Hunting the Alaskan Salmon Shark

Salmon shark

Salmon Shark photo from NOAA

Fishing… or rather hunting the Salmon Shark is one of the newest fads in sport fishing in Alaska. The Alaskan version of the salmon shark is a lean, mean, salmon eating machine. The salmon shark is the newest offering of several sport fishing charters along the coast of central Alaska.

Averaging from 7-8 feet in length and reaching up to 1000 lbs in weight, salmon sharks are notorious eaters of Alaskan Salmon. A study of salmon sharks in 1989 showed that the salmon shark ate between 12% and 25% of all of the salmon in Alaska’s entire Prince William Sound during that year. The salmon shark is a very close cousin to the famous “Jaws” or great white shark.

The salmon shark is migratory spending the summers in Alaskan waters at the same time as the salmon runs and then moving further south during the coldest months. Their diet is made up of mostly salmon, squid, and herring. They will attack and run down their prey with incredible speed. In fact, they are believed to be the fastest fish in the ocean world-wide. They can be found anywhere from the surface down to depths of 500 feet or more.

The salmon shark is gaining popularity as a sport fish due largely to their abundance and to their hard-fighting ability which can challenge even the most adept angler. Fishing methods include the use of heavy line and steel leaders due to the presence of the many sharp teeth. A salmon carcass of course would be the bait of choice.

There currently is no commercial fishing allowed for the salmon shark but sport fishing is permitted throughout Alaska’s waters. The salmon shark’s flesh is said to taste similar to swordfish. The meat needs to be bled and processed as soon as possible after the catch but the meat freezes and keeps well.

If you are looking for a thrill and you consider yourself up to the task, try out the newest “thing” in Alaskan fishing and give hunting the Alaskan Salmon Shark a try. Be careful though. It has been said that they are just as dangerous out of the water, on the boat deck, as they are in the water.

Alaska Jim signature, fishing trip to Alaska