Sharks in the Harbor

Sharks are a popular species for anglers fishing in Charleston Harbor this month. (Picture by RedFin Charters)

Charleston Harbor is home to numerous shark species

For anglers looking for something a little bit different, Charleston Harbor is home to many different species of sharks. And they don’t mind biting in the July heat.

Dylan Rohlfs of RedFin Charters (843-277-5255) said sharks are one of the more popular species asked about by clients.

“We catch a big variety of sharks throughout the year. And we catch them in all sizes. If you’re looking for a fun fight, you’ll find it in any of these sharks. A shark fishing trip can provide you with all the fight you want,” said Rohlfs.

When pursuing sharks, Rohlfs likes to keep things simple.

“I’m looking for current breaks, and when I find what I’m looking for, I’ll anchor down and cast out two lines. You really don’t want to put too many rods out when fishing here for sharks,” he said.

The equipment he uses when going after sharks includes Daiwa BG spinning reels in 4500 to 5500. He opts for an 8/0 circle hook, and he uses braided line in the 80- to 100-pound class. A similarly-sized fluorocarbon leader is also used, and for bait, Rohlfs said the sharks aren’t too picky.

“You can use just about any type of cut bait,” he said. “And once I make a cast, I put the rod in a rod holder, one on each corner of the rear of the boat,” he said.

Rohlfs discourages anglers from picking up one of the rods until it’s a sure thing a shark has the bait.

“When a shark bites, you’ll know it,” he said.

The rod will double over, and stay arched when the bait gets picked up.

“Once you’ve got a shark on the line, you’ve got to really put some effort into getting the rod out of the rod holder. And once you have it out, just reel as you lower the rod tip. Then stop reeling and lift the rod, then reel and lower again. Just get into a smooth rhythm, letting the rod and the reel’s drag do their jobs,” he said.

Most anglers, he said, are surprised at how strong of a fight these sharks put up.

“It’s going to go on a run, or two or three runs. Just be patient and let it run. That allows the drag and the rod to wear the shark out. Pretty soon, it’ll be tired and you can reel it in,” he said.

Anglers can expect to catch bonnetheads, hammerheads, fine-toothed sharks, sandbar sharks, bull sharks, and others.

About Brian Cope 2800 Articles
Brian Cope is the editor of Carolina Sportsman. He has won numerous awards for his writing, photography, and videography. He is a retired Air Force combat communications technician, and has a B.A. in English Literature from the University of South Carolina. You can reach him at

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