Fishing Shark Species the Salt Water King of Ocean Predators Get your harpoons ready, gentlemen- it’s shark season!

Great White Shark Fish Image Photo

A great white shark swimming at Guadalupe island looking for food. Copyright: 123rf.com/profile_joebelanger

Fishermen around the globe have been feeling impatient to get out on the open salt water fresh sea air for their next big game. But where do they even begin? There are many different breeds of sharks; they come in all different shapes and sizes. One thing we can all agree on though: sharks are not to be played with. Out at sea searching for a catch, the shark is the biggest ocean predator.

Catching one is quite the impressive feat and is not something that is learned over night. However, don’t be intimidated if you’re new to this. Anglers (shark fishermen) have come to a consensus that your first catch is the greatest adrenaline rush one can experience… and once you catch one, you will never catch your last.



Let’s talk about sharks; more specifically, the kinds of sharks to keep your eyes peeled for while on the fishing boat.

For example, blue sharks don’t jump like mako sharks, but they are certainly an impressive catch; blue sharks can grow up to 12 feet long. They will give you quite an exhilarating battle, but if you win, you will have quite the story to tell.

Once again, blue sharks are not for beginner anglers. Years of practice and dedication is the only qualification that will ready you for a tango with these aquatic killing machine beasts.

 

Start With Small Shark Deep Sea Fishing if your a beginner

Sharks for beginners are the smaller ones; the short fin mako shark is a popular target. Another is the thresher shark, or perhaps the hammerhead.

These sharks all tend to be smaller and noticeably less aggressive when compared next to the great white, the most dangerous shark for humans and the cause of thousands of fatalities in the coastal U.S. alone.

 

Next, let’s talk Shark Fishing technique.

The key to catching sharks successfully, as many sources will note, is the chum. A strong and hearty chum slick, usually with bunker or mackerel chum, is almost irresistible to a shark.

Be careful though- sharks have very powerful noses! There are all sorts of stories told from fisherman to fisherman about different species of these saltwater fish deep sea fishing killer machines jumping straight out of the water to get a bite of your bait before the trap has even been set.

 

Get Your Shark Chum Ready Yup Just Like in the Jaws Movie

Make sure you are absolutely ready to go before puncturing your chum container. After you place your bait float at the desired depth (depending on which type of sharks you are aiming to find), be sure to keep your eyes peeled.

Polarized sunglasses are a huge plus during this stage so as to cut the glare of the water. After that, you’re basically set. A strong hook and strong line along with some smelly shark food (whole bluefish or tuna filets also work quite well) will certainly attract any shark in a close vicinity.

 

Shark Fishing Safety Out on the Water

Shark Fish Image for Safety While On the Water

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Remember, safety is very important when fishing these huge Ocean Predators. This is not for the faint of heart! A battle with a shark is something you will remember for a lifetime. Get your gear, pull up your boots, and set sail with your partner(s). Good luck and Good Fishing.

Sharks are known by most as the kings of the ocean. At the top of the aquatic food chain, these elasmobranch fish prey on most other forms of sea life. They are big, they’re ancient, and they don’t mess around. The more commonly known sharks – the great white, tiger sharks, and hammerhead sharks just to name a few – are only a very small sample of the shark population. These sharks, however, are more dominant than most of their brethren and have been known to be extremely cutthroat and vicious. That being said, there is more to sharks than most people realize.

First of all, while sharks are extremely dangerous in close proximity and will have no problem with biting a human in half, shark attacks are actually quite rare. In the United States, there are only an average of 16 shark attacks per year. Compare this to the hippo, considered by many to be a majestic and beautiful animal, which kills upwards of 3,000 people per year in Africa. Of the nearly 400 identified shark species, very few are considered to be particularly dangerous. The great white shark, the bull shark, and the tiger shark account for the vast majority of human fatalities.

The lifespan of a shark is roughly between 20-30 years in the wild. Sharks have been roaming the sea for about 400 million years, making them some of the oldest living creatures still around today. While their ancestors were far more nightmarish in quality, they haven’t changed all that much. Sharks have multiple rows of long, pointed teeth which fall out and are replaced quite frequently (every 8-10 days).

