Shark (Lemon) Fishing (Negaprion brevirostris)

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Shark (Lemon) Fishing (Negaprion brevirostris)

Lemon sharks are powerful, but timid shallow water coastal sharks, with few human attacks on record. They get their name after their relatively bright coloration, which helps them blend in with the seafloor.

This species can be found over reefs, around mangroves, inside bays and estuaries, but individuals have been spotted swimming up rivers and in oceanic waters about 300ft deep. They prefer rocky/sandy bottoms and are common inshore sharks.

How big

Lemon sharks are stocky and massive, attaining weights over 400lbs. A 385lbs one caught around the Marquesas Keys is the heaviest fish ever landed on a fly tippet.

When & Where

Lemon sharks can be found in the western Atlantic Ocean from New Jersey to Brazil, including the Gulf of Mexico and the Caribbean Sea. They are also present in the eastern Pacific Ocean from Baja California Sur to Ecuador and in the eastern Atlantic off west Africa.

They're most abundant off Florida and the Gulf coast January through March, migrating northwards to Georgia and South Carolina and southwards to the Keys during summer.

How to catch

As with most sharks, chumming will be effective in drawing them closer to the surface. When spotted, sight casting natural bait, such as mackerel or Bonito, will work well, but Lemon sharks are known to eagerly strike artificials too, especially flies. 

Lemon sharks have poor eyesight and feed at night as well, using their electroreceptors to gain an edge over resting prey.

Good to eat?

Edible, but rarely consumed.



  • Season - closed May 15 to July 15 in Virginia, Delaware; elsewhere always open; Florida does not allow fishing for Lemon Sharks;
  • Size limit - 54'' FL minimum, except for Texas, where it's 64'' TL minimum;
  • Bag limit - 1 per boat per day;
         Mexico allows keeping 1 shark, which counts as half of the normal daily limit of 10 fish;
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