Sustainable Fishing, Marine Biology & Conservation
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Wednesday
May092012

Lemon Shark

(Negaprion brevirostris)

The lemon shark is a very common year-round species in the waters that surround Florida and much of the Gulf. In the summer they'll extend their range as far north as the Carolinas. Even if they've never fished for sharks, most who have spent time on the shallow flats of the Florida Keys know the lemon shark because, besides the nurse and the bonnethead, they're one of the most common to see freely swimming about or sometimes laying on the bottom.

As their name implies these sharks will sometimes appear yellowish/green in color but they might also be more brown or gray. Lemon sharks will grow to over 10 feet and 400 pounds, however, most fishermen will encounter animals at less than 200 pounds. In fact, the shallows are nursery areas for this species and anglers will often find juveniles under 10 pounds swimming among the mangroves in less than two feet of water.

Pound for pound lemon sharks may not put up as much fight as the blacktips, bulls, spinners, or some of the other sharks they share the same waters with. However, anglers can still expect a decent battle from these fish and like most sharks, the lighter the tackle the better the fight.By anchoring their boat in a position so that the current takes the scent of their chum across the shallows to a deeper channel or cut, anglers can draw lemon sharks onto the flat and have a great time sight-casting to individual sharks as they come within range. Lemons arevery opportunistic feeders that will take a variety of bait and can also be coxed into taking plugs, jigs, or even flies.