The shape of the tooth can vary, however. Some species of shark that feed on mollusks and crustaceans have flatter teeth which can crush the hard outer shell of their prey. They also have between 5-7 gill slits and elongated fins made from elastic proteins. Their skeletons are very different from most bony fish as they’re mainly composed of more flexible cartilage and connective tissue.

The most impressive feature possessed by sharks has to be the tail. Their heightened speed is due to their caudal fin’s sleek design which extends from their backs allowing for maximized thrust power. When fully utilizing this appendage, fully grown sharks can travel through the water at an astonishing 31 miles per hour, easily catching up to smaller prey which often don’t stand a chance against this predator.

A shark’s diet mostly consists of fish, but they also like to go after squid, and sometimes other sharks. It’s not very surprising at all that these savage fish are cannibals since they’ll attack pretty much anything that poses a threat or just looks tasty. Some fish like to eat shelled creatures like deep sea crabs, and if they can’t get a good meal, they’ll just swallow up some tiny plants and plankton for their required nutrients.

As sharks are at the top of the food chain, they can basically eat anything they want to. They usually fill a 90-120 kilogram quota which will keep them full and energized for up to six weeks. While they don’t eat often, they certainly eat a lot. And no wonder; sharks can be quite large and they need the energy to continue the hunt and fight for survival.

Next time you’re swimming in the ocean, alleviate your worries about sharks. They don’t actually like to attack humans, it’s just a defensive response when one wanders too close. Be on the look out, but don’t assume that one is coming to get you. Just appreciate the nature of this creature and, hopefully, it will do the same.

 

Great White Shark 

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Sharks are much older than dinosaurs. Their ancestry dates back more than 400 million years, and they are one of evolution’s greatest success stories. These animals are uniquely adapted to their ocean environment with six highly refined senses of smell, hearing, touch, taste, sight, and even electromagnetism. As the top predators in the ocean, great white sharks (Carcharodon carcharias) face only one real threat to their survival: us.

The assaults are plentiful. By-catch is the accidental killing of sharks by fishermen’s longlines and trawlers. Illegal poaching, selling shark fins on the secondary market for soup. Illegal hunting, a form of sport fishing for shark jaws as trophies. Nets, which are placed along coastlines to keep sharks away from beaches. Pollution, resulting toxins and heavy metals that build up in the shark’s body. In some areas great white populations have plummeted by over 70%. If not stopped, it could lead to the extinction of this ancient species.

Among the very largest of sharks, the great white regularly reaches a length of 20 feet and a weight of more than two tons. As with other animals, the great white’s color is highly variable. In general, the species is dark above and white below, a pattern called “countershading.” Countershading makes the great white difficult to see because it reduces the contrast between its belly in the shadow of the shark’s bulk and its back illuminated by sunlight. Back and flank color in the shark ranges from bronzy and greyish brown to various shades of grey. Pacific Coast specimens tend to be very dark – almost black – above. This darkness helps camouflage the creature against the dark, rocky bottom over which it typically swims.

The upper jaw of a great white shark is not fused to the skull. Instead, the jaws are slung loosely beneath the skull, held in place by flexible connective tissue and braced by accessory cartilages. Special muscles pull the jaw complex forward and down, riding on grooves on the under surface of the skull. This arrangement allows a great white to protrude its jaws outward from the head, extending the reach of its teeth and creating a partial vacuum that helps suck in prey.

Great white sharks generally eat larger prey, such as pinnipeds, which include sea lions and seals. They also eat nearly anything they can get their teeth into, such as small whales like beluga whales, otters, and even other sharks. The great white tends to hunt live prey, but it eats dead animals floating in the water as well when the opportunity presents itself.

These sharks do not chew food and instead rip prey into smaller chunks, which they then swallow whole. Great whites can live off of a single meal for two months if it is large enough. Sharks prey on animals in one of three different main attacks. They usually approach their prey underwater and then breach the surface at the last moment to grab the victim and rip it apart. Occasionally, these sharks might also charge their soon-to-be food while partially out of the water. On rare occasions, this shark has been known to swim upside down in order to confuse its prey.

