One of the most exciting inshore fish to catch is the bonnethead shark. Bonnethead Sharks are extremely strong. Bonnethead will make the drag scream on a fishing real with fights that are typically near the surface of the water. During the summer months in coastal Georgia, South Carolina, and North Carolina, they are commonly found. Some anglers are looking for the best table fare, while others search for the best skirmish. Bonnethead sharks are one of the most formidable fighting inshore fish. How do you sight fish for bonnethead sharks?

How do you find bonnethead sharks?

-Oyster Beds

-Grass Lines

-Open Water

When searching for bonnethead sharks, the fact is that they can be anywhere from the open water to tucked up against grass lines and oyster beds. Although they are frequently spotted at the surface, they also hang low in deep waters.

How do you identify bonnethead shark when sight fishing?

Consider yourself sitting in a movie theater watching a film about sharks swarming the waters. Now in your boat or on the shore, look for the tale-tell sign. Yes, bonnethead sharks swim with the upper fin out of the water, just like the movies. 

Whether you’re swimming at an ocean beach, deep in a tidal creek, or anchored in open water, it won’t be ucommon to see a bonnethead shark meandering at the surface of the water. Don’t be alarmed if you’re not fishing and wading in the water to cool off. Bonnethead sharks are extremely unlikely to attack a human.

How do you find a bonnethead that is seen swimming at the surface?

-Precise casting

-Dead or live bait

-Stout rod and reel

For most, bonnethead is not the top choice of catch for the day. Many anglers are out searching for sea trout, redfish, sheepshead, and flounder. For the vacationer, the goal may be to land a shark to make for a great photo.

While yes, the popular gamefish of the south are in higher demand because of the quality of food they bring to the table, bonnethead sharks are not to pass up if one is caught of proper size based on the regulations of the state.

A mixed bag of fish is always likely when you’re fishing in coastal waters. Spend the majority of time catching the gamefish while keeping your eyes open for a shark. During the change in tides, pay special attention to the sand flats or where the open water and grass line meet. More than likely, on every summer trip, you will see a bonnethead skimming across the top of the water. 

How do you catch a bonnethead once it is spotted?

These types of sharks are ferocious eaters. If using live bait such as shrimp, cast the live bait in the shark’s general vicinity. The erratic motion of the shrimp will be sensed by the shark allowing for an easy meal.

When live bait isn’t an option, this isn’t a problem at all. A chunk of mullet, shrimp, squid, or dead crab will all do the trick. The key is to place the bait in the general area that the fish is swimming.

One drawback to dead bait is that it is motionless. Motionless bait is more challenging for a shark to seak it out. Yes, a shark will pick up on the smell; however, other small fish may get to the bait sooner. Be patient and let the cut bait sit while being pecked at. The shark will be the bully to come by and swipe it up. 


Sight fishing for bonnethead sharks in the inshore coastal water of South Carolina, Georgia, or North Carolina can be an enjoyable experience. Shark fishing is even more fun for the kids when they see it come on board. Make sure to take a peak at the tooth-filled mouth. Be sure to snap a photo but be sure to handle the shark properly to avoid injury. Take part in the thrilling experience of spotting and catching bonnethead shark.