Shark Fishing In Virginia

A scenic view of Virginia Beach, VA on a sunny day, with calm ocean waves gently washing up onto the sandy shore.
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Shark fishing in Virginia is a thrilling and rewarding experience for fishing enthusiasts. With miles of coastline and various bodies of water, Virginia offers a diverse range of shark fishing spots, including Virginia Beach, the Chesapeake Bay, and the Eastern Shore. To have a successful and enjoyable shark fishing experience, it’s important to have the right gear and knowledge of the regulations and techniques involved. In this guide, we’ll share expert tips on the best locations, gear, regulations, and techniques to help you catch and release common shark species found in Virginia’s waters. Whether you’re a seasoned angler or a beginner, this guide has everything you need to plan your next shark fishing trip in Virginia

Best Shark Fishing Spots in Virginia

Virginia has a long coastline with many great spots for shark fishing. Here are some of the best shark fishing spots in Virginia:

  1. Virginia Beach: This popular tourist destination also offers great opportunities for shark fishing. The Virginia Beach Fishing Pier, located at the southern end of the beach, is a great place to start.
  2. Chincoteague Island: This barrier island on the Eastern Shore of Virginia is a great place to catch sharks. Try fishing off the beach, or take a charter boat out into the ocean for bigger catches.
  3. Cape Charles: Located on the Eastern Shore of Virginia, Cape Charles offers great shark fishing opportunities in the Chesapeake Bay. Try fishing off the pier or take a charter boat out into the bay.
  4. Assateague Island: This barrier island is located off the coast of Virginia and Maryland and offers great shark fishing opportunities. Try fishing off the beach, or take a charter boat out into the ocean for bigger catches.
  5. Sandbridge Beach: Located south of Virginia Beach, Sandbridge Beach is a great spot for shark fishing. Try fishing off the beach or take a charter boat out into the ocean for bigger catches.

Target these locations at peak season for the best chance at catching a personal best shark.

Virginia Beach Shark Fishing!

Types of Sharks You Can Catch in Virginia


Virginia’s waters are home to several species of sharks that fishermen commonly catch. Here are some of the most common types of sharks you can catch in Virginia:

  1. Sandbar Shark: The sandbar shark is one of the most common shark species caught in Virginia. They are usually found in shallow waters close to shore and can weigh up to 200 pounds.
  2. Blacktip Shark: Blacktip sharks are common in Virginia’s waters during the summer months. They can be caught in both shallow and deep waters, and are known for their acrobatic leaps out of the water.
  3. Spinner Shark: Spinner sharks are another common species found in Virginia’s waters. They are known for their spinning jumps out of the water, and can be found in both shallow and deep waters.
  4. Smooth Dogfish: Smooth dogfish are a smaller species of shark commonly caught in Virginia’s waters. They are usually found in shallow waters close to shore and are known for their spiny skin.
  5. Bull Shark: Bull sharks are a larger species of shark that can be found in Virginia’s waters. They are known for their aggressive behavior and can be caught in both shallow and deep waters.

Each shark will have a peak season when it can be caught in greater quantities. Match the season to the shark for the best opportunity at a fish of a lifetime.

Best Time of Year for Shark Fishing in Virginia

The best time of year for shark fishing in Virginia can vary depending on the species of shark you are targeting. Generally, the summer months (June through September) are the most popular times for shark fishing in Virginia. This is because the water temperatures are warmer and many species of sharks migrate to Virginia’s waters during this time.

Some specific times to consider when planning a shark fishing trip in Virginia are:

  1. Late June to early August: This is when the waters around Virginia are typically the warmest, and when many species of sharks are most active.
  2. September: As the waters begin to cool down in September, larger species of sharks such as bull sharks and tiger sharks become more active in Virginia’s waters.

It’s important to note that Virginia has specific regulations regarding the size and types of sharks that can be caught, as well as gear and bait restrictions.

Shark Fishing Virginia Beach On A Charter Boat “Matador”

Best Baits and Lures for Shark Fishing in Virginia

When it comes to shark fishing in Virginia, using the right bait and lures is essential for success. Here are some of the best baits and lures for shark fishing in Virginia:

  1. Mackerel: Mackerel is one of the best baits for shark fishing in Virginia. It has a strong scent that can attract sharks from a distance.
  2. Menhaden: Menhaden is another great bait for shark fishing in Virginia. It has a strong scent and oily texture that can attract sharks.
  3. Squid: Squid is a versatile bait that can be used for a variety of shark species. It has a strong scent and can be used whole or cut into smaller pieces.
  4. Bluefish: Bluefish is a popular bait for shark fishing in Virginia. It has a strong scent and can be cut into chunks or used whole.
  5. Live Bait: Live bait such as croaker or spot can be used to target larger species of sharks in Virginia’s waters.

