Five Strategic Steps To Catch A Shark From The Beach

By David Goleby

Fishing is something that many people consider a process of luck and chance. For example, the average gentleman who approaches the local waterway on a Sunday afternoon has a chance of catching a specimen. But does his lonely prawn – sitting in front of an oversized sinker, slowly drifting downstream – set a scene for a positive or negative chance of a capture?

I firmly believe that fishing should be approached with a goal and the necessary knowledge and skills in order to maximise success. The fisherman who envisions an eighty-two centimetre flathead (goal) and visits a sandy bank on sunset accompanied by a run-out tide and the correct outfit, is significantly increasing the chances of achieving his goal.

Land Based Shark Fishing (LBSF) can only be successful when skill is relied on, much like the gentleman targeting an oversized flathead. Certainly, someone who views capturing a big shark as chance or luck will never be successful. Catching a large specimen from the beach requires consideration of the strategic key points that follow.


1. Choosing the right bait is a large part of this operation and after many years of testing different specimens the local eel and ray populations have produced outstanding results. These baits last in the water for over twenty-four hours and are gorged on by big hungry sharks.

2. Tide times and moon phases are a primary consideration for LBSF and fishing time must be optimised around certain strategic points. For most sharks, fishing a run-out tide on a new moon will almost guarantee results. Some of our local crew have predicted strikes within thirty seconds of a low tide change.

3. Rigs must be made with large ‘J’-style hooks (14O – 16O) and crimped onto insulated wire, as micro voltages generated from bare cable and salt water consistently deter potential customers. Taped coat hanger wire can quickly be converted to a three-prong anchor that should be bound to the cable to secure the bait to the seabed, minimising drift. Furthermore, cable or electrical ties are the ultimate devices for securing a large eel or ray to a rig for optimal bait presentation.

4. The right equipment is essential even though it may be a large investment. Penn international 50 or 80 size reels or similar Shimano Tiagra set-ups work brilliantly. Spooling these units with 80 to 100 pound lines and mounting them on 24 or 37kg rods will usually convince most large sharks to turn their head toward the beach. Black Magic belts and Braid harness set-ups are also critical when a strike is converted to a battle.

5. Using an inflatable craft powered by a small outboard should be enough for bait deployment. Environments such as Moreton Island in Queensland, Australia offer a sharp drop off which means bait can be confidentially dispatched into deep water. Deploying baits just over drop-offs or in three to ten metres of water often produce good results. Remember that deploying baits near the horizon only reduces the amount of line you have to control a specimen.

So are you still pondering whether catching a specimen is simply chance? Well, once you consider the intimacy of this procedure, and understand that serious knowledge and skill is involved, you’re ready to start. Don’t be discouraged if your initial attempts are not successful – simply try different locations until you get a strike. Following the above recipe will improve your strike rate incredibly and in a short time you will be predicting your next encounters.

May the hub of your reel be seen regularly!

About the Author: David Goleby is the founder and partner of

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1 March

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