While great white sharks can be extremely dangerous in close proximity, just remember that they are not seeking to harm humans. In fact, shark attacks are extremely rare: usually under 20 cases are reported each year in the United States. Just respect the species and it will (hopefully) respect you as well.

 

Hammerhead Shark 

Hammer Head Shark Image Shark Fishing

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The hammerhead shark is one of the most famous sharks due to its unusual appearance. The shark gets its name because of the long, flat, hammer-shaped appendage on its face. There are nine different species of hammerhead: the winghead, scalloped bonnethead, whitefin, scalloped hammerhead, bonnethead, smalleye, smooth hammerhead, and the great hammerhead. As one would imagine, the largest is the great hammerhead, which can reach 20 feet in length when fully grown. These creatures are quite extraordinary, but don’t be fooled by their amusing appearance… these sharks can really pack a punch!

The lifespan for most hammerheads is between 25 and 35 years. However, over time, scientists have noticed that the lifespan is gradually increasing, although no one has a concise answer as to why that may be. The eyes of this shark are placed on the outer edges of the hammer. This allows them a vertical 360 degree view, which means the hammerhead shark is able to see both above and below quite easily. Unfortunately, this eye placement causes a huge blind spot directly in front of their nose. This fish is well known for its ability to make very sudden and sharp turns. Not only does the hammer at as an organ of balance, but its body seems to be specifically designed to twist and bend.

Hammerhead Sharks love tropical, warm waters from all over the world. They mostly stay along continental shelves and coastlines, but on occasion they are found in the deep ocean cruising near the surface. As with all other shark species, Hammerhead Sharks have a special sense of feeling using electro receptors. This an organ called the ampullae of Lorenzini. Sharks are able to pick up very small electrical pulses that all living things emit. In fact, they can sense the beating heart of a human from several miles away, so steer clear!

These sharks are hunters of the night. Compared to other predators, they have very small mouths. Because of this shortcoming, many become bottom hunters with a preferred prey of rays, shrimps, squids, small fish, and even other shark species. The great hammerhead is feared by smaller hammerhead species due to frequent cannibalism. What makes this shark so unique is its head. The head acts as a sort of “metal detector” as it travels over the Ocean floor. Since much of its prey hides beneath the sandy floor, the Hammerhead traces the sea bed and “scans” for living creatures it can eat.

Unfortunately, many species of Hammerhead Sharks are at a high risk of extinction. Hammerhead fins are considered a delicacy in many countries. Fisherman can sell these fins for very high prices, so many times a Hammerhead is captures, has its fins removed, then is dumped back into the Ocean. Of course, without fins, the shark is unable to swim and subsequently dies. Humans are the #1 threat to all species of hammerhead sharks. It is important to support preservation efforts and, of course, boycott this sadistic practice by not ordering shark fin soup.

 

Tiger Shark

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Beautiful Tiger Shark in Shallow Water Copyright: 13rf.com/profile_divepics

The tiger shark, also called galeocerdo cuvier in the scientific community, is the only member of the galeocerdo genus. This shark is an aggressive predator and is found mostly in tropical and warm waters. Being larger than its requiem cousins, they can grow up to a length of 15-16 feet and can weigh around 1,800 pounds, and there have even been isolated cases where they get much larger than that. Also called the “sea tiger,” they get their name from the tiger like stripes on the body which fades away as it grows older.

Tiger sharks prefer to hunt in the dark. Their normal prey includes smaller shark species and a variety of fish, dolphins, birds, turtles, crustaceans and squid. Due to the diversity of their palette, some anglers have taken to calling them the “wastebasket of the sea.” In turn, they are hunted by humans for game and finning. Because this shark enjoys visiting canals, harbors and shallow reefs, which are often areas used by humans, a tiger shark is considered dangerous and has the second largest human attack numbers after the great white shark.

This shark prefers warm waters and tropical temperatures. Although this shark is a nomad, its movements are almost always guided by water temperatures and deep waters. Even though they are known to prefer deep water, they will sometimes come into shallower water to enter reefs and canals in pursuit of prey. They are abundantly found in the Caribbean region in addition to the North American beaches, and the Gulf of Mexico. They are also found near New Zealand, Australia, India, Africa, and China.

