The majority of sharks are most effectively caught on natural bait. With that being said, artificial lures can catch many species. Let’s face it, it would be very unlikely to catch a Great hammerhead on a fly, but many species can be targeted on a fly, and especially using a variety of artificial lures. One of the keys to success is having clear water. You want the sharks to rely on seeing the lure, rather than smelling it, even if using scented types.
Lures for Catching Sharks
Some of the sharks we know and love are very opportunistic feeders, and eat whatever they can fit in their mouths. In general, large lures imitating a Striped or Silver mullet, or some other large shiny fish such as a Blue runner, work great for catching sharks lurking around large schools of baitfish. Inshore, a variety of lures ranging from fish to crabs can be used to catch small Blacktip sharks, Bonnethead sharks, Lemon sharks, or even Bull sharks.
Artificial Fish for Sharks
Besides the humble Whale shark, it’s safe to say that most sharks love to dine on fish. There are many artificial lures designed to imitate a fish, and they seem to get more realistic every year. Artificial fish lures are perfect for fishing for sharks near schools of large baitfish that appear on the beaches each year, or when small juveniles are inshore.
On the beaches, cast outside of the school of bait, and work the lure as an injured fish (sharks can be lazy, and love an easy meal). When targeting sharks inshore, use a heavy-weighted lure or a heavy jig head to get the lure to the bottom of the channels, where many of the sharks will be.
Artificial Crabs and Shrimp for Sharks
As mentioned previously, many sharks are opportunistic feeders, and will eat anything they can find. Others, such as the Bonnethead shark, actually prefer crabs over fish. When using artificial invertebrates such as crabs or shrimp, use a weighted hook or some form of a bottom-rig, as sharks will be looking for these animals on the bottom.
When it comes to sharks, we all know that they have a great sense of smell. This is why cut natural bait is so effective for catching almost any species of shark. To increase your catch rate, use a scented bait, but make sure that it is scented with actual natural odors. Many of these are on the market, and perhaps the most popular is the Berkely® Gulp!® series.
Artificial Flies for Sharks
The type of artificial fly used will depend on the species of shark you will be targeting, and where you will be targeting them. A sinking crab or shrimp will work very well for sight-fishing small Bonnethead sharks inshore. This can be great fun, especially when no other fish are around. If targeting more pelagic sharks such as Blacktip sharks, either inshore or offshore, opt for a sinking fly imitating a fish – many flies designed for Tarpon will work.
A General Statement about Shark lures
As you can see from the information presented here, there are many scenarios in which artificial lures can work great for catching sharks. Many scenarios involve fishing inshore, where you can either sight-fish sharks in shallow water, or use the shallow water to your advantage (less water column to work with).