As for lures, some anglers prefer to use large artificial lures that mimic the movement of live bait. When selecting lures, consider the species of shark you are targeting and the depth of the water you will be fishing in.

Recommended Gear for Shark Fishing in Virginia

When it comes to shark fishing in Virginia, having the right gear is essential to increase your chances of success and ensure your safety. Here are some recommended gear options for shark fishing in Virginia:

  1. Fishing Rod and Reel: Choose a rod that can handle heavy weights and a large reel with a strong drag system to reel in a big catch.
  2. Fishing Line: Use a heavy braided line with a high-pound test to withstand the weight of a shark.
  3. Leader: Use a strong, abrasion-resistant leader with a wire or monofilament construction to protect against shark bites.
  4. Hooks: Circle hooks are recommended for shark fishing as they are less likely to cause harm to the shark, making it easier to catch and release.
  5. Bait: Use fresh bait such as live or cut fish, squid, or shrimp to attract sharks.
  6. Chum: Chumming is a technique used to attract sharks to the fishing area. Use fish parts, blood, or other strong-smelling baits to create a chum slick.
  7. Fighting Belt/Harness: A fighting belt or harness can help reduce the strain on your back and arms while reeling in a big catch.
  8. Pliers: Use pliers to remove hooks safely and quickly.
  9. Life Jacket: Wearing a life jacket is essential for your safety while out on the water.
  10. GPS/Navigation: Make sure you have a GPS or navigation device to help you navigate and find the best shark fishing spots in Virginia.

It’s important to note that Virginia has specific regulations regarding the size and types of sharks that can be caught, as well as gear and bait restrictions.

Shark Fishing On The Beach- Virginia

Best Shark Fishing Charters in Virginia

Virginia offers many great options for shark fishing charters, with experienced guides and a variety of fishing opportunities. Here are some of the best shark fishing charters in Virginia:

  1. Virginia Beach Fishing Center: The Virginia Beach Fishing Center offers shark fishing charters with experienced captains and a variety of shark species to target. The center offers both private and shared charters, with half-day and full-day options available.
  2. AquaMan Sportfishing Charters: AquaMan Sportfishing Charters offers shark fishing charters out of Rudee Inlet in Virginia Beach. The charters target a variety of shark species, including sandbar, dusky, and tiger sharks. AquaMan Sportfishing Charters offers half-day and full-day trips, as well as evening shark fishing charters.
  3. Ocean Eagle Charters: Ocean Eagle Charters is located in Cape Charles and offers shark fishing charters in the Chesapeake Bay and Atlantic Ocean. The charters target a variety of shark species, including dusky, sandbar, and tiger sharks. Ocean Eagle Charters offers half-day and full-day charters, as well as overnight trips.
  4. Bayrunner Fishing Charters: Bayrunner Fishing Charters is located in Cape Charles and offers shark fishing charters in the Chesapeake Bay and Atlantic Ocean. The charters target a variety of shark species, including sandbar, dusky, and tiger sharks. Bayrunner Fishing Charters offers half-day and full-day charters, as well as overnight trips.

If you’re new to fishing in Virginia then you should definitely consider contacting a charter and picking the captain’s mind. You will learn more in a day than fishing by yourself for a month.

Regulations and Licenses for Shark Fishing in Virginia

Shark fishing in Virginia is regulated by the Virginia Marine Resources Commission (VMRC) and the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS). Here are some of the regulations and licenses that apply to shark fishing in Virginia:

  1. Shark Catch Limits: Virginia has specific regulations regarding the size and types of sharks that can be caught. Some shark species, such as great white sharks, are protected and cannot be targeted or caught. Other shark species, such as sandbar sharks, have size limits and catch limits. Before going shark fishing in Virginia, be sure to check the current regulations and catch limits.
  2. Gear and Bait Restrictions: Virginia also has specific gear and bait restrictions for shark fishing. For example, only non-offset circle hooks can be used when fishing for sharks in Virginia, and chumming is prohibited in some areas. Be sure to check the current regulations for gear and bait restrictions.
  3. Shark Research and Tagging: The VMRC and NMFS encourage anglers to participate in shark research and tagging programs. This can help researchers better understand shark populations and migration patterns, which can lead to better conservation efforts. If you catch a shark in Virginia, you may be asked to participate in a research or tagging program.
  4. Licenses: Anglers over the age of 16 must have a valid Virginia saltwater fishing license to fish for sharks in Virginia. In addition, if you plan to sell any shark meat or parts, you must have a commercial fishing license. Be sure to obtain any necessary licenses before going shark fishing in Virginia.

