Also Called: Bonnet Shark, Bonnetnose Shark, Shovelhead
The smallest member of the Hammerhead family, though it doesn’t look like one, the Bonnethead shark is a popular catch and great entrypoint into shark fishing for moderately-skilled anglers. Bonnethead sharks can be found throughout inshore waters during the summer months.
Bonnethead sharks are abundant inshore from April through September. It’s during these warmer months that they migrate north from the equator in search of crab, Shrimp and other local prey thriving in the island’s waterways.
Bonnethead sharks are good eating but usually catch-and-release game. South Carolina allows you to keep one Bonnethead shark per person per day. We generally don’t recommend this. Most anglers don’t know how to properly process the meat before it spoils.
Because of their small size, Bonnethead sharks can be found in the shallowest of inshore waters, wherever small fish and crustaceans congregate.
Shallow coastal bays
Bait: Live saltwater bait is best for attracting Bonnetheads, including crab meat, Shrimp, and small fish such as anchovies, minnows, scad, etc.
Approach: Fishing for Bonnethead sharks is similar to chasing smaller game. You can simply drop a baited hook in the water or, if you prefer the challenge, catch them on a fly lure.
Tackle: A basic, but fairly tough rod and reel, a minimum 20-pound test line and a circle hook is all you need to for Bonnethead shark fishing.
If desired, you can keep up to one Bonnethead shark per person per day, with no size limit.