The Best Bait For Shark Fishing In Florida, and Anywhere Else
There is no better way to combine fishing and a large dose of adrenaline than to hunt down some of the biggest fish in the sea. Many people flock from around the world to Florida to fish for sharks. Whilst shark fishing it’s always important that you have the best rod, reel, fishing line and bait. That goes for whether you’re casting from a boat or from the surf. That’s why in this article we are going to explain the best bait for shark fishing in Florida.
A Sharks Incredible Sense Of Smell
Sharks are highly intelligent fish, which makes them more rewarding but also more difficult to catch. It’s understood that some sharks can smell the blood of it’s prey from up to 3 miles away!
Because their scent is so sensitive it’s crucial to be using fresh bait whilst shark fishing. Bait selection is important but above all ensure it’s fresh. Sharks know the difference between fresh and rotten food. If you’re using shark bait which has been dead for a number of days it will likely be ignored by the shark.
Use Fresh Bait or Live Bait When Possible
Live bait or freshly killed bait is the number one choice. My local fish market stocks up on fresh fish daily which was caught the night before. Before I head out shark fishing I always get my fresh bait from them. Most fish market customers are only after the fish fillets, so if you’re nice to the staff you can often grab a bag of fish heads which they would otherwise throw away for free!
So now you understand that it’s key to be using the freshest bait possible whilst shark fishing. Now let’s go over some of the best kinds of bait you can use…
The Best Kinds Of Bait To Use For Different Sized Sharks
Sharks aren’t the fussiest eaters in the sea, they tend to eat fish that will fit in their mouth. Therefore depending on the type of shark you are hunting down, consider the average size of the shark. You’ll be using bigger bait for catching bulls as opposed to reef sharks. This just takes a bit of common sense.
For larger shark breeds such as tiger sharks and hammer heads I would opt for larger bait. Some popular choices are using full stingrays or bonito. Although with larger predatory sharks any bloody/oily large bait choice seems to work well. Bonito and Bonefish are a good size bait fish found in the waters off Florida and therefore will make a great choice for shark fishing!
You can find a great list of bait fish from Florida’s coastal waters here.
If you are hunting down smaller sharks such as reef sharks or black tip, it’s wise to use smaller bait fish or chop your bait up to accommodate the sharks smaller mouth size. Maybe only use half or quarter of a ray, or smaller bait fish such as a bumber.
When it comes to the best bait for shark fishing, usually the smellier the bait the better. We touched on the scent capabilities of the shark already. The bait which excretes the most oil and blood tends to perform best in the water and attract the most sharks.
Top tip: If your bait has been sitting in your storage for a few hours and is no longer excreting blood. Before hooking it, stomp on it a few times to get the juices flowing out of it again. Sometimes the smallest adjustments can make the biggest difference!
My favorite bait for catching sharks in Florida:
The Spanish Mackerel
This is one of my favourite choice of bait fish for catching sharks in Florida because of its strong scent and size. It’s not the biggest fish which makes it perfect for going after the smaller-medium size sharks off the coast.
Mackerel are very oily and give out a lot of blood when cut which allows them to be smelt by sharks from a long distance away.
I get most of my spanish mackerel by fishing for them! They migrate to the warmer waters of Florida every year and you can find large schools of them in waters up to about 40 feet. I use small fish and shrimp to catch the Spanish Mackerel.
Bonito is a fan favourite amongst shark anglers. They are another fish from the mackerel family which means they have a really strong scent, secrete lots of blood and oil.
Bonito isn’t a fish you’ll find being eaten by people of America and therefore is predominantly used as a bait fish.
The Bonito’s size is perfect to be chopped up for smaller sharks or used whole for the bigger species. Some Bonito grow up to 30 inches – perfect for your tiger and bull shark hunts.
The clearnose skate is another great choice for baiting sharks in Florida. This species of skate is native to Florida and can be found in-shore. You should be able to find this skate in most Florida fish markets, if not you can catch them using crustaceans, mollusks, sand fleas and fiddler crabs. Every shark species found in Florida loves these skates!
I hope you found this article informative and that you now understand what kind of baits to use whilst shark fishing.
Remember – Fresh, Oily and Bloody. If you are still struggling to decide which best bait for shark fishing in Florida to use then go for any of the 3 I listed. You should be able to find them at any fish market in Florida or from some fisherman down on the shore.
Happy shark fishing!
About The Author: Edward M. is an adventure seeker who enjoys watersports, travel and good food. He runs a blog called watersportingadventure.com to help promote and teach others the wonderful world of water sports. His favorite water sports are fishing, diving and kayaking, although He’s dipped his toes into pretty much everything!