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Bonnethead Shark

Illustrator
Duane Raver, Jr.
Season
Open Year-Round

All Atlantic Highly Migratory Species (Atlantic tunas, sharks, swordfish and billfish) not retained must be immediately released to ensure the maximum probability of survival, without removing the fish from the water.

*Special permit required - All private vessel owners/operators recreationally fishing for and/or retaining regulated Atlantic Highly Migratory Shark Species for personal use in Federal waters of the Atlantic Ocean (3 to 200 miles off shore) must obtain an Atlantic Highly Migratory Species (HMS) Angling Permit.

Consult https://hmspermits.noaa.gov or call toll free (888) 872-8862 for specific information and permits.
Size Limit
No Size Limit
Daily Limit / Person
Boat anglers - only 1 shark of any species per vessel, except 1 additional Bonnethead and 1 additional Atlantic Sharpnose per angler onboard vessels.

Shore anglers - only 1 shark of any species per angler, except 1 additional Bonnethead and one additional Atlantic Sharpnose per shore angler.
Delaware Range
Atlantic Ocean, Lower Delaware Bay
Abundance in Delaware Waters
Uncommon
General Habitat and Food Preferences
Bonnethead Sharks reside in nearshore Atlantic Ocean waters, estuaries and shallow bays preferring depths of 30 to 70 feet.

They feed primarily on fishes, shrimps, squids, and crabs.
General Description
The shovel (or bow) shaped head is a distinguishing characteristic of the Bonnethead Shark, making it easy to identify among hammerhead sharks.

They range from gray to gray-brown, occasionally with a green tint, with a white belly.
Did You Know?
The Bonnethead Shark must swim continuously otherwise it will sink.

These are social sharks that are most often found in groups numbering from 3-15 sharks.
Common Fishing Lures and Baits
There is hardly any bait a Bonnethead Shark won't bite. They can be caught with strips of squid, cut pieces of fish or pieces of peeler crab on bottom rigs.
Typical Sizes Caught
Bonnethead Sharks are commonly caught by anglers in the range of 3 to 10 pounds.
Citation Minimum Lengths/Weights
Length: 66 inches (for Live Release Award only)
or
Weight: 100 pounds

Bonnethead Sharks are eligible for the Delaware Sport Fishing Tournament "Shark" citation, but due to their smaller size, catching one large enough to qualify is unlikely.

Bonnethead Sharks are not currently eligible for an individual species citation.
Delaware State Record
825 pounds
Brent Thomas
1981

Bonnethead Sharks are eligible for the general "Shark" record, but due to their smaller size, catching one large enough to qualify is unlikely.

Bonnethead Sharks are not currently eligible for an individual Delaware record.