Considering the fighting qualities of the various species of shark liable to be taken in British waters, and the weight to which they go, the following types of tackle are recommended so that each would allow the fish to give the best sport: blue shark—30 lbclass tackle; porbeagle—50 lbclass tackle; mako, thresher and large porbeagle—80 lbclass rod and reel. Each one of these tackle classes can be reduced to a lower one with increasing experience in catching shark.
5mm diameter braided wire, because a shark’s teeth are liable to cut through anything else. The biting length, 2 to 3ft long, should be attached to a further 10ft of slightly thinner, similar wire or longliner’s monofilament nylon to withstand the abrasive action of the shark’s skin.
Bait in shark fishing consists of whole fish used either singly if the fish is large, or in number if they are small. The favourite bait is mackerel which as a shoal fish probably represents the commonest natural food of sharks. However, any other species may be used and many sharks have been taken on pouting or pollack. Various methods of mounting the bait are used with the head or tail pointing up the trace. Each method should ensure that the bait does not come off when first taken, for sharks rarely swallow the bait at once. Natural presentation is not essential, for the movement of the bait should give off the erratic vibrations of an injured or sick fish.
Since sharks are usually midwater or surface fish, the bait should be fished off the bottom. This is achieved by attaching a float, either a balloon or square of polystyrene, to the line once the depth set for the bait has been reached. The float should always be as small as possible so as not to produce resistance once the bait is taken. This offthebottom rule on bait presentation is not absolute, for many sharks are taken with bait on the bottom fished as
A simple but very strong flowing trace. The methods of fishing for sharks depend very much on the area, the wind and tides, and both drifting and fishing at anchor are successful. It is an exciting, brutal sport, and at times dangerous.