Bull Shark Basics
There are a surprising number of sharks in our estuaries, particularly right now during the hot humid weather we’ve been having.
Although there are plenty of very big ones swimming in rivers and creeks, the average size caught by anglers is less than a metre long making them great fun to target.
How good they are as a table fish depend on where you come from, most Queenslanders turn their nose up, but flake is a hot item at the fish and chips shops in southern States.
A common mistake many anglers make when shark fishing is to fish too heavy, a four to six kilo estuary outfit will handle most of the sharks we encounter, provided you rig up with a wire trace.
You don’t need large hooks either, a 2/0 – 4/0 chemically sharpened hook, something like a Mustad Big Red is a good choice.
If you’re using long skinny baits like live mullet or a strip fillet, it is a good idea to use two hooks snooded together because the sharks have a tendency to bite the end of a large bait off rather than swallow it all at once.
A good technique to cover all bases is to have one bait anchored on the bottom with a heavy sinker and another suspended a metre under a float.
One of the most important items you need is a pair of long nose pliers, trying to get the hook out of a sharks mouth without them can be bloody dangerous, literally.
If you’re keeping the fish, it is better to cut the trace and put the fish straight on ice rather than attempting to remove the hook from a lively fish.
Safety is paramount when you have a shark on the deck of the boat.
They will actively turn and snap at you so if you intend to keep it for the table, it is a good idea to dispense of it quickly with a sharp blow before you bring it on the deck.
Even a dead shark is dangerous, especially to children, keep hands and feet well away.
Don’t attempt to gaff a small shark, their tough skin and over active antics make it almost impossible, a large net is a better option.
Sharks primarily feed through the night and in the early hours of the morning although you will catch them through the day, especially in the deeper holes, just in lesser numbers.
Their typical behaviour in a river system is to spend the hotter parts of the day in the deepest hole they can find then in the cool of the evening or before first light, cruise the shallows looking for food.
Bag limits are quite restrictive, you’re only allowed to keep one shark and it must be under 1.5 metres long, but one shark will provide quite a few meals.
Bull Shark Basics