DESCRIPTION: Easily recognized by its pattern—and often by sheer size. Color is dark above, yellowish below. On smaller specimens, the darker markings take the shape of spots—hence the name “Leopard.” The big ones become “Tigers” as the spots grow and blend together into stripes. The patterns, however, do vary a great deal.
SIZE: This is the largest Shark likely to be encountered by Florida anglers. Quite a few 1,000-pounders have been taken in the state, and the species probably grows to a ton in weight. World record 1,780 pounds; Florida record 1,065 pounds.
FOOD VALUE: Small ones good.
GAME QUALITIES: Not rated particularly high among Sharks, but sheer size and strength make it a rugged foe.
TACKLE AND BAITS: The heaviest sporting outfits are required for adult Tigers. Although the Tiger Shark will eat virtually anything, including shellfish and mammals, particularly good baits are Stingray wings and live or dead fish, that are appropriate to the size Shark being sought—very big baits on occasion.
FISHING SYSTEMS: Still Fishing; Drifting.
RANGE: All Florida coasts, the Bahamas and the Caribbean.
HABITAT: The open sea, primarily, but many—including some giants—come close to the beaches.
There is more information on this and other sport fish in “Sport Fish of Florida.” This handy book features 231 species, all illustrated in full color. Also included for each fish are detailed ranges, habitats, game quality, food quality and record sizes.