One of the most frequently caught sharks in the inshore coastal waters of Georgia, South Carolina, and North Carolina is the Bonnethead shark. The bonnethead is an exciting battle because of its strength resulting in long powerful drag screaming runs. Additionally, they are easy to catch for family entertainment. While you can catch bonnethead sharks from a boat, a vessel is not required. 

How do you catch bonnethead sharks:

This type of shark can be caught in a variety of ways. Here is a list of gear, tackle, and bait needed to hook these toothy critters.

Best bonnethead shark baits:

  1. Any live or previously frozen shrimp are excellent bait. 
  2. Live or dead bait fish are equally as good as shrimp.
  3. While it is effective, chopped squid can draw other types of bites more commonly than a shark. 

When selecting fishing equipment, the common mistake is pulling out the most massive rod and reel combination in the garage. Don’t fall into this trap; sharks are equal in size to many highly sought after species, including redfish and speckled trout.

Best tackle options to successfully land bonnethead shark:

  1. A spinning reel of medium sizes such as a Penn 4,000 or Shimano 5,000 reel.
  2. A Medium weight rod with guides that are not cracked or with the ceramic inserts missing.
  3. Braid or monofilament line between fifteen and twenty pounds.

Much like bait, a wide of range of tackle options work for catching bonnethead sharks. This type of fish will bite both on the bottom and a suspended bait.

What tackle to use for suspending a bait in the water column:

  1. A popping cork tied to the mainline.
  2. Twenty-five to thirty-pound leader line.
  3. Add a 1/8 ounce weight between the float and the hook.
  4. A 1/0 sized circle hook tied to the bottom of the leader line.

What tackle to use for bottom fishing:

  1. Tie a twenty-five to thirty-pound leader line to the mainline.
  2. Add a weight that is heavy enough to hold your line on the bottom without overdoing it.
  3. Tie on a 1/0 sized circle hook.

Simply add your bait and be ready for a solid strike!

After you have fought the bonnethead shark and it brought to the shore or the side of the boat, the battle has just begun. The next step is safely removing the hook from the fish without being injured by the tooth lined jaws. 

How do you safely unhook a bonnethead shark:

Once you have a bonnethead shark on, you are going to need to get the hook out. This is the part that can get a bit scary when dealing with a bonnethead. If you are not careful, this can hurt. Here are some tips to ensure you don’t get hurt while removing a hook from a bonnethead shark. Have pliers ready to unhook the fish.

Net the shark and bring it into the boat or onto the shore.

Secure one hand behind the head of the shark and control the tail between your knees while kneeling. 

Hold the pliers in your free hand while securely holding the shark’s head still and remove the hook.

Having two people is better than one, especially with larger sized bonnetheads. 

Handle the fish securely and place it in the water. Try to minimize the amount of time the shark is out of the water. 

Some don’t consider sharks as being edible fish. Bonnethead shark is excellent on the table. The fillets are very white and moderately flaky. Of course, if you plan to keep sharks, check the bonnethead shark regulations in North Carolina, South Carolina, and Georgia. 

In what ways can bonnethead shark fillets be prepared:

Bonnethead sharks can be great table fare; however, you must first make sure that you are preparing them properly. Here are some things to know about bonnethead shark fillets. The first thing is the fish can be filleted or cut into steaks.As with any fish, they can be coated or marinated in your favorite flavors.

As far as a cooking method is concerned, bonnethead can be

  • Grilled
  • Broiled
  • Baked
  • Pan-fried
  • Chopped into pieces for tacos or stew

Like any other fish, avoid overcooking it. 

Frequently Asked Questions about Bonnet Head Sharks

Now that you have a pretty good understanding of what to do when you want to catch a bonnethead shark and how to handle it should you get one on, you may have some other questions about these interesting creatures. Let’s face it, regardless of who you are, sharks are interesting, and they are going to bring up quite a few questions.

Are Bonnethead Sharks Good Eating?

A bonnethead shark can be one of the best-tasting sharks when prepared correctly. The first time we caught one of these, my wife was surprised that anyone would eat it. The fish looks as though it may be a little coarse or rough, but if you follow our recipes for cooking bonnethead shark, you will end up with a great meal.

Do You Have To Soak Shark In Milk?

It is recommended that you soak bonnethead shark in milk prior to eating it. However, we have not noticed any taste difference when preparing it with or without milk. As you probably know, when cooking with fish or any meat, the individual fillet is going to have some variations in taste. Maybe we got lucky and didn’t need the milk, or maybe it’s really not necessary to soak it.

How Do You Hold A Bonnethead Shark?

You will need two hands to gain control and properly hold a bonnethead shark. Make sure that your hands are mostly kept around the dorsal fin and not near the head of the shart. One hand is going to secure the tail in place and try and gain control; the other hand will hold the shark about 1/3 above the tail. Notice that both hands are going to be away from the shark’s teeth. You will need to have a firm grip on the shark, or you could put yourself and others in danger.

Do Bonnethead Sharks Bite?

These are the details on a bonnethead shark from start to finish. Follow the ways to prepare, catch, handle, and cook them. When you’re out fishing, keep in mind what the world record bonnethead shark is? The world record is twenty-eight pounds and was caught in Florida. Keep a tally on the biggest; you just never know. Have fun spending time on the water and enjoy your fresh catch!