Safely Handling Toothy Fish

FISH WITH TEETH - how to put the bite on them first!

Before you land 'em, you've got to hook 'em and when the fish you're after has a mouth like a chain saw, that's easier said than done. Use these helpful hints to land these toothy fish.


These reef and rig predators are absolutely fearless, sinking thir need-sharp teeth into anything that crosses their line of vision. Use wire leader of at least 10" in length.

Spoons with a tube jig trailer are the most common "cuda" bait, but trolled spoons and live or dead baits are effective. Bring plenty of bait - these guys will tear it up.

King Mackerel

Kings have up to 40 teeth per jaw, combined with a sleek body made for speed. They often leap from the water like a silver cruise missile, landing on trolled ballyhoo or live baits like pilchards, but shrimp and squid are also on their must-eat list.

Use wire leader and a stinger hook on the bait's tail end. Kings often chop a bait fish in half and may miss a single hook bait.

Mako Shark

These massive predators have jaws that can crush a man, earning the mako a place on the list of known man-eaters, right next to Joan Collins. Rig up with the heaviest wire leader you've got, drift and chum to attract them and bait with whole squid or fish.


These runaway torpedoes with teeth bite blindingly fast, often tearing away the aft section of a bait, so a stinger hook is in order. Use a long wire leader, up to 5', and keep the line free of any shiny hardware like swivels that could trigger a mid-line strike.

Blue Fish

See a school of blues in a frenzy? Don't enter the water - anything within sight is danger of being mauled. Their teeth will make mince meat of mono, so rig up with 1' of wire leader. Don't get choosey, because in a frenzy, blues eat any bait or lure.

All of these toothy fish are good eating, just take care when handling so you get the first bite!

- Steve Hicks

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