Today’s Tampa Fishing Report: Sandbar Shark!
Tampa Fishing Report, Wednesday, January 24, 2017, Florida Fishing Report – Tampa Fishing: Sandbar Sharks In Passes, Catch & Release; latest Florida Algal Bloom & Water Quality / Lake Okeechobee Update and here for Red Tide Report.
Most of the time we fish Tampa’s flats, passes, oyster bars, inlets, and islands. Sometimes we’ll go offshore of Tampa a couple of miles or so if we’re fishing for goliath grouper, or tarpon or sharks.
We’re big advocates of catch and release, particularly for snook, but pretty much for most species. Only take what you are going to eat, and a lot of fish are better off as sportfish, even if they are in season. Our motto is let ‘em get bigger and catch ‘em again!
Tampa fishing is some of the best in the world! A fishing trip is a great family adventure and your children will love it!
The Tampa – St. Petersburg – Clearwater area has some of the nicest beaches in Florida, including Ford Desoto’s North Beach, Caladesi Island and Siesta Key!
“The sandbar shark (Carcharhinus plumbeus) is a species of requiem shark, and part of the family Carcharhinidae, native to the Atlantic Ocean and the Indo-Pacific. It is distinguishable by its very high first dorsal fin and inter-dorsal ridge. It is not to be confused with its similarly named shark cousin, the sand tiger shark, Carcharius taurus.”
The sandbar shark is also called the thick skin shark or brown shark. It is one of the biggest coastal sharks in the world and is closely related to the dusky shark, the bignose shark, and the bull shark. Its dorsal fin is triangular and very high and it has very long pectoral fins. Sandbar sharks usually have heavy-set bodies and rounded snouts that are shorter than the average shark’s snout.
Their upper teeth have broadly uneven cusps with sharp edges. Its second dorsal fin and anal fin are close to the same height. Females reach sexual maturity around the age of 13 with an average fork-length (tip of the nose to fork in the tail) of 154.9 cm, while males tend to reach maturity around age 12 with an average fork-length of 151.6 cm. Females can grow to 2–2.5 m (6.6–8.2 ft), males up to 1.8 m (5.9 ft). Its body color can vary from a bluish to a brownish grey to a bronze, with a white or pale underside. Sandbar sharks swim alone or gather in sex-segregated schools that vary in size.
The sandbar shark, true to its nickname, is commonly found over muddy or sandy bottoms in shallow coastal waters such as bays, estuaries, harbors, or the mouths of rivers, but it also swims in deeper waters (200 m or more) as well as intertidal zones. Sandbar sharks are found in tropical to temperate waters worldwide; in the western Atlantic they range from Massachusetts to Brazil.
Juveniles are common to abundant in the lower Chesapeake Bay, and nursery grounds are found from Delaware Bayto South Carolina. Other nursery grounds include Boncuk Bay in Marmaris, Muğla/Turkey and the Florida Keys.
Sandbar sharks are viviparous. The embryos are supported in placental yolk sac inside the mother. Females have been found to exhibit both biennial and triennial reproductive cycles, ovulate in early summer, and give birth to an average of 8 pups, which they carry for 1 year before giving birth. The longevity of the sandbar shark is typically 35–41 years.
Sandbar sharks have been disproportionately targeted by the U.S. commercial shark fisheries in recent decades due to their high fin-to-body weight ratio, and U.S. fishing regulation requiring carcasses to be landed along with shark fins. In 2008, the National Marine Fisheries Service banned all commercial landings of sandbar sharks based on a 2006 stock assessment by SEDAR, and sandbar sharks were listed as vulnerable, due to overfishing.
Currently, there are a small number of specially permitted vessels fishing for sandbars sharks for the purpose of scientific research. All vessels in the research fishery are required to carry an independent researcher while targeting sandbars.
In spite of their large size and similar appearance to other dangerous sharks like Bull Sharks, there are very few, if any attacks attributed to sandbar sharks and so they are considered not to be dangerous to people. As a result, they are considered one of the safest sharks to swim with and are popular sharks for aquariums. Please see more information here.
Sandbar Shark Summary
- Snout broadly rounded and short
- First dorsal fin is large and triangular, begins over or in front of pectoral fin insertion
- Back is brown or gray, fading to a white belly
- Interdorsal ridge present
Similar Species: Dusky shark, C. obscurus (first dorsal starts over pectoral fin free tip); bull shark, C. leucas (no interdorsal ridge)
Size: Up to 8 feet
Coastal and offshore waters, typically found at depths ranging from 60 to 200 feet. May enter estuaries.
Predators and scavengers. Feeding occurs chiefly near the bottom on fish and shellfish. Migrate long distances and they mature at about 6 feet in length.
Florida State Record: This species is not currently eligible for a state record.
Perhaps more important to fishing, the Tampa-St. Pete area has a great coastline structure and topography. Barrier islands stretch close to 70 miles from North Pinellas to Venice. In general, barrier islands mean great fishing habitat because they create passes where fish move on the tides in a concentrated fashion, and also protected back-bay areas for the overall ecosystem.
On parts of the west coast of Florida, including the Tampa area, the barrier islands also tend to still have large protected mangrove areas. Mangroves are critical to the whole lifecycle of the ecosystem. Mangroves are often truly foundational to the formation of the islands and their decaying leaves feed microorganisms that are the starting point of the food chain that leads up to tarpon and sharks at the top of the system!
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