Tyler has been shark fishing for 14-years on the banks of North Carolina. After basically being raised on the shore fishing for whatever would bite, he picked up shark fishing as a bit of an adrenaline rush. When he first started, all he had was a 50-wide reel and a kayak, now it’s an entire setup he lugs to the shoreline.
Cast baits, kayaks, and on an average day he takes about 6 spinning rods (Spinning reels offer better line capacity). 80-Wide 2 speed reels with 1000 yards of line 80-pound braid up to 130-pound braid. Spliced to 100-pound monofilament from that to 400 to 600-pound monofilament which is about the size of weed eater line. He will even run 1200-pound (¼-inch thick monofilament) every once in a while for big tiger sharks. When Tyler rolls up to the shoreline for some shark fishing, he’s got an isle of a tackle shop in tow!
Another thing he never leaves home without? His shoulder harness so that he can be strapped in at the waist to his rod. Some of these sharks will pull so hard that without that harness, you’d lose the rod. Tyler has even had sharks pull him 5-10 yards down the beach during the duration of a fight!
Shark Fishing From Shore – Areas to Focus On
When looking for new locations, Tyler will survey the beaches using Google Earth and ANGLR for imagery. He’s trying to pick out different areas with depth changes. His favorites are areas with a long sandbar that comes back into a big pocket.
Also, he puts his focus on areas around piers since sharks will be nearby as the bait and smaller fish feed and thrive near the piers.
Water depth is key. In North Carolina, there is a double bar from the currents which keep the sharks in the trenches looking for all of the bait species stuck in those small currents avoiding the deep water. Mullet, croaker, and other pinfish. The first trough is within about 30 yards of the beach, so to get out to that second bar, his average cast is 60-75 yards off the beach. It’s farther than you’d think about fishing upon first glance.
Tyler likes to get his bait out to the “danger zone” on the backside of the second bar, where all of your pelagics like to hunt. Spanish Mackerel, Speckled Trout, King Mackerel, and even Redfish. They will pull up to first trough to feed, but for the most part, the bigger ones stay by second bar.
Shark Fishing From Shore – Seasonality
Shark fishing in North Carolina usually kicks off around the beginning to middle of May depending on water temperature. Usually right around 67-70 degrees is when the majority of your species start to roll in. Dusky’s are the colder weather species which can be caught October through November. Those are also the bigger of the sharks out there ranging from 8-12 foot.
In the spring, The dogfish come first right when the water temperatures get right. From there, the blacktips and sandbar sharks will come right after the dogfish. Bull sharks, lemon sharks, and tiger sharks, begin to roll in towards the end of May.
From then, the shark fishing stays solid until right around the end of September. Then it rolls back to targeting blacktips, sandbars, and dusky’s for the most part.
Shark Fishing From Shore – Gear
Shark Fishing Rods and Reels
Kayak Bait Setup:
130 to 250-pound class rods – 6’6” to 7 foot
22 to 24 OT Circle Hooks
With the kayak bait setup, Tyler and a buddy take turns paddling the bait offshore to the second bar before dropping it down to let it sit. For bait on these rigs, Tyler runs big stingray chunks or even whole stingrays! His preferred size is about a foot and a half chunk. He will also run a lot of tarpon chunks (25-30 pounds). With a Tarpon, he will cut it into three sections, head, middle, and tail. When using these massive chunks, he seems to get the bigger sharks for the year. He will also use amberjacks, and even grouper heads.
Cast Bait Spinning Rods
He will then use a 50-pound braid spliced to 50 to 60-pound shock leader with monofilament. He prefers Powerpro Braid spliced to a BillFisher or Bullbuster Monofilament.
Tyler’s favorite gear to shark fish with is his spinning rods.
This allows him to go out on the shore alone and still get the bait out deep where he can expect to get bit. These aren’t your normal spinning rods by any stretch, but when he doesn’t have someone to run the bait in the kayak, these will put in the work for him!
With his spinning rods, he will use bloody chunk baits from pelagics and pinfish. These chunks are normally much smaller than his kayak baits, but still large enough to cover the massive circle hooks he is using.
Shark Fishing Circle Hooks
14-16 OT Mustad Circle Hooks
14-16 OT Owner Circle Hooks
Anyone doing some shark fishing needs to be using a circle hook. You do not want to cause a bad internal laceration once they swallow it. Also, a circle hook will set itself and then there’s no need to really set the hook and reef on them.
Let the shark set the hook for you, then saddle up and prepare for the battle.
Shark Fishing Line
50-pound Powerpro Braid
50 to 60-pound BillFisher or Bullbuster Monofilament.
Shark Fishing Bait
If you’re looking for the best bait, your best bet is to match your shark bait to the bait in the area for that day and for the season. Tyler’s favorite bait is Spanish Mackerel heads. He also likes chunk baits from pelagics. The next best baits are little pompano or Jack crevalle and pinfish if you can find them big enough.
For his big bait rigs, Tyler runs big stingray chunks or even whole stingrays! His preferred size is about a foot and a half chunk. He will also run a lot of tarpon chunks.
No matter what bait you chose to throw, fresh and bloody is the best recommendation along with matching the bait to your area and seasonality.
Shark Fishing – Tagging for NOAA
Tyler’s been tagging for NOAA for 7 years now. The tagging research is through the APEX predator program. They register where the fish is caught, caught again, where they migrate to, breeding areas, and where they go to have their pups. They also track whether the shark is Male or Female.
With each catch, Tyler tags the shark and records length and sex.
The farthest place a shark that Tyler has caught and tagged traveled is Florida. It wagged 6-8 months prior to it showing up in Fort Lauderdale. However, some sharks that have been satellite tagged from University of Miami have traveled all the way up to Massachusetts.
Tyler decided to join the tagging program to see if he could catch the same shark again. Since he began shark fishing and tagging, he has caught the same fish he named “Local”, 6 times now. When he originally caught her, she had 23 hooks in her mouth from living around the pier. 2-weeks later he caught her again and she had about 14 hooks in her mouth. He then went quite a while without catching her. Now, the last time he caught her again, he actually caught her by hooking his own rig that he had snapped off earlier that week.
He caught her hook to hook which is an impressive feat!