Shark Fishing in Florida's Indian River
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
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.
Salt Water Shark Fishing
Black Tip Shark Babies Born on Boat
Hooks for Salt Water Fishing
- Salt Water Fishing Hooks
Using the proper salt water fishing hook for what you are fishing for will give you more hits with better results. Also a video showing the correct way to bait your hook.
Knives for Salt Water Fishing
- Fish Knives: How to Clean Salt Water Fish
What makes a good knife for skinning and filleting salt water fish.