Fighting thresher sharks can be very challenging. You have to endure pandemonium when hooking these sharks. If you catch one, you will know what I mean. It can drag you in any direction it wants with its tremendous speed and power, it jumps, or dives deep in the water, it never gets tired fighting with you, and even if you think you are winning, it goes around the pillings of the pier and cuts your line. Its long tail is another challege. If the tail tangles with your line, the game is over, you are finished. Even right after hooked the fish, if your leader is somehow twisted, that might cause cutting of your line. Another problem is when you are fighting, your line might become tangled with another anglers' lines.
So chances are fifty-fifty. You might win or lose. But who cares even if you lose. Thresher sharks are one of the finest game fish to fight with.
For tackle, I recommend using at least a 7 foot long wire leader.
I use 5/0 live bait hook attached at the end of a leeder. For bait probably, a live mackerel is the best bet. A whole frozen squid might work too. You need patience to wait until something happens. As soon as you noticed your rod moving, grab it and release your clicker and wait until the fish start running, then that's the time you hook the fish.
Thresher sharks migrate together, so when someone hooks one, you have a chance to catch it too.
On the 23rd of May, 1998, we hooked 9-10 thresher sharks at Santa Monica Pier. It was almost new moon, high tide was around 8:30 a.m. Waves were calm and it was a kind of condition that we call thresher water. The first action occurred early in the moring around 5:30 a.m and it continued until 9:00 a.m. On the first action, we saw a theresher splashing water with its tail. It took my fishing friend, Nica's bait, but it wasn't quite hooked. After that we got all excited. Fortunately, we caught plenty of live mackerel for bait, and slided them down with our wire leeders.
Oscar was second to hooked a thresher. It dragged him back and forth across the pier several times, and finally he had to go down to a lower level of the pier to fight the fish. The fish went around the pillings and he lost the fish.
My action was third or fourth. As soon as I saw my rod was moving, I grabbed it and waited until the fish start running. After a couple of seconds, it bursted into full speed and my right thumb on my line got burned badly. Then, immediately I hooked the fish.
After a couple of minutes, I found my line was tangled with at least 2-3 lines. I had to loosen the drag in order not to lose the fish. The fish willingly came close to the pier and splashed one time and start running again. Fortunately, it ran straight though. Nica helped me untangle my line. After that, the real fight began. After 3-4 times of yo-yo games, I finally pulled the fish into a close range where my friends were able to gaff the fish. It was an 8 and half foot, and probably 80-100 lb shark.
I thanked my fishing buddies and told them let's hook more.
Threshers continued to grab our live mackerel. But, somehow, we lost every one of them except mine.
Threshers won 9-1. But, we were all happy fighting with amazing fish.