Mako Shark: Get Ready to Rumble

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shark fishing

This small mako came into a chum slick at night and attacked with abandon.

Catching mako shark is no simple task. These pelagic predators live in deep water and are relatively rare – in fact, NOAA recently placed “emergency regulations” on mako, extending the minimum size limit to 83 inches. Yes, 83 inches – that’s one big shark. Whether you plan on keeping or releasing one however, there’s no denying the thrill of going toe to toe with one of these violent beasts. You want to try targeting a mako? These tips will help.

shark fishing

This small mako came into a chum slick at night and attacked with abandon.

  1. Plan on spending a night offshore. While mako can certainly be targeted in broad daylight, night fishing for sharks is usually the best way to get ’em. Check out our post Shark Fishing at Night, to get the scoop on how to make it happen.
  2. Don’t skimp or “fake” the shark rig. These sharks tend to jump and spin, and will often chaff through your line with their rough skin if you don’t have an appropriate rig. That means a large circle hook with a couple feet of single-strand leader (not cable – makos can chew through it strand by strand), followed by at least 15 feet of extremely heavy monofilament. Most shark sharpies use at least 300 pound test (many go to 500), for this purpose. Note: you’ll see lots of rigs on the market which are simply eight to 10 feet of single-strand wire. These are unacceptable because during the extended and chaotic fight a large mako is apt to provide, the wire commonly gets kinked and then breaks. When mako are the target, rigging becomes critical.
  3. Don’t mix chumming and chunking. Many anglers like to fish for a variety of species when overnighting in the ocean. That’s great, but chunking is often the preferred method of bringing up species like tuna. However, chunking also gives fish like mako, which will follow the scent trail, the opportunity to eat their fill before they ever get close to the boat – and your baits. When targeting mako in specific if you really want to maximize your chances, deploy chum only and save the chunking for another night.


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