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Shark Fishing in Florida's Indian River

Susan writes about saltwater fishing in Florida and enjoying the Florida coast.

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

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 blacktip sharks in Brevard County, Florida, without any special equipment. You can hook saltwater 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 summer weekends there are tents and all varieties of boats anchored around these free island paradises to catch the sun, swim, or try their luck at saltwater fishing.

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

But what I hooked was a blacktip shark! What was I going to do with that? What a fight! He broke water twice and I was 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. 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 that 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 (fun fact: sharks urinate through their skin). 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.

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

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

The hammerhead sharks pictured above were caught from the end of the Cocoa Beach 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. 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.

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Read More From Skyaboveus

Saltwater 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

A popular beach for spring break.

A popular beach for spring break.

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


Susan Britton (author) from Ontario, Canada on February 10, 2013:

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 from southern USA on February 09, 2013:

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

Susan Britton (author) from Ontario, Canada on February 03, 2013:

@ 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.

Vespa Woolf from Peru, South America on February 03, 2013:

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. : )

Susan Britton (author) from Ontario, Canada on February 01, 2013:

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 from Chicago on February 01, 2013:

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. :-)


Bill Holland from Olympia, WA on January 31, 2013:

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

Susan Britton (author) from Ontario, Canada on January 29, 2013:

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

Nancy Yager from Hamburg, New York on January 29, 2013:

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

Susan Britton (author) from Ontario, Canada on January 28, 2013:

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

Russ Moran - The Write Stuff from Long Island, New York on January 28, 2013:

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

Susan Britton (author) from Ontario, Canada on January 27, 2013:

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

movingout from Georgia on January 27, 2013:

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

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