While most tiger sharks are found in those regions, they have also been spotted as far south as Cape Cod and as far north as Japan. Found at average depths of about 1000 feet, they have also been seen at depths exceeding 3,000 feet. Conversely, they have been spotted in the shallow waters of Hawaii in a depth of only about 10 feet. That’s considered to be way too shallow for its size. In coastal waters, they can also be seen at depths between 20-40 feet. Because of their habits of entering canals and harbors, the risk of human encounter is quite high and this shark is considered dangerous to humans.

The tiger shark is a prize catch for many fisheries, especially in tropical locations. The shark’s skin, fins, liver and flesh are considered to be delicacies. The liver is very rich in vitamin A and is used to manufacture vitamin pills. Due to such heavy fishing practices, the population of this shark has dwindled. Currently, the tiger shark is considered near threatened due to its hunting by humans. They’ve also recently been put on the Marine red list, which makes it illegal to fish or hunt tiger sharks across the world. Sadly, this does not completely put an end to black market trading of the shark, but it has helped to restore the population.

 

Mako Shark

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The mako shark (with the scientific name isurus) is an incredible and extremely fast creature. Fully grown makos can reach the astounding speed of 60 miles per hour while hunting. Today, there are only two living species of mako remaining. They are called the longfin mako and the shortfin mako. The largest is the longfin with a length of about 14ft. Adults weigh in around 375 pounds. Shortfin sharks are usually about half this size and weight.

For simple identification, the mako tends to look like a smaller version of the great white shark. The prominent coloration of mako sharks is one characteristic that sets them apart from most. The top side (or dorsal) of these sharks can range from deep purples to bright indigo blues.

Their sides are typically silver, and their ventral (bottom) sides are white in color. The areas under the snout and around the mouth of makos are also white. In addition to the distinctive colors of these sharks, their slender, elongated, and unbelievably sharp teeth are a perfect way to set them apart from many other sharks. Both species are easily identified due to their strange, mean looking chompers. These teeth are visible even when their mouths are closed.

This shark loves jumping out of the water. Scientists still aren’t sure why they do this, but it’s theorized that they are searching for prey by peeking over the water surface. The lifespan of a mako shark is from 30 to 35 years. As with many other sharks, it appears this species is living longer as time progresses. The cause for this is largely unknown. However, we do know that females are getting older at a quicker pace than males.

Mako sharks are apex predators, meaning that they are at the top of the food chain and therefore do not have any predators of their own within their ecosystem. If it were not for the fact that humans like to eat these sharks, they wouldn’t have any predators whatsoever. Makos enjoy dining on exceptionally fast fish such as highly developed tuna and billfish, but the list doesn’t end there. These sharks enjoy the tastes of blue sharks, dolphins, squids, mackerels, porpoises, and sea turtles. They have very diverse food preferences, basically eating anything they can catch.

While it is true that these sharks enjoy swimming in very deep waters much of the time, they can also be found at the water’s surface just as often. If they’re not in the mood to swim at the water’s surface, they have the ability to dive more than 400 feet into the depths of the ocean. In addition to the mako shark’s remarkable swimming and diving talents, they are also known for being spectacular leapers; a shortfin mako can jump as high as 20 feet out of the water!

They are living proof that some don’t have to own legs in order to jump high. Mako sharks can be anywhere in the world they choose to be. Excluding exceptionally cold waters, these sharks have been spotted all over the globe. Due to the fact that shortfin mako sharks have the ability to travel at rapid speeds and they prefer warmer waters, they are often found in the Pacific Ocean. They have been seen everywhere from the United States to Chile.

Just like most other sharks, the extraordinary mako is sadly at risk due to human cruelty. The underground finning industry, meaning the black market trading of shark fins, is the biggest significant risk to mako populations. Conservation efforts from many different countries spanning many different continents are the only home for the survival of this extraordinary species.

