Wednesday, January 19, 2022

The heat is on and so is the shark bite!

Shark bites...

Shark bites…

Sharks have received a lot of bad rap, mostly from movies like Jaws, and media coverage of the occasional attack on humans. Yes, they are menacing and they do feed in shallow coastal waters where humans swim, but truth be told, you have a higher likelihood of being killed by a lightening strike than by a Shark attack. A search in Google revealed that there is an average annual death rate by Shark attack of just one, and an annual death rate by lightening strikes of forty-seven. Maybe it’s safer to be in the water than on land!

More and more often, many anglers are beginning to respect the sport fishing and table fare qualities that sharks possess. Here in Southwest Florida, the most commonly caught and edible Sharks are Bull, Lemon, Nurse, Bonnethead, Hammerhead, and Spinner. This time of year, you can catch them on the same flats where we catch Sea Trout in just three feet of water, up on the mangrove-lined shores, and out further in the deep passes and offshore.

When specifically fishing for Shark, we use either live or cut bait, like Mullet or Ladyfish. Circle hooks and wire leader are a must. The smaller Bonnethead sharks can be sight-fished on the grass flats with a live shrimp.

No matter what species you are after, they are all exciting to fish for and catch. They put up a powerful fight and many jump and flip almost as well at a Tarpon. Many people do not realize this,

Shark bites! Photos by Capt Pete Rapps

Shark bites! Photos by Capt Pete Rapps

but many of the smaller local Shark, usually less then 4-5’ in length, make great table fare, ONLY if you do a few specific things once you catch it.

First off, it is important that you finish off the Shark with something like a Louisville Slugger. No details here, just use your imagination. You absolutely MUST immediately dress and bleed out the Shark on the spot. Their organs release ammonia when they expire, and this will spoil the meat. Next, thoroughly pack the fish in a lot of ice. At the cleaning station, be sure to remove ALL of the skin and red blood line in the meat before bagging it. The skin and blood line are very bitter and in my mind, ruin the meat.

Now you have some very nice dense white meat. It is about the same consistency as Swordfish, and you can prepare it many of ways. Here is a quick and easy recipe for Shark nuggets that everyone young and old is sure to enjoy.


Here is what you will need:

  • 2 +/- lbs Shark Chunks
  • 1 QT Cold Water
  • 1/4 cup Kosher Salt
  • 1 Cup Lemon Juice
  • 3 Eggs
  • Panko Bread Crumbs


  • Olive or Peanut Oil
  • and a variety of Dipping Sauces.

Soak the chunks in a salt brine for about  6 – 12 hours before cooking it. You can do this in the morning before you start your day.




brine is simple. It consists of…

  • 1 QT cold water
  • 1/4 Cup Kosher Salt (do not use regular table salt or it will get way too salty tasting)
  • 1/2 Cup lemon juiceCover it up and let it sit in the fridge anywhere from 6 – 12 hours.

Before you cook the shark bites, drain brine mixture and rinse out the bites with lots of fresh cold water. After a thorough rinsing, dump them out on paper towels and dry them off well.

Now dip them into a bowl of scrambled eggs, and then a bowl of seasoned Panko bread crumbs (1 cup panko bread crumbs with 2 TBS CAPTAIN RAPPS MARCO RICO CARIBBEAN SEASONING)

Cook in a hot pan set on medium-high with about 1/2″ of hot olive oil or peanut oil until golden brown.

Serve them with several dipping sauces. I really like Chipotle mayo made with Captain Rapps Chokoloskee Chipotle Seasoning, Bar-b-que Sauce, Ranch Dressing, Tarter Sauce, Honey Mustard Dressing, Thousand Island Dressing, Blue Cheese Dressing, or whatever you like.

This recipe is also available online at

Tight Lines, and remember to make someone giggle today!

Hailing out of Chokoloskee Island Park Marina, Chokoloskee, FL, Capt Rapps has been fishing the Chokoloskee area for just over 20 years. He offers expert guided, light tackle, near shore, and backwater fishing trips in the Everglades National Park, and is happy to accommodate anyone from novice to hardcore seasoned pro. Pete is extremely patient and loves to teach. See his online availability calendar, booking info, recipes, videos, and first class web site at

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *