Shark Angling

Shark angling has gained increasing popularity over recent years. In places like South Africa, shark meat is not particularly popular amongst diners and shark products are not in great demand.

Therefore, the success in shark angling is focussed on the abilities of the angler and the size of the catch, and it is strongly encouraged that all sharks are released once caught. If possible, anglers are requested to tag their catch before releasing it.

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A teenage boy shark fishing. Practicing catch &release.Saint Simons Island, Georgia

Anglers are advised to use a single, middle steel hook and to flatten the barb. This can be done fairly easily by using a pair of pliers. As soon as the shark bites, the angler should strike. Do not allow the shark to swallow the bait. In addition, do not struggle for a long period of time, as sharks exhaust easily. Fighting against your efforts increases the amount of lactic acid and carbon dioxide in the blood and muscles of the animal. Such exhaustion weakens the animal and compromises its survival chances significantly.

Some fishermen use a gaff when catching such sizeable animals. However, these hooks can do major harm to the shark. Using a gaff on the belly causes severe liver damage as well as harm to the stomach, the head can experience brain damage and the tail has major arteries running through it, so the use of such a hook can ultimately lead to the shark's bleeding to death. If absolutely necessary, a shark would best be gaffed through the base of the dorsal fin or in the flesh just around this fin.

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Anglers are advised to use a single, middle steel hook and to flatten the barb. This can be done fairly easily by using a pair of pliers. As soon as the shark bites, the angler should strike. Do not allow the shark to swallow the bait. In addition, do not struggle for a long period of time, as sharks exhaust easily. Fighting against your efforts increases the amount of lactic acid and carbon dioxide in the blood and muscles of the animal. Such exhaustion weakens the animal and compromises its survival chances significantly.

Some fishermen use a gaff when catching such sizeable animals. However, these hooks can do major harm to the shark. Using a gaff on the belly causes severe liver damage as well as harm to the stomach, the head can experience brain damage and the tail has major arteries running through it, so the use of such a hook can ultimately lead to the shark's bleeding to death. If absolutely necessary, a shark would best be gaffed through the base of the dorsal fin or in the flesh just around this fin.

Never hold or drag the shark by its tail and do not drag it over rocks or sand. To carry a shark, one person will need to hold it on each side, just at the base of the pectoral fin, with their other hand holding the tail level. Hammerheads should never be picked up or carried by their heads as this can cause severe damage to the eyes.

Once the shark is on the boat or beach, it is imperative that tagging be done quickly and efficiently. Remove the hook immediately. If the shark has already swallowed it, cut the trace and do not tag this

animal. Try to avoid weighing the animal altogether as this is very stressful. If necessary, however, weigh it in a supported hammock made from netting that does not cut into its flesh or damage its eyes.

Only measure and tag an animal that appears strong and healthy, not one that is bleeding excessively or appears to be weak.

Get the shark back into the water as quickly as possible. Carry it into clean water that is as deep as you can manage. Hold it and allow the water to run over its gills. This will give it time to recover, while being supported. Only release an animal that appears to be strong. Otherwise, the numbers reported back to researchers regarding living shark species in certain areas are unlikely to be very accurate.

For more information, please view: saveourseas.com

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