Best Shark Fishing Rig, Baits & Chum Tips (For Inshore Sharks)
It’s shark fishing time!
One of the best parts about fishing is hearing the drag scream as a big fish is pulling with all their might on the other side of your line, and few fish do that as well as sharks.
In this video we have Capt. Mark “Hollywood” Johnson from FloridaKeysFunFishing.com sharing his favorite rig for inshore and nearshore sharks, plus a really fun way to chum, sight fish, and “hand feed” sharks.
Best Shark Fishing Rig, Baits & Chum Tips [VIDEO]
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When you’re fishing for sharks in inshore and nearshore waters, here are a few of the species you’ll typically find:
- Bull sharks
- Blacktip sharks
- Spinner sharks
- Lemon sharks
- Big nurse sharks
- Hammerhead sharks
- Tiger sharks
Let’s talk about the best rig for shark fishing, starting with the hook and moving up from there.
Best Hook For Shark Fishing
Capt. Johnson usually goes with an 8/0 inline circle hook for inshore and nearshore shark fishing.
Since you’re usually going to cut the line (“hooks are cheap, but fingers are expensive”), it’s imperative that you use a circle hook that will go into the corner of the fish’s mouth and rust away in the saltwater rather quickly.
Get a pack of 8/0 Owner circle hooks from Amazon here.
Single Strand Wire
Capt. Johnson recommends using three feet of single strand wire for the leader because it’s easy to use (no crimping tools needed) and he finds it’s more resistant to sharp teeth.
He likes Malin wire in the #3 – #6 size (the higher number, the thicker wire is).
Pro tip: if an acrobatic shark like a spinner shark twists your leader, use a wire straightener to straighten it out instead of tying on a new leader or tossing it back out there all twisted.
Haywire Twist for tying wire leader
When you’re using wire leader, the best knot is the haywire twist.
However, make sure that you kink it off (don’t cut it), because cutting it leaves a very sharp tag end.
Braided line is great because it’s very strong for such a thin diameter, but one problem is that there’s no stretch.
This can be a problem for acrobatic sharks, such as spinner sharks, so Capt. Johnson recommends tying on a topshot of monofilament.
Another benefit of using mono is that it’s easier to grab than wire leader when you’re landing the shark.
He typically uses 15 feet of 50-80 lb test.
This is connected to the wire leader by a swivel, and connected to the mainline with a line to leader knot, like the FG knot.
Best bait for sharks
Capt. Johnson’s favorite bait for catching sharks is ladyfish.
He also likes:
- jack crevalle
- Spanish mackerel
Remember, even though it’s shark bait, you need to follow the rules and regulations for each fish.
Chumming (and sight fishing) for sharks
Now one way to make fishing for sharks even more exciting is to sight fish for them.
You can do by that making a stringer, like the one pictured above, butterfly one a shark bait, and put it on a stringer out behind your boat.
Oftentimes you’ll see the hungry shark approaching your boat with its fin out of the water and you’ll get a chance to sight cast to him!
Shark fishing can be some of the most exciting inshore fishing you can do, but as Capt. Johnson mentioned in the video, when fishing for inshore sharks make sure to use a circle hook and be safe when releasing them.
They can be fun to catch, but remember that they have sharp teeth and they do bite.
If you’re in the Keys and want to go fishing with Capt. Johnson, check out FloridaKeysFunFishing.com.
Have any questions about catching inshore sharks?
Let me know in the comments below!
And if you know someone who wants to catch more sharks, please TAG or SHARE this with them!
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what size reel would you recommend for shore based shark fishing with sharks from 3ft all the way up to 15ft
What size reel were you using
simple to answer, in my opinion only four reels really make sense(from shore where you need capacity):
Cabo 120, absolut beast with one of the best drags ever made, in fact the drag and gearing are stronger than the current stella, but not fully sealed, so dont dunk it.
Makaira Spinning 3000 simular drag to the cabo but way stronger and long-living anti reverse and gears, the body is the toughest of all spinning reels as well, combined with an almost van staal like sealing and an unmatched line capacity, best reel to put the heat on smaller sharks like 8 foot bulls.
on the conventional side I’d reccomend the makaira 130 as a very good value, should work for everything up to 13 feet.
And if yo’re, like me, after the biggest of the biggest with either 300lb mono or 500lb braid, 30-40 foot 5/7mm(5mm cable, 7mm with coating) pvc coated 7×19 as rubbing leader cause even an 300lb blue can break 400lb mono with one tail slap, imagine what an 5000 pounder could do to 1000lb… even doubled not an option for me, also because the big ones sometimes circle around and bite at the line way above the biting leader, my wire rubbing leadr isn’t tooth proof at all, but can get a few bites, especially if it’s not under much pressure what it sin’t in that cases. I use10-15 foot of 5000-10000lb 1×19 or a 4-5mm chain as bite trace, even if hooked in the corner what my circles usually do, they still chew on the leader, they can bite at it while pulling line, so 7×7 is a bad Idea if you don’t want to go over 10000lb, not the strengh counts, more the gauge of each single wire and the resistance against kinks, single strand kan kink through within seconds. than the only reel I could think about for this fishing style is the Everol 20/0 two speed, just cause it’s by far the biggest reel on the market and not significantly heavier than 130’s or 16/0 senators, expensive but you can expectto still get spare parts in 50 years. My hooks are minimum 20/0 3x, but normally 24/0-28/0, if the bait is big enough neither a giant hook or the thickest leader would shy a shark away(big is 40-80 pounds, but even on 10-20lb baits this hooks and leaders work just fine)
Only my opinion, everyone fishes different, I would prefere to hook less fish and not get heart broken and depressed by loosing the fish of a lifetime, if you don’t care about that thin cable or single strand isn’t a problem cause it wouldn’t do much harm to the fish if it breakes.
Capt Mark, can you drift or is anchoring a must? Do you use a balloon to support you bait? Thx
Thank you for the great video and information. I’m wondering how do you fillet the lady fish so it can be hooked to the anchor ring? Secondly, how large of a piece of lady fish do you use to “hand feed the shark when it is near the boat? Finally, do you troll or drift the ring around or anchor and let the current move the scent?
Great video! Thanks, learned so much.
I remember the first time my boys hooked a shark Tarpon fishing… that moment lives forever. OH… and by the way, the only place I would be afraid to get in the water, the Humps …. where the capt’n mentioned. Sharks seemed stacked in there like cord wood.
Just an awesome video, great job! Can’t wait to twist some wire and catch ‘em up!
how do you straighten wire leader by hand?
how do you straighten wire leader?
At a few tackle stores, they sell clamshells. They’re two pieces of metal(That look like clamshells.) that are run on either side of the wire by hand, one way, to straiten out single wire leaders. Run the clamshells both ways, up and down the leader, it ruins your single strand leader, filling it with kinks.
What type of knot do you use to connect the braid to the shock leader?
Hey Michael, I would use a double uni or FG for lighter (~50lb) mono/fluoro tied to braid. In my area, I actually use 200 lb mono and I crimp a loop on the top to tie my braid to.