant and sharks have very rough skin which can destroy braided fishing line.

You can of course use heavy mono as you leader. Mono holds up better than braid on coarse skin.

A leader also acts as a shock absorb​er. Running heavy mono to the hook gives you a certain amount of stretch.

Personally I always choose a wire leader as you never know just what type of shark may take your bait and having that extra confidence that they won't chew through your leader is very re-assuring.