Sharks are awesome beasts – both to look at, and to fight on the end of your fishing line. And while you can catch them at any time of day, there’s no doubt that night fishing produces the best.
Naturally, night fishing requires some special gear: flashlights, headlamps, and the obvious stuff. But if you go night fishing for sharks, you should also gear up with some specific tackle. Wire leader is, of course, a must. And if the sharks you’re pursuing weigh over 80 or 90 pounds, a short length of cable in front of the wire will prevent bite-offs. Yes, very large, powerful sharks can actually bite through single-strand wire leader.
Circle hooks are another must-have. Not only do they keep the shark’s teeth away from the leader, they almost always bury firmly in the corner of the shark’s jaw and it’s extremely rare for one to pull free. The specific size depends on the size shark you’re after, but generally speaking sharks aren’t shy about biting on a large hook. Those 50 pounds or less will have no problem with a 6/0 circle hook, and 100-plus pounders are best targeted with 10/0 or 12/0 hooks.
One piece of gear some people think they’ll need but may be better off without is a pair of pliers, for getting the hooks out. These are helpful with small sharks you can grab in one hand, but it’s foolhardy to put your hands anywhere near the mouth of a large, aggravated shark. Just clip off the wire as close to the hook as is possible, let the shark swim off, and in time the hook will rust away. Added bonus: you get to keep all your fingers.
Once you catch a shark, should you keep it? Most species you’re likely to encounter, like bull or blacktip sharks, are inedible or just plain awful to eat. Please folks, let’s release them as quickly and gently as possible. But there are a few tasty species that visit Texas waters. Mako and thresher sharks are usually found offshore in relatively deep waters, and aren’t commonly caught close to home. But the Atlantic Sharpnose are quite common in these parts and can be caught quiet close to shore. They make for decent table fare (many people recommend marinading them in milk overnight, prior to cooking) and have a healthy population, so there aren’t any worries associated with keeping them. Whether or not you keep any sharks, however, one thing is for sure: the thrill of fighting one of these wild beasts under a moon-lit sky is an experience to remember.