Mako Shark Fishing Tips: The Ultimate Guide

February 26, 2021

Mako Shark Fishing Tips: The Ultimate Guide

The beautiful Mako shark (Isurus oxyrinchus) is a larger mackerel shark. It is also known as Bonito Shark, or Blue Pointer. The Mako shark has the ability to grow to an impressive 13 feet (4m). According to the IUCN, The MAKO shark is considered Endangered. The Mako sharks growth rate appears to be much faster than other sharks in the lamnidae family, and is considered as a large species. So how do you catch them? Are you looking for Mako shark fishing tips?

You’ve come to the right place! In this article, we’ll go over all our top Mako shark fishing tips as well as how to catch them.

Let’s get started.

What Are Mako Sharks?

The species is sexually dimorphic and the females grow to greater sizes than the males. Adults generally weigh around 130-300 lb (60-135kg) and achieve lengths of 10 ft (3.2m). Larger sharks, including mature females, are known to exceed a weight of 1260 lb (3.2m) and a length of 12 ft (3.8m). The longest Mako on record was caught off the coast of France 1973, measured 14.6 ft (4.45m). 

The Mako shark has a vertically elongated tail and is cylindrical in shape. It is white on the belly and brilliant metallic blue on the top and exhibits countershading. There is a distinct line of demarcation between the white and blue on the body. The area around the mouth and underside of the snout is white. Darker coloration, which extends to other parts of the body, exists in larger specimens. These areas will be white on juvenile Mako sharks. Additionally, the juvenile Mako shark features a distinctive black mark on the tip of its snout. 

Short and Long Fin Mako Sharks

Short Fin and long fin Mako similar physical attributes. The only differences being larger pectoral fins, larger eyes, and a pale coloration around the mouth distinguishes the longfin Mako. Porbeagle sharks from the Lamna genus are closely related to Mako sharks, with the exception of the lack of cusps teeth and single lateral keel.

 Mako sharks can be located in offshore tropical and temperate oceans around the world. A pelagic species which usually can be found far from shore, they can be found at depths of 490 ft (150m) all the way up to the surface. It rarely ventures into water colder than 61 degrees F (16 degrees celsius), and is one of very few endothermic sharks. 

Mako sharks can be found from Browns Banks off Nova Scotia, to the Gulf of Mexico and Argentina. There seems to be the perfect balance of these sharks in Canadian waters. Mako and Swordfish enjoy similar environmental conditions, so if there are Swordfish around there is a very good chance the Mako are too.

Mako sharks are notorious for swimming long distances, whether it’s looking for a mate or seeking prey. They have been known to travel ridiculously long distances. A female caught and tagged off the coast of California was later captured by a Japanese Research vessel in the Central Pacific. This means the Mako shark travelled over 2776km (1.725 mi).

What Do Mako Sharks Eat?

Mako sharks feed predominantly on other fish like Swordfish, Bonito’s, Tuna, Mackerel, and cephalopods. They may also feed on seabirds, sea turtles, porpoises, and even other sharks (like small Blacktip Sharks). Their hunting modus operandi is to vertically lunge up at their prey, taking large bites of fins and flanks.

They cruise stealthily below prey to offer an element of surprise when they lunge. Typical of most predators, the Mako shark appears to actively hunt Swordfish when they are most vulnerable. The early summer and late Spring are the Swordfish spawning season, and many have been found with amputated Swordfish bills stuck in their bodies, gills and head.

Mako Shark Fishing Tips

When targeting Mako shark there are two ways you can go about it:

The first is by using bait rigs while practicing some traditional chumming. Chumming is not at all complicated and requires a mix of ground down Tuna and Mackerel, suspended from the Stern in a bucket or chum bag. The chum bag is ideal because they offer a slick, long chum line. It is possible to target Mako sharks inshore but you will have loads more success chumming offshore.

When targeting large Mako sharks don’t strike too aggressively, this contributes to the majority of lost fish. It may take several bites before the Mako is hooked in its mouth, so care and patience must be practiced when setting the hook. Run as many rods as you feel comfortable with (4 is generally a good number) and set your baits at various depths.

The other successful method for targeting Mako sharks is high Speed Trolling for Mako sharks, we will cover some of these quality lures later.

What is the Best Bait for Mako Sharks?

Mako sharks have voracious appetites and will feed on a wide variety of prey including other sharks, Tuna, Squid, and Bluefish. Live Bluefish is hands down the best bait for targeting Mako sharks (also works really well for Blacktip Sharks). Menhaden, Squid, and Mackerel are also great baits to try. 

