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
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.
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.
Although some fishermen will always stick to monofilament I am a firm believer 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.
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.
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 absorber. 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.