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Thresher 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
54 inch minimum (measured from the tip of the snout to the fork of the tail)
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
Abundance in Delaware Waters
Uncommon
General Habitat and Food Preferences
The Thresher Shark is commonly observed far from shore, although it wanders close to the coast in search of food.

They feed primarily on small schooling fishes.
General Description
The Thresher Shark can be easily identified by the huge elongated tail fin.

They are usually dark brown and slate gray but can be almost completely black. They are white on their underside, but have dark spots between the tail and the anal fin.
Did You Know?
Thresher Sharks are very athletic. They are known for slaying their prey with their huge tails and are famous for a special jumping technique and behavior called "breaching" where they jump out of the water and into the air.
Common Fishing Lures and Baits
Slow trolling live baits work well. Many Thresher Sharks caught are taken on live bait (fish) and pieces of cut fish.
Typical Sizes Caught
In general, Thresher Sharks average around 200 pounds.
Citation Minimum Lengths/Weights
Live Release Award
Adult: 66 inches minimum
Youth (age 15 and under): 56 inches minimum

Sport Fishing Tournament Award
Adult: 100 pounds minimum
Youth (age 15 and under): 75 pounds minimum

Thresher Sharks are eligible for the Delaware Sport Fishing Tournament and Live Release "Shark" awards, but not currently eligible for an individual species award.
Delaware State Record
825 pounds
Brent Thomas
1981

Thresher Sharks are eligible for the general "Shark" record, but catching one large enough to qualify is unlikely.

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