 

Bull Shark

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Dangerous Bull Shark Huge Fish Teeth  Copy Right: 123rf.com/profile_james63

The bull shark is commonly found all over the world. Known to the scientific community as carcharhinus leucas, the shark is one of only 43 species that can live in saltwater or freshwater without detriment to its health. More alarmingly, though, the bull shark is mostly known for being one of the top three sharks, along with the tiger and the great white, with a high likelihood of attacking humans. It got its nickname “The Pitbull of the Sea” due to its aggressive nature.

Bull sharks have a broad, flat snout with a solid ovular figure. After about 10 years, they reach maturity. Adults are normally about 11 feet long and weigh approximately 650 pounds. Typically, females are larger than makes and they also tend to live longer. Most males live for about 13 years, while females live to about 17 years of age. While most sharks have the same salt concentration in the blood as the sea water they are swimming in, this isn’t the case with bull sharks.

Instead, they only have 50% of the salt concentration in their blood. This makes them very special as they are able to switch from saltwater to freshwater very easily. The only consequence is they produce 20 times more urine when swimming in fresh water. This isn’t too much of an issue though; sea creatures don’t usually have trouble finding a restroom.

This is one of the more social species and they sometimes even hunt in groups. Females tend to have dominance over males when traveling in a herd. The Bull Shark is known to eat almost anything. The preferred prey includes bony fish, small sharks, turtles, birds, and some species of dolphins.

These special hunters are migrants. They are found in many various areas including oceans, rivers, and even some freshwater lakes. They tend to stay in warm and moderately deep waters around 150 to 500 feet deep. It seems the bull shark favors the Atlantic, Indian, and Pacific Oceans. Some of their favorite rivers include the Brisbane River, Amazon River, Ganges River, Potomac River, and the Mississippi River.

They have been spotted several hundred miles upstream in these rivers, but typically stay within 100 miles of the Ocean. No attacks on humans have ever been recorded in these rivers. They are in fresh water lakes, too! It’s not too uncommon to see them in Lake Nicaragua and Lake Ponchartrain, just to name a couple, but if there is easy access from a river and the lake is deep enough (about 150 feet), they’ll check it out and maybe even make themselves at home for a while.

While the bull shark is not to be messed around with, it is also not to be feared. Sharks are ancient and beautiful beings who rarely bother humans. Truthfully, humans are far more of a danger to this shark! The finning industry, despite numerous efforts spanning multiple continents, is still up and running. Until this sadistic practice ceases, shark populations will continue to dwindle. They are to be appreciated, not hunted.

 

Basking Shark

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Basking Shark Hanging Out at the Bottom of the Pool Copyright: 123rf.com/profile_leafy

The basking shark is the second largest shark in the world, only surpassed by the whale shark. Also, it is one of the three planktivorous sharks. It is one of the few more welcoming sharks for divers, despite its size and the impressive mouth that it possesses. It belongs to the order lamniformes, to the family cetorhinidae, and the genus cetorhinus.

The most impressive feature of the basking shark is its mouth, which opens up to 3 feet wide. It has a conical body covered with a layer of mucus, gray or brown skin on the back and white on the belly. Its dorsal and pectoral fins are so large that they can reach 7 feet each and its tail is crescent moon shaped. It has a conical snout and large gills. Inside its mouth, this shark has several small, hook-shaped teeth. Its liver is about 25% of its total body weight and is rich in squalene, a substance that helps the shark to float. Its weight ranges between 3-6 tons, and its length is around 20-30 feet.

The basking shark inhabits all oceans of the world, but it prefers the subpolar seas and in general cold and temperate waters of the continental shelves. It was recently discovered that it goes as far south as the equator and dwells into warmer waters.

Its habitat changes according to the food availability. In summer it goes to coastal areas to feed abundantly on copepods, but as soon as the winter begins, it migrates to cold water areas. Sometimes it gets close to the coast, and its great body is seen below the surface following concentrations of plankton near the surface.

Like the whale shark and the megamouth shark, the basking shark mainly feeds on plankton, so it is not a common predator. But unlike the other two species, it does not seem to actively seek for food or use the muscles of its head to suck water, instead, it usually swims with its mouth open and catches whatever wanders in. When the water passes through its gills, the spines of the gills’ rakers separate the plankton from the water.

