Bull Shark

The Basics

Bull sharks take their name from their broad, flat bull-shaped snouts and aggressive behavior. They are typically found in the warm shallow water off Florida's Gulf and Atlantic coasts. Bull sharks are unique, however, in that they can thrive in both fresh and saltwater and have been known to travel up rivers and even brackish streams if they are deep enough. After Hurricane Katrina, there were many bull shark sightings in Lake Pontchartrain. Bull sharks are notoriously aggressive and likely account for most of the near-shore shark attacks.

How the Bull Shark Feeds and Unique Characteristics

Female bull sharks are typically larger than males. On average, females are 8-10' long and weigh 300 lbs. Males average around 8' in length and 210 lbs. in weight. Bull sharks are apex predators; their main threat is from humans. Bull sharks are solitary hunters although they will hunt in pairs occasionally. They use the bump-then-bite method of attack. Typical bull shark prey includes fish, smaller sharks, birds, dolphins, stingrays, terrestrial mammals and turtles. They prefer to hunt in murky water to obscure their approach.

Bull sharks mate in late summer and early autumn. The gestation period is 12 months and they typically give birth to between four and ten live young. A bull shark takes ten years to reach maturity.

Bull sharks can be very dangerous to humans. Along with tiger sharks, Oceanic White Tip sharks and Great White sharks, bull sharks are most likely to attack human beings.

How We Get the Bull Shark

Fresh Bonita and barracuda are the best bait for attracting bull sharks, although any large fresh baitfish will work. These huge sharks like to lurk near shipwrecks; in the Gulf, they are often found in clusters around the World War II-era wrecks. In shallower waters, bull sharks can be found swimming the channels, as well, usually traveling singly.