Shark (Leopard) (Triakis semifasciata)

Shark (Leopard)

  • Size 10-20 lbs
  • Food Value Good
  • Game Qualities Good
  • Habitats Flats, Inshore, Nearshore, Reef

It’s easy to get the wrong impression of Leopard Sharks, considering that they’re named after two of the world’s most daunting predators. The truth is, these bottom feeders are among the most mild mannered of Sharks, but they still put up a mean fight when hooked and can easily be the highlight of your fishing trip. These stunning creatures are the light tackle angler’s dream!

How Big

Leopard Sharks typically weigh 10-20 lbs, with the occasional 40-pounder making an appearance. The IGFA world record for this species stands at 44 lbs 7 oz. A Leopard weighing 51 lbs and 3 oz was caught in San Diego, CA in 2013 but was not certified by the IGFA.

Group of anglers catching Leopard Shark

Where and When

You’ll find this cute and cuddly Shark in Pacific waters from Oregon to Baja Mexico. They are most prevalent off the coast of California, while anglers rarely catch them in Mexico. Leopard Sharks are abundant year-round, which makes them a staple of CA fishing charters. They tend to hang out on rocky or soft flats close to shore, but are also found offshore. Tomales Bay and San Francisco Bay are especially well known for this species.

How to Catch Leopard Sharks

This Shark makes for some superb light tackle action, usually on spinning gear. Baitcasting and Salmon gear also work well. The key to enticing a bite from one of these kitties is live or dead bait, but never lures! Small baitfish like herring or crab, squid, and shrimp all prove irresistible to this Shark. It’s common to anchor and drift fish for Leopards, who often school with Smoothhound Sharks or move in packs behind Rays.

Good to Eat?

Absolutely. This Shark makes excellent table fare and there’s no shortage of recipes for Leopard Shark soup, steak, tacos, and more. This Shark urinates through its skin, so be sure to soak the meat in milk overnight before cooking it to draw out germs and unpleasant flavor.

Regulations

Season: always open (restrictions may apply to some zones as outlined in state regulations).

Size limit: California size limit is 36” minimum; Oregon size limits not specified.

Bag limit: the daily bag limit for Leopard Sharks caught in California is 3 fish. In Oregon, Leopard Sharks are classified as a type of ‘groundfish’ and you cannot keep more than 7 groundfish per day.

All in all, Leopard Sharks provide some great sportfishing action. Their small size and relatively docile temperament make them the perfect introduction for novice anglers and children who are just discovering their love of the sport!

Fish Species Similar to Shark (Leopard)

Shark (Bonnethead)

Shark (Gummy)

Shark (Nurse)


Top Shark (Leopard) Fishing Charters

Top Shark (Leopard) Fishing Destinations