How to Catch Sharks and Bat Rays

Introduction

I have to mention that the technique described here will be used at piers and in the surf, not from boats.
Most of the species caught from the pier are bay sharks such as leopards, soupfins, seven gills and guitar fish. Occasionally, you will catch a thresher shark. Thresher sharks are pelagic fish. Bay sharks and bat rays are bottom feeders. They eat small fish, a variety of invertebrates and crusteceans. They are rather timid sharks, and are not harmful. They are slow swimmers.
Threshers, on the other hand, swim faster chasing after small fish such as mackerel. Thresher sharks have relatively small teeth, but they use their long tails to stun their pray. If you catch a thresher shark, it will often jump into the air

Best Seasons to Fish for Sharks and Bat Rays

Start fishing from early March untill late September. In early March, leopard sharks and bat rays will come near shore to spawn. During early May though the summer thresher sharks will come chasing after mackerel and other small fish.
Remember, you don't want to miss them when they come close to the pier and the surf. Be patient until some actions happen.

Gear and Tackle

Use a 7 foot medium to heavy action rod with 30-50 pound test line. Penn #500 Jigmaster or Newell reels are good choice. Convetional reels are easy to retrieve when you catch bigger fish.
Tie up a commercially available fishing snap to the end of your line. This snap is needed to attach the sinker. Use a 6-7 ounce piramid sinker to cast farther.
Get a roll of 60 to 100 pound wire leader and matched sleeves to make 4-5 feet leaders. Attach a 5/0 to 6/0 live bait hook to one end of leader with the sleeve, and barrel snap swivel to the other end.
I recommed that you use Owner or Gamagatsu hooks, because they are ultra sharp. Owner hooks last exceptionally long time.
Try to get a premium monofllament line. Once the chance arrives, you don't want to miss it because of poor quality line.
You also need a utility backet, a long roap made of nyron, and a bubbles aerator to keep your bait alive. A Bait Motel is a another choice.

Bait and Technique

You have to start catching live bait. Mackerel is the best bet. Mackerel has heavily oiled skin and a strong fishy odour. Mackerel is a member of tuna family, it is a strong and powerful swimmer. For live bait, it lasts for a couple of hours.
If you can't catch live mackerel, I recommend to using dead bait such as a whole squid or cut mackerel.
When you are lucky enough to catch live mackerel, first cast your sinker. Then insert the hook directly under the dorsal fin. Do not hook too deep, because you kill the fish. Next, Open your snap swivel and attach it to the main line and slide it down. The mackerel will swim freely back and forth.
Finally, put the reel into free spool and turn the clicker buttom on. Now you can wait for the fish to strike. You will know when the fish has picked up your mackerel, because having the clicker buttom turned on will cause your reel to make a distinctive sound. Then hold up your rod and turn off the clicker. Put your thumb on the line and wait allowing the fish to swallow your bait. Before you set the hook, you have to take your reel out of free spool. The time of setting the hook is critical to landing your trophy fish. If you set the hook too soon, you will jerk the bait right out the fish's mouth.
Do not jerk repeatedly after the initial hook-up. Just keep tension on the line and fight the fish. The drag should be set at a level that allows the fish to pull out the line. If the drag is too tense, your line will break.
Retrive the line at a slow and steady pace untill your fish loses the battle. After you drag the fish close enough to the pier, use a gaff attached to a loap to gaff the fish. Then pull it out of the water.

Check out the great sites below

Pelagic Shark Research Foundation
What Do You Want To Know About Your Favorite Shark
Regulatory Fish Encyclopedia
Johnny's Southern California Fishing Resources
Pier Fishing in California
Fishing Buddies-Excellent site for inner city kids
Saltwater Fishing Home Page
Ol' Paws Fishin' Page - 600+ links, Fishing Bulletin Board & Guest Book
Shark-Fishing Home Page Amaging shark fishing site in Australia

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