Shark (Bonnethead) Fishing (Sphyrna tiburo)

All Tackle Record

Shark (Bonnethead) Fishing (Sphyrna tiburo)

The Bonnethead is the smallest of the 10 Hammerhead species and is an excellent and abundant light tackle inshore shark.

This is the only Hammerhead shark that doesn't have a laterally extended, but more of a rounded, spade-like head. They move in schools that are known to count up to thousands of individuals (but are most common between 5 and 15) and are timid fish, harmless to humans.

How big

Bonnethead sharks average between 2 and 3ft, with 5ft being about the maximum they can grow.


The species is common in the tropical zone of the western Atlantic Ocean, preferring temperatures above 70°F. They range from New England to Brazil, including the Gulf of Mexico, the Bahamas and the Caribbean Sea. They can also be found in the eastern Pacific Ocean from Southern California to Ecuador.

During summer, they will be present in coastal and estuarine waters as up to South and North Carolina, while throughout most of the year they can be caught across Florida and the Gulf. During winter, they migrate closer to the equator.

How to catch

This shark isn't as carnivorous as most of its other, larger relatives. As they feed close to the surface, chumming is often not necessary and any live or dead small, or larger cut fish bait is used. Additionally, Bonnetheads will hit flies and are an excellent target for enthusiasts.

Good to eat?

Fair table fare if bled, gutted, soaked in saltwater and iced immediately after capture and consumed that day.

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