Shark (Bull) Fishing (Carcharhinus leucas)

All Tackle Record
697lbs, 12oz

Shark (Bull) Fishing (Carcharhinus leucas)

Bull sharks are large and ferocious predators, infamous for their aggressive and unpredictable nature. They are, among the Great White, considered to be behind the Jersey Shore attacks of 1916 and are among the top 3 species in human attack statistics.

This shark is one of only two known species able to thrive in fresh waters and has been spotted up Mississippi as far north as Illinois. In saltwater they are mostly present in the surf and down to about 100ft deep. Pair this with the most intense bite force measured in any cartilaginous fish (almost 6000N) and you have, quite literally, a killer combination.

How big

The species can grow well over 700lbs, with common individuals caught between 6 and 8ft and 100 to 300lbs.

When & Where

Bull sharks can be found in coastal waters of warm oceans worldwide, but also in landlocked lakes, rivers and deep streams. In the USA, they range from Massachusetts to Brazil, including the Gulf of Mexico and the Caribbean Sea. They can be found from the Gulf of California to Peru in the eastern Pacific, between Vietnam and Australia, off both coasts of Africa and have been known to enter the Ganges River in India. They are particularly popular game in the Gold Coast region in Queensland.

Other freshwaters they're known to frequent include the Amazon, Barhamputra, Potomac, Mississippi and Brisbane Rivers and Nicaragua and Ponchartrain Lakes.

They spawn in rivers during late summer and early fall, where the offspring stays for a while to mature, free from predators. After that, they head into the ocean to reproduce.

Dangerous sharks should always be handled cautiously. Caught with Miss Madison in Orange Beach, AL

How to catch

Natural bait still or drift fishing is the most productive on this species, and options include whole fish like mullet, bream herrings or cut fish like bonito, mackerel, mullet or Barracuda. Cut fish can be dipped into Tuna oil to enhance the scent.

Like other sharks, Bulls will react well to chum - the bloodier, the better. Once drawn to the surface, they will also readily strike topwater lures such as plugs or even flies.

Good to eat?

They are fair table fare if bled and iced immediately upon capture and consumed fresh.



  • Season - Closed May 15 - July 15 in Virginia, Delaware; elsewhere always open;
  • Size limit - 54'' FL minimum, except Texas, where it's 64 TL;
  • Bag limit - 1 per vessel per day (2 in Florida);

         Mexico allows keeping 1 shark, which counts as half of the normal daily limit of 10 fish;

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