When it comes to identifying sharks in the coastal water of Georgia, South Carolina, and North Carolina, the task is challenging. Sharks share similar appearances, which makes them difficult to decipher. Two of the most similar-looking sharks are the bonnethead shark and the hammerhead shark. Here is what you need to know about the difference between both variations of sharks. 

Hammerhead Shark

Despite the hammerhead’s large stature and menacing appearance, the creature is low on the scale regarding aggressive behavior. 

How Do You Identify A Hammerhead Shark

When it comes to identification, look for these features. The sides of the fish range between brown and gray, while the underside is tan to white. 

The heads of hammerhead varieties vary but share the same mallet-shaped head. Lastly, all of the pelvic fins are curved. 

How Big Do Hammerhead Sharks Grow

The great hammerhead is massive. Anglers catch the shark over 500 pounds along the east coast. Lastly, it is not uncommon to stumble across hammerheads weighing half a ton. 

What Is The Range Of A Hammerhead Shark

The range of a hammerhead is between the northern portions of North Carolina down to the Florida Keys. The fish occasionally ventures to the north of North Carolina. 

What Is The Habitat Of A Hammerhead Shark

While the shark ventures close to the shore along beaches, the vast majority are found in the open water of the Atlantic ocean near the surface or above reefs and wrecks. 

How Do You Catch Hammerhead Sharks

Anglers in search of hammerhead sharks target the offshore waters of Georgia, South Carolina, and North Carolina. 

When fishing over reefs and wrecks, suspend a tuna on large hooks with wire leaders. Heavy conventional rod and reel combinations are required due to the size of the fish. Place the rod in a rod holder or fighting belt. Lastly, be prepared when the shark comes alongside. The fish must be handled with extreme caution to avoid injury. 

Are Hammerhead Sharks Good To Eat

The hammerhead is rarely eaten is considered primarily a sportfish. Anglers catch and release the fish because the meat is coarse and fishy-smelling. 

Bonnethead Shark

The bonnethead shark is a mini-me version of the hammerhead shark. The species is abundant and is frequently caught by anglers. 

How Do You Identify A Bonnethead Shark

When identifying a bonnethead shark, the color varies between gray and brown depending upon the habitat. 

Take a close look at the head. The head is shovel-shaped, wide, and does not have a notch at the center, which appears on hammerheads. Spots occur on the sides occasionally. Lastly, the upper portion of the tail is elongated while the bottom is blunt. 

How Big Do Bonnethead Sharks Grow

Anglers most frequently catch bonnethead sharks ranging between three and five pounds. However, it is not uncommon to come across this variety of shark exceeding ten pounds. 

What Is The Range Of A Bonnethead Shark

When it comes to range, the bonnethead shark is widely distributed along the east coast of the United States. Occasionally anglers catch the shark as far north as Cape Cod, but the species is more predominant inland and offshore of Georgia, South Carolina, and North Carolina. 

What Is The Habitat Of A Bonnethead Shark

The bonnethead is found on shallow reefs and wrecks or along beaches offshore. It is not uncommon to see the shark’s tails above the water’s surface as they swim in shallow waters.

Inshore anglers target bonnethead in bays, channels, and flats.  The fish scours the bottom for food. 

How Do You Catch Bonnethead Sharks

The bonnethead shark willingly strikes a wide assortment of baits. Anglers utilize light to medium weight spinning rod and reels combinations when casting. Place a live or dead shrimp or fish on the hook beneath a float or on the bottom. Lastly, the fish can be targeted by sight fishing. Once the fish is seen, cast in the direction it moves. 

Are Bonnethead Shark Good To Eat

Bonnethead sharks make excellent table fare. The flesh is described as firm, white, and mild. We recommend grilling or broiling the fish because of the thick fillets—simply ad your favorite seasonings. 

Now You Know The Difference Between Hammerhead And Bonnethead Sharks

The primary difference between the hammerhead shark and the bonnethead shark is its sheer size. Hammerheads grow massive in size compared to their dwarf family member. Additionally, focus on bonnethead inshore and hammerhead offshore. Lastly, purchase a saltwater fishing license before targeting either species of shark.