A large chum bag is imperative and a substantial amount is required for a long day’s fishing.  Sharks have an incredible sense of smell and will detect your chum from many miles away. In addition to this, throw smaller bait fish into the chum.

Try bait that is between 3-5 lb, they will offer vibrations and sounds that will attract larger sharks. Fresh bait is always a better option when compared to store-bought or frozen bait. I like to catch my own bait on light tackle, what I don’t use then goes into the refrigerator.

What Gear Do I Need to Catch Mako Sharks?

Mako Sharks are extremely strong so gear needs to be strong too. A course of heavy wire leader, heavy-duty ultra Sharp Circle hooks, and at least a 50 lb reel and rod combo. To successfully land such a powerful fish, your rod should feature a strong butt, top-class guides, and a whole bunch of backbone.

Heavy Duty reels should feature premium internal systems and drag systems and offer the ability to hold quite a lot of mainline. I recommend a heavy-duty barrel swivel connected to a six-foot length of #15 crimped leader wire. Attach this to 300lb shock leader mono and then to 500 yards of 80lb main line.

I strongly recommend high-quality single strand wire, these large sharks have been known to bite through the multi-strand option. The most popular hook sizes to target Mako sharks are #9/0 and #12/0 attached to the leader wire. Fishing with four rods is manageable while simultaneously chumming around 20 feet down.

What Are the Best Lures for Mako Shark?

1. Cotton Cordell Wally Diver Walleye Crankbait

The Cotton Cordell Wally Diver is a great crankbait, as is effective for targeting Mako sharks. It features a slender design with an attractive tight wiggle to lure fish. It is quite versatile and can be trolled or cast. The Cotton Cordell Wally Diver Lure is offered in a variety of eye catching colors, and in a variety of sizes. My favorite is the Blue Tiger/ Chartreuse that weighs around 1 oz.

2. Large Top Water Popper Artificial Seal Lure

The large Topwater Popper Artificial Seal Lure is a premium, hard offshore trolling lure. It features vivid realistic 3D eyes with vibrant colors which attract big fish. The Large Top Water Popper Artificial Lure weighs in at 1.5oz and has a length of 4.75 inches. It comes rigged with 2 x premium high carbon treble hooks, with a low decoupling rate.

3. Dr Fish Saltwater GT Popper

The Dr Fish Saltwater GT Popper is a quality lure that is great for targeting Mako sharks. It comes rigged with 2 x French-made VMC #6/0 treble hooks, weighs in at 4.58oz and has a length of 8 inches. It is versatile and can cover a variety of inshore and offshore applications. This lure is available in 3 majestic colors which attract fish.

The Dr Fish Saltwater GT Popper features a stainless steel wire through construction for extreme durability and strength. It can be accurately cast due to its weighted rattle chamber and features realistic 3D eyes. This lure can be used to target Mako shark, Roosterfish, Mahi Mahi, and Tuna. My favorite is the Silver option.

4. Mxeol Handmade Pencil Popper Wooden Lures

I am a huge fan of the Mxeol lures and the brand in general. They always seem to pop up with innovative and realistic products. Quality is a priority and it’s no different for this lure. This beautiful lure is handmade from premium wood, has a length of 7.5 inches (191 mm), and weighs in at 1.7 oz (48g).

This lure offers splashing, floating, and long-cast actions, and can be used for offshore trolling or inshore surf fishing. It can be used to target a variety of game fish like sharks, Tuna, Mahi Mahi, and more. This lure offers an extremely realistic swimming action that mimics injured baitfish. It offers a one-piece end-to-end SS wire construction, a heavy-duty swivel, and a 300 lb wire run through the entire length of the lure.

The Mxeol Handmade Pencil Popper Wooden Floating Lure comes in 4 beautiful hatch-matching colors including green/white, pink/blue, white, and my personal favorite yellow. Additionally, it offers 3/0 (chest) and 5/0 (tail) saltwater grade and X5 quality carbon steel hooks. Both hooks are fixed with incredibly strong and robust split rings.


Mako Sharks are incredible fish to target, they are extremely strong and when hooked will test your tackle, your physicality, and your patience. Mako can be targeted by high-speed trolling artificial lures or with a live bait rig accompanied by substantial chumming.

The best bait to use is Blue Fish. A heavy-duty rod, surf fishing reel, or bottom fishing reel, and rig are essential. The Mako sharks hunt from beneath their prey, so a surface lure, plug, or popper can be used to target these amazing fish. Mako sharks are on the IUCN endangered list so please practice catch and release.

We hope you enjoyed this article on Mako shark fishing tips.

Happy Hunting!

Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on pinterest
Share on linkedin

Leave a Comment

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

Related Posts