Like its close relatives, the shark then proceeds to close the mouth and then pump the water out through the gills. The basking shark relies on the guidance of its large olfactory bulbs to detect food. It is a passive eater that can filter around 16,000 cubic feet of water per hour to obtain sufficient quantities of zooplankton, but it will also prey on fish and small crustaceans, invertebrate animal larvae, and fish eggs. It feeds near the ocean surface, especially when plankton is abundant. Although it has hundreds of small teeth, it rarely needs to use them when feeding.

The behavior of the basking shark is still unknown except for some information obtained from the observations. The motto of “basking” was got because it spends a long time feeding under the sun. One theory states that it prefers to feed in surface waters when there is abundant plankton in that part of the ocean, and at the same time it drops the spines of its gills. These are then renewed and so on, in a continuous seasonal process.

The sturdy body and slow movements of the basking shark are not an impediment to jump out of the water trying to shed its parasites. It is also a relatively social animal because sometimes it forms small groups divided according to sex. Sometimes, they can form schools of up to 100 members. Its English name “basking shark,” which means “taking the sun,” comes from its habit of swimming very close to the surface with the dorsal fin out of the water.

For about 20 years, populations have drastically reduced and have not recovered yet. Luckily, the situation put some countries on alert, and the species is now under protection in territorial waters of some countries like United States, United Kingdom, and New Zealand. Also, the commercial fishing of this species is banned in many regions. Preservation efforts have recently resulted in population depletion reversing, and more sightings of the basking shark have begun to be reported.

 

Megamouth Shark

The megamouth shark is an exotic species discovered in 1976. It is very unlikely to see a megamouth, and no one suspected its existence until then, when a new family, genus, and species was created to classify this shark. It is the most primitive living species of the order lamniformes but is the smallest shark of those that feed on plankton. The megamouth is a member of the megachasmidae family and the genus megachasma.

Its large head and the huge mouth which gave the shark its name are undoubtedly the main features that help to identify this species. It has a length of 10-16 feet and weighs about 1700 pounds. The color of its cylindrical and flaccid body is usually black or dark brown on the dorsal area and pale gray in the ventral region. Its skin also has dermal denticles as other shark species. It is not a skilled swimmer.

Their dorsal fins are small and the second is half the size of the first one. It has pectoral fins smaller than the size of its head, and it has an asymmetrical caudal fin with a long upper lobe. This creature also has tiny eyes, five pairs of long gill slits, and a short, rounded snout. Inside the mouth has a tongue covered with mucosa and about 50 rows of small hooked teeth, although it only uses the first three rows. Around its mouth, it has photophores which glow to act as baits for small fish or plankton.

Megamouth distribution and exact habitat are still uncertain as scientists don’t know much about them, but a few sightings in areas of the Pacific, Indian and Atlantic Oceans are on record; and, since its discovery in Hawaii, only about 50 more sightings have been registered in countries such as Brazil, Senegal, the Philippines and Indonesia. The first discoveries were on the coasts of California, Japan, and Australia, in addition to the Hawaiian islands. It is an inhabitant of the deep waters (between 150 and 1,000 meters) that likes moderate and warm temperatures.

This shark is one of the three species of sharks that are fed by filtration of plankton. Its diet may include shrimp, copepods, and pelagic jellyfish. There are few details about its form of feeding, but most scientists think that it swims slowly through the plankton concentrations and opens its huge mouth to suck the water. After gulping up a large amount of water, it will lower the jaws, retract, and filter the planktonic organisms by expelling the water through its gills.

The fact that this shark is hard to observe implies a problem in its research and the detection of the type and severity of its threats. In fact, the International Union for the Conservation of Nature does not yet have enough data to classify this species. So far, its greatest threat is bycatch resulting from commercial fishing activities. On the other hand, some museums welcome deceased individuals for its exhibition. So far proper conservation measures have not been taken. Still, this is one of nature’s many beautiful animals, and it should be treated with respect to preserve the population and maintain a fair and natural ecosystem.

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