Shark Fishing in Florida's Indian River

Updated on October 10, 2019
suzzycue profile image

Susan writes about salt water fishing in Florida and enjoying the Florida coast.

My first saltwater shark fishing trip, with a black tip shark. You can sure tell I was in the fresh salt air all day; the salt air makes your hair stiff.
My first saltwater shark fishing trip, with a black tip shark. You can sure tell I was in the fresh salt air all day; the salt air makes your hair stiff. | Source

Fishing From Brevard County Islands

If you think you have to use a boat to catch big sharks ... think again. You can land huge hammerhead sharks or black tip sharks in Brevard County, Florida, without any special equipment. You can hook salt water sharks fishing from land, a pier, or a camping spot off one of the small islands on the flats of the Indian River, near and around Palm Bay Florida.

These small islands are near Malabar, Florida, and you can see them as white dots on the map below, between the shore and the Melbourne Beach peninsula. They are visible from your car driving down Highway 1. You could park your car on the side of the road and walk out to one of these islands; the flats are that shallow in this area. On the weekends in the summer there are tents and all varieties of boats anchored around these free island paradises to catch the sun, swim, or try their luck at salt water fishing.

The Indian River Intercoastal Waters

It was from one of these islands that I landed my first black tip shark. I boated to the island in my 14-foot John boat, to spend a Sunday afternoon fishing for salt water catfish.

Landing a Shark

That shark is the first picture in this article. I stood on the sandbar of the island and cast towards the shore using an inch-long J-hook. (I know I should use the number of the hook but I always go by length. This will drive the real fisherman nuts, sorry.) I threaded four inches (a whole side of a mullet fish) threaded onto that J-hook. I wanted a big salt water cat fish.

But what I hooked was a black tip shark! What was I going to do with that? What a fight! He broke water twice and was I glad I wasn't trying to land him in my boat. I reeled him in onto the sandbar, put my hand net over his head, picked him up by the tail and threw him into my boat that was beached beside me. Then I shook my head because I did that without one thought of what I was really doing: picking up a shark.

The second thing to consider was, I needed to kill him if I was to take him home for supper. I didn't want him to flop all over the boat when I was driving home. The old-timer fisherman always said you had to bleed a shark to get the blood from the meat. So I slit his throat, and that was that.

Preparing Sharks for Cooking

Old-timers also told me never to skin a shark close to their skin. You should always leave an inch of meat on the skin. Sharks urinate through their skin because they have no pee hole. People also said to soak the shark meat overnight in your cooler with milk to take the wild taste from the meat.

These suggestions worked! I cut the shark into one inch thick steaks cutting into the backbone to hold them together. They were the best shark steaks ever to come off my fire pit the next night.

Hammerhead Shark Fishing off a Pier

I hooked six hammerhead sharks this day and threw two back.
I hooked six hammerhead sharks this day and threw two back. | Source

The hammerhead sharks pictured above were caught from the end of the Cocoa Beach Fishing pier. You heard that right; the popular beach spot for Easter and spring break where thousands of people come to party, surf the waves, soak up the sun, and fish.

There are always a lot of sharks here, mostly hammerheads, and there have been very few accidents with sharks at this beach and that also is amazing. I once saw an aerial photo of the beach and this pier in a local newspaper, showing two hundred sharks swimming amongst the surfers on their boards and swimmers of this beach. I wished I saved that picture but I couldn't find it. It was an amazing sight and the swimmers were none the wiser.

These hammerheads were also caught using cut bait of mullet. The pier sits about twenty-five feet up off the water, so my fisher friend rigged an old bicycle wheel with a net to haul them in. That net worked just fine to get underneath the hammerheads and lift them up to the pier deck.

Salt water fishing is the best because you never know what you will hook next. Good luck to all you fisher people. The thrill in your journey awaits you.

Cocoa Beach Fishing Pier
Cocoa Beach Fishing Pier | Source
A popular beach for spring break.
A popular beach for spring break. | Source

Salt Water Shark Fishing

Black Tip Shark Babies Born on Boat


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    • suzzycue profile imageAUTHOR

      Susan Britton 

      7 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      Thank you Faith Reaper . Your reaction just made my day. I love Cocoa Beach and all of Brevard County Florida to fish in. I am an out doors kind of gal. Have a great day, Faith and thanks again for the votes and sharing.

    • Faith Reaper profile image

      Faith Reaper 

      7 years ago from southern USA

      Sharks!!! Wow, thanks for taking us along on your exciting adventure. I've been to Cocoa Beach and love it, when my husband was in the Air Force back in the day. Great photos and really great hub here!

      Voted up ++++ and sharing

      Nice tan too.

      God bless. In His Love, Faith Reaper

    • suzzycue profile imageAUTHOR

      Susan Britton 

      7 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      @ vespawoolf. I have been there right beside you until I learned what Gravol was. If you keep your stomach full while on a boat it helps a lot. Thank you for commenting. I appreciate your input.

    • vespawoolf profile image

      Vespa Woolf 

      7 years ago from Peru, South America

      The only experience I have with salt water fishing is an off-shore fishing trip where I instantly got sea sick and spent the rest of the trip throwing up over the edge of the boat! I can see you're very passionate about shark fishing and I'm sure it's exciting. Thanks for sharing your pictures with us. : )

    • suzzycue profile imageAUTHOR

      Susan Britton 

      7 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      Thank you Billy buc. I am thrilled you shared the adventure with me.

      @ James A Watkins your sister and husband are very lucky to live their dream in their favorite fishing spot. I had a lot of great fishing days in Sebastian on a boat and on the rocks fishing. It makes me happy that I could bring such great music memories to light. Thank you James for stopping in to comment.

    • James A Watkins profile image

      James A Watkins 

      7 years ago from Chicago

      I enjoyed your excellent Hub. Not much of a fisherman myself but I am quite familiar with your neck of the woods. I used to play a lot of music in the 1980s in Melbourne and Cocoa Beach.

      My sister and her husband live in Sebastian. The very reason they moved there was that it was their favorite fishing spot. They are what you would call avid fishermen. :-)


    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 

      7 years ago from Olympia, WA

      That would be a kick in the butt. I am now officially jealous. Thanks for the adventure; really interesting.

    • suzzycue profile imageAUTHOR

      Susan Britton 

      7 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      Thank you Lipnancy. I really love to fish. I appreciate you coming by. Have a nice day.

    • Lipnancy profile image

      Nancy Yager 

      7 years ago from Hamburg, New York

      What a cool adventure. But I will leave the shark fishing to you!

    • suzzycue profile imageAUTHOR

      Susan Britton 

      7 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      Thank you rfmoran. I guess it is the thrill of hooking them that excites me.

    • rfmoran profile image

      Russ Moran - The Write Stuff 

      7 years ago from Long Island, New York

      There is something scary about shark fishing from a pier. Good hub, voted up and interesting.

    • suzzycue profile imageAUTHOR

      Susan Britton 

      7 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      Thank you movingout. It is so much fun to write these memories also.

    • movingout profile image


      7 years ago from Georgia

      Excellent hub! Enjoyed and brought back memories! Voted up!


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