All about Shark Fishing on Florida's Gulf Coast

Shark fishing in Florida and on the Florida Gulf Coast is a popular sport that attracts many people to Florida, including thrill-seekers and fishermen alike. However, it can be done on any day or night if you are looking for something different to do! You can fish for sharks year around in the west central region.

a shark close to the water's surface and a man fishing on a boat, highlighting shark fishing on the Florida coast

What is shark fishing, and what are the best times to do it in Florida?

Shark fishing is when people catch sharks using a rod and reel on hook and line. In Florida you can target sharks all year. You can go shark fishing any day or night if you are looking for something different to do!

How does shark fishing work?

Shark fishing works like most other types of fishing. You can catch them using a rod, reel, and line in all kinds depths in the waters around Tampa bay and of the Gulf of Mexico. We like to use baits such old fish carcasses and fish scraps. The great part about fishing for sharks is that they are not picky eaters, and fight hard its a thrill to have an apex predator hooked on the end of your line.

Learn more about the different shark species

Man kneeling on the beach at night beside a large shark, highlighting the experience of shark fishing on the Florida coast

Who may be interested in shark fishing?

Shark fishing can be appealing to people who enjoy catching fish on a rod and reel and those who are thrill-seekers. The fight that ensues when the shark takes your bait is an exciting experience for some people, while others enjoy simply catching them on a line and taking pictures with their catch.

How can you prepare for a day of shark fishing on the Gulf Coast?

You want to make sure you have a few things before going out on a day of shark fishing. First, having the right equipment is important when it comes to catching sharks! Make sure you have all your gear, such as rods, reels, and bait, that will attract these fish from the sea. You should also bring sunscreen on a sunny day to prevent sunburn and stay hydrated with plenty of water.

Read those tips to avoid seasickness while fishing offshore

Best Rod for Shark Fishing

A rod anywhere between 6-8 feet will do the trick when it comes to catching sharks. You want to make sure that you are using a heavy rod that has the power and backbone to handle big predatory fish. Having the right rod is important as it may affect your ability to catch a shark.

Best Reel for Shark Fishing

When fishing for sharks you'll need something with lots of drag power to pull the shark. A reel that has at least 25-50 pounds of drag power will do the trick. It is also essential to have a reel that has the line capacity to hold lots of heavy line typically conventional reels are used but large spinning reels will work too on smaller sharks.

Bait for Shark Fishing

If you're doing shark fishing on a deep-sea charter, then they should provide all gear and equipment needed, including rods and reels, along with fresh shark bait. We like to use fish carcasses and fish scraps from previous charters, as most sharks are not picky eaters.

Shark swimming close to the water's surface, highlighting the experience and thrill of shark fishing on the Florida coast

What types of sharks can be caught on the Florida gulf coast?

You can catch many sharks on the Florida gulf coast, such as: bull sharks , hammerhead, black tip sharks, nurse sharks, dusky, spinner sharks, are all common sharks in the gulf of Mexico and out in the deeper offshore waters you can also catch tiger and mako sharks on occasion.

Tips for catching sharks

  • Make sure to use the right equipment - you want at least 25-50 pounds of drag on your reel and a rod that is 6-8 feet long
  • Use fresh bait oily and bloody fish scraps and carcasses for shark fishing, and make sure they are legal to use as bait
  • You can also catch reef species like snapper and grouper if you're fishing in the right area. These are good eating fish, so it doesn't hurt to have them for dinner!

Shark Fishing is a fun sport whether you do it on your own or go out with a deep-sea charter, but either way, you will have a great time and get to experience the thrill of fishing for an apex predator!

What should I do after catching a shark?

After you've caught a shark, it is important to remember that this fish can be dangerous and should not be approached without caution and is best left in the water and not attempted to wrestle into the boat. Sharks will thrash around aggressively , and obviously have lots of teeth. Best practice is to leave the shark in the water and take a few pictures boat side, then cut the line and give it some room to swim away.

Interesting facts about sharks that you may not have known before!

Sharks are some of the oldest creatures on earth, with some species dating back to 400 million years ago! There are more than 440 different types of sharks today, making them one of the most diverse groups on Earth! Many sharks are threatened or endangered, which is why it's important to practice catch and release when you're going out shark fishing.

You can find sharks in every ocean around the world! In Florida alone, over 21 species of sharks have been sighted in the state's waters! However, some types of sharks live exclusively in different areas, such as freshwater rivers or brackish estuaries.

Some animals that sharks eat include fish, seabirds, other shark species, and marine mammals. Some of these animals are consumed due to feeding on things like dead carcasses or scraps from fishing boats which is why it's important to practice catch and release when you're going out shark fishing.

Sharks have a sixth sense known as electroreception that enables them to detect small changes in electric fields, which is why it's important to practice catch and release when you're going out shark fishing. The ampullae of Lorenzini are small pores on the snout or face of sharks that enable them to sense tiny changes in electric fields, which they use to find prey!

Read more fascinating facts about sharks here.


Sharks are one of the most important species on Earth, and it is up to us as humans to make sure they stay protected for generations to come! If you ever hook a shark when fishing, remember that sharks need our help, so please practice catch and release.

If you are heading to the St. Petersburg, Florida area and want the fishing adventure of a lifetime, be sure to give us a call!

We promise you will not be disappointed joining Reel Coquina Fishing for the best fishing charter in St. Petersburg! They have remained largely unchanged over time, and their top speed is roughly equivalent to that of an average human.