Another great and exhilarating aspect of summer fishing in Galveston is catching sharks!!! Big, hard fighting fish that can often grow to be over 6 feet in length can be caught in the nearshore waters or all along the Gulf of Mexico. Galveston is home to over 15 different species of shark, so it’s very important to understand how to identify them if you plan to keep one to eat. Here’s a great resource for identifying sharks: NOAA Shark Identification Guide. The most distinguishing feature to look for is a ridge between the first and second dorsal fins (or top of the shark). It’s basically a fine line that runs between the fins of the shark and is fairly easy to spot… if you know what to look for it.
These fish can be caught with live bait or dead bait, fishing on the bottom or drifting, with a wire leader (because they have teeth). Typically circle hooks are most effective to avoid them swallowing the hook. Great places to catch them are at the end of the Galveston Jetties protecting the ship channel, around nearshore oil and gas platforms, or behind shrimp boats offshore.
Many shark species are protected from harvesting because they grow slowly, mature later in their life, and don’t reproduce at a high rate. But other species, have very robust populations and are perfectly fine to harvest - within the Texas Parks and Wildlife regulations and bag limits, of course.
The most important rule of thumb for shark fishing, especially if you plan to keep one…. “If you don’t know, let it go!”