OLFC Insights

Shark Fishing

SharkMassachusetts Bay is home to several highly sought after pelagic sharks. Blue, Mako, Porbeagle and Thresher sharks frequent these rich fishing grounds. Clients can count on seeing decent numbers of blue sharks on a daily basis. Early in the season porbeagles are often encountered, particularly while bottomfishing. Once the water warms up the blues and makos start to move onto the offshore banks. Blue sharks range from 4’ to 10’ with weights from 30 lbs to 400lbs. Mako sharks are from 5’ to 11’ with weights from 100lbs to 1000lbs. The biggest mako we have been able to land was a 900lb monster caught just east of Gloucester. Threshers are from 5’ to 10’ and from 100 lbs to 600 lbs. Porbeagles are from 4’ to 9’ weighing between 100 and 500 lbs. While the fishery is not as good as it was in the 80’s we are still able to find decent numbers of sharks on most days. Since 1988 we have tagged hundreds of sharks in the Massachusetts Bay waters.

Fishing Methods

SharkWhen shark fishing we usually drift and create a lengthy chum slick to lure the fish to our boat. We often put a single bait deep on the thermocline and no other baits in the water. Blind fishing with balloons is effective but forces one to use heavy gear on all sharks as opposed to matching the fish to the gear we carry. Luring the sharks boatside allows us to assess the fish and select the optimal gear to match the size of the fish giving our clients the best fight possible. We often use fly rods and spinning gear on the fish under 7 feet. Larger fish can be fought on standup tackle using Penn 30 lb and 50lb reels and rods. At the end of the day we often troll for 30 minutes at the end of the day looking for fish that might be hanging back in the slick. Trolling for sharks is common on the west coast but is still relatively unknown here in New England. We have been trolling for sharks since 1995 and have had some excellent success with this methodology.


Pelagic sharks usually appear towards the middle or end of July. With the exception being porbeagles which are most commonly seen in April and May. Peak season for shark fishing is mid to late August and these fish are here well into the fall months. Porbeagles migrate through our waters again in late October.