It’s important to note that the regulations and licenses for shark fishing in Virginia can change, so be sure to check the current regulations before going fishing. Additionally, it’s important to practice responsible fishing and conservation efforts when targeting sharks in Virginia waters.

Catching a Sand Tiger Shark In Virginia Beach, VA

Where to Stay When Shark Fishing in Virginia

There are many great places to stay when shark fishing in Virginia, depending on your preferred location and budget. Here are some options for accommodations when shark fishing in Virginia:

  1. Virginia Beach: Virginia Beach is a popular destination for shark fishing in Virginia, with many fishing charters departing from Rudee Inlet. There are many hotels and vacation rentals in Virginia Beach to choose from, ranging from budget-friendly to luxury accommodations. Some options to consider include the Virginia Beach Oceanfront, Oceanfront Inn, and Hilton Virginia Beach Oceanfront.
  2. Cape Charles: Cape Charles is located on the eastern shore of Virginia and is another popular destination for shark fishing. There are many vacation rentals and bed and breakfasts in Cape Charles to choose from, such as the Bay Haven Inn of Cape Charles and the Hotel Cape Charles.
  3. Chincoteague Island: Chincoteague Island is located on Virginia’s eastern shore and is known for its beaches, wildlife, and fishing opportunities. There are many vacation rentals and hotels in Chincoteague Island to choose from, such as the Refuge Inn and the Hampton Inn & Suites Chincoteague-Waterfront.
  4. Chesapeake Bay: If you plan to shark fish in the Chesapeake Bay, you may want to consider staying in one of the nearby towns, such as Virginia Beach, Norfolk, or Hampton. There are many hotels and vacation rentals in these areas to choose from, ranging from budget-friendly to luxury accommodations.

When choosing accommodations for your shark fishing trip in Virginia, be sure to consider factors such as location, budget, and amenities. Additionally, be sure to check for any fishing-related packages or discounts that may be available.

Expert Tips and Tricks for Successful Shark Fishing in Virginia

Here are some expert tips and tricks for successful shark fishing in Virginia:

  1. Research the Best Locations: Virginia has many great locations for shark fishing, but it’s important to research the best spots to increase your chances of success. Some popular shark fishing spots in Virginia include Virginia Beach, the Chesapeake Bay, and the Eastern Shore.
  2. Use the Right Gear: To successfully catch sharks in Virginia, you’ll need the right gear. Make sure you have a sturdy fishing rod and reel, heavy-duty fishing line, and non-offset circle hooks. You’ll also need a variety of bait options, such as squid, cut fish, and chum.
  3. Know the Regulations: Virginia has specific regulations regarding shark fishing, including catch limits, gear restrictions, and size limits. It’s important to know and follow these regulations to avoid fines and protect the shark populations.
  4. Be Patient: Shark fishing requires patience and persistence. Don’t get discouraged if you don’t catch a shark right away. Keep trying different bait and location options until you find what works best.
  5. Learn to Identify Shark Species: It’s important to learn to identify different shark species to comply with regulations and ensure that you are releasing any protected species. Some common shark species in Virginia include sandbar sharks, blacktip sharks, and dusky sharks.
  6. Practice Catch and Release: To protect the shark population, it’s important to practice catch and release whenever possible. Make sure to handle the shark carefully, avoid removing it from the water, and release it as quickly and safely as possible.
  7. Consider Hiring a Guide: If you’re new to shark fishing or want to increase your chances of success, consider hiring a guide or charter. A professional guide can provide expert advice on gear and technique, as well as take you to the best shark fishing spots in Virginia.

By following these tips and tricks, you can increase your chances of a successful and enjoyable shark fishing experience in Virginia.

Catching Sharks On a Pier In Virginia Beach, VA

Conclusion

In conclusion, shark fishing in Virginia can be a thrilling and rewarding experience for those who are well-prepared and knowledgeable about the regulations and techniques involved. By researching the best locations, using the right gear, knowing the regulations, practicing catch and release, and considering hiring a guide, you can increase your chances of success while protecting the shark population. Virginia offers many great shark fishing spots, including Virginia Beach, the Chesapeake Bay, and the Eastern Shore, and with patience and persistence, you can enjoy a memorable fishing adventure.

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