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March 08, 2013

Mid-Atlantic Shark Fishing

A world of fast action — inshore and offshore — awaits mid-Atlantic sharkers.

Mid-Atlantic Sharks Planner

Warm southern currents and cold northern water bring a variety of sharks to the mid-Atlantic coast year-round. To find the fish, find where bait, structure and ideal water temperature collide. Great sharking is available within 20 miles of any port along the coast. To find out what’s available, set out chum and bait, and wait to see what comes in to feed.

Where: Humps, hills, canyons and temperature breaks from Cape May, New Jersey, to Cape Hatteras, North Carolina.  

When: Target thresher and mako fall through early spring. Turn to blacktip, sandbar and dusky in the summer.

Shark Regulations: Shark-fishing regulations change from time to time and state to state. For the latest rules, check your local fish and wildlife ­department; for federal rules, go to


Mid-Atlantic Sharks Tackle Box

Shark conservation has become a worldwide effort. Due to a serious lack of data on most shark species, the Guy ­Harvey Research Institute began a mako-shark-tagging ­project last year. Researchers have tagged four makos with Pop-Up Satellite Archival Tags (PATs). CLICK HERE to view an animated track of one particular mako the GHRI tagged in New ­Zealand.

Mako Shark Track

Above, this animation shows a mako tagged off the Massachusetts Coast, and how its movements relate to sea surface temperatures. (Provided by the Guy Harvey Research Institute.)

Rods: Big sharks offshore: 50-pound-class, 6-foot rod with a longer butt section; inshore: 7-foot, 30-pound rod. 

Reels: Offshore: two-speed, 50-pound-class reel; inshore: 30-pound class reel for sharks up to 100 pounds. Keep handy a 7-foot, medium-heavy spinning rod rigged with a 12-inch piece of No. 9 wire and a fresh chunk of bait as a pitch rod.

Line: 50-pound reel, 150-pound braided line and a 300-yard topshot of 80-pound mono. The 30-pound reel holds enough of 30-pound monofilament for water ­shallower than 20 fathoms. 

Rigs: Wire leader is key to beating sharks. ­Single-strand No. 7 to No. 12 wire will fool inshore sharks; ­500-pound-test cable stops sea monsters. The wire should be 10 to 15 feet long to prevent fish from breaking the line with its tail. When drifting baits, stainless-steel J-hooks work best. For trolling, makos can’t resist a dark-colored Yo-Zuri ­Bonita, Braid Marauder or Ilander Hawaiian Eye. Thresher sharks will take a swing at a Mann’s Stretch 50 or a Rapala Magnum.