*This report was originally published on July 31st, 2018. I've decided to re-publish this post, because sharks are now starting to be caught from shore throughout the Cape & Islands.
For years now I have heard about people catching sharks from the beaches of Cape Cod. In fact, Ryan Franklin and other members from My Fishing Cape Cod have been catching brown sharks from the surf for the past several years.
Nevertheless, shark fishing from the beach on Cape Cod was something I had never really tried. So when MFCC member John Malloy asked if I wanted to try shark fishing from shore, I jumped at the opportunity.
Last week I met John and his friend Tim at 8:00pm, just as the sun was starting to sink below the horizon. Our plan was to fish a secluded spot on the beach for the 12AM high tide, and hopefully hook into some hard pulling brown sharks.
It only took a moment for me to comprehend how serious John and Tim were about catching sharks from shore. They even had a cart that was perfectly organized with sinkers, rods and reels, hooks and other shark fishing essentials.
I asked John for details about the correct gear and tackle for catching sharks from the beach on Cape Cod, and he was very forthcoming with information.
Tackle For Shark Fishing From Shore on Cape Cod
For shark fishing from shore, John recommends using the spinning reels pictured below. If you are a member of My Fishing Cape Cod, please login to the website with your username and password to access the exact models.
If you would like to access this information but are not yet a member of My Fishing Cape Cod, then you can sign up and learn more about what membership includes by clicking here.
Pictured above is the leader connection recommended for catching sharks from the beach. Once again please login to the site or start a membership to access all the details about terminal tackle and rigging.
The type of hook you choose for shark fishing is probably the most important step in the entire process. Please login to MFCC to view a non-blurry photo of the recommended hook, and to access every other detail about terminal tackle, recommended reels and rigging for sharks from the beach.
Getting To The Spot
By 8:30pm the guys were all loaded up and ready to go. The plan was to use John's small skiff to transport us, plus all the gear, equipment and bait to a secluded spot on the beach. We would then unload everything and fish from shore.
The wind was blowing pretty strong from the southwest, but we enjoyed a gorgeous boat ride under the light of a very bright nearly full moon.
Eventually we arrived at the spot and began unloading all the gear from John's skiff. One of the first things we setup were the beach chairs, where we would spend the majority of the night watching the rods and waiting for a bite. It was a pretty picturesque Cape Cod evening!
The Best Spots For Sharks
The area John had chosen to fish is one that has produced very well for him over the past several years. Who knows the exact reasons why certain beaches on Cape Cod fish so well for sharks, but there are several theories for what makes a beach productive.
In general, the area marked below on the map is where you will encounter sharks coming in close to the beach at night. Other areas on Cape Cod really do not produce well, so you definitely want to focus your time and energy along the coastline marked below in the map.
To further narrow down the best places to fish for sharks, target sections of coastline that are nearby the area marked below.
This is exactly where John had set our baits during this trip.
We were fishing along the yellow marking in the map above.
The Best Baits For Sharks
At 9PM we had all our baits ready to be set. John waded a bit into the water and lobbed the first bait out into the waves. It landed about 25 yards from shore and settled onto the bottom.
John then walked the rod back to one of three sand spikes which he had driven into the beach. Before setting the rod in the spike, he attached a glow stick to the trip of the rod using a couple of small elastics.
The glow stick would help us to see any quick jerks of the rod, caused by sharks or other fish, as the rod sat in the sand spike.
We rigged up the rods using two highly effective types of bait - freshly dead eels, and the "secret" bait shown below in the photo.
Before using this particular type of bait, make sure to prepare the bait as shown below in the photo.
Sure enough, about an hour into fish we had our first bite of the night, on one of the "secret" baits!
Shark On The Line!
The shark hit the westernmost bait just as John and I were walking over to check on the rod. It was perfect timing! I had my GoPro cameras rolling and was able to capture the initial bite on camera (I will publish a full video report of this entire trip here on MFCC later this week).
Tim quickly reeled in our other two lines to help avoid any potential tangles. Oftentimes when hooked these sharks will strip dozens of yards of line from the reel, so it's important to clear any other lines you have in the water as soon as possible.
Instead of reeling up tight and immediately setting the hook, John allowed the shark to eat and then run with the bait for several seconds before getting tight. This helped to ensure that we would get a solid hook set on the fish.
After a nice 10 minute battle we had the shark right in the surf, and in the moonlight I caught a glimpse of the shark's dorsal fin. Tim entered the water and began to pull the shark onto shore, avoiding its jaws and teeth the best he could.
With a couple more cranks of the reel and with the aid of a breaking wave, John and Tim pulled the shark up onto the beach while, I zoomed in with my GoPro cameras to capture the action.
It was a nice brown shark! No world record but a solid brown that was literally all muscle.
John used a combination of pliers and a long shank hook removal device to safely dislodge the hook from the corner of the shark's jaw. There was virtually no damage at all done to the shark, and we made an effort to keep the animal in the water.
Quickly after unhooking the shark we pulled her back into the sea and watched as she turned herself and slowly began thumping her way back out into the inky dark water. With one last broad kick of her tail she disappeared - it was a successful release!
I can't thank John and Tim enough for showing me the ropes when it comes to catching sharks from shore at night on Cape Cod!
Targeting sharks from shore does not require a ton of fancy gear and expensive equipment. If you follow the advice in this article (and put in the necessary time) then I believe you will definitely have a high chance of success.
Good luck if you give land based shark fishing on Cape Cod a try, and let me know how it goes if you do. As always, tight lines and take care!
PS - you can check out the video from this trip by clicking this link.