Galeocerdo Cuvier

Carcharhinidae

Carcharhiniformes

Onshore, Nearshore, Offshore, Reef, Wreck

850 - 3000 pounds

120" - 295"

Tiger Shark Game Fish Quality Excellent
Tiger Shark Meal Quality Poor

Tiger Shark 

Tiger Shark 
Also Known As: Leopard Shark  

Tiger Shark (Galeocerdo Cuvier)

The tiger shark is named for the dark bands or stripes that it has on the side of its body, resembling that of a tiger. The tiger shark is a solitary and nomadic shark, belonging to the same family as bull sharks, lemon sharks, and blue sharks known as Carcharhinidae, and is the largest species in the family. The skin of the tiger shark can range from blue to light green with a light yellow or white belly. It uses these colors in a camouflage technique known as countershading. Blending in with the light background as prey look up and being dark on top to blend in with the dark blue hues of the deep water.

Tiger Shark Size

Tiger sharks are commonly found reaching 11 to 14 feet in length, and weights of 800-1400 pounds. Like most fish the tiger shark is dimorphic and the females grow much larger than the males and have been reported to reach exceptional sizes around 16-17 feet in length and weighing up to 2000 pounds. In Australia, a pregnant female Galeocerdo Cuvier was caught that was 18 feet in length and weighed over 3,300 pounds.

Tiger Shark Facts

  • The tiger shark has small pits on its snout which hold electroreceptors called the ampullae of Lorenzini, these receptors can detect electrical fields and impulses in the water like those made from prey animals, helping them seek out prey and hunt.
  • Tiger sharks do not have moving eyelids, although they do have a membrane that is clear and covers their eye like many other sharks.
  • The sharks are nomadic and follow currents of warm water, and stay close to the equator during winter months. The Tiger stripes that give the shark its name also fade as they grow older.
  • Tiger sharks are generally slow swimmers, using their camouflage to get close to prey, but they are capable of very fast burst of speed when attacking prey, and are one of the strongest swimming sharks in their family.

Tiger Shark Habitat

Tiger sharks can be found in coastal waters and are found mainly in tropical to subtropical climates. Being highly nomadic it will follow warmer ocean currents and migrate to warmer equatorial waters in the winter months. It can be found around deeper waters and reefs but also moves up into shallow waters to seek out forage. While rarely seen in shallow waters they have been spotted in water as shallow as ten feet, although the average depth of tiger sharks is usually around 1000 feet after recent studies.

Tiger Shark Fishing

One of the most popular methods fishermen use fishing for this game fish is by using live bait and chumming, or by trolling, cut bait, squid, and fish fillets work well also. Many tiger sharks are accidentally caught by anglers pursuing other species while reeling in the fish sharks will attack and get hooked or simply refuse to let go.

Tiger Shark Fishing Lures

Live bait is the predominant method to catch tiger sharks. Some of the best bait live or cut is mackerel, bluefish, or tuna filets. Rods should have a 100-pound test monofilament, and hooks ranging from 6/0 to 10/0. Heavy tackle in all regards from reels, rods, line, and leaders is required.

Distribution and Range

Tiger sharks are common in the Gulf of Mexico, as well and North American beaches and some coastal areas of South America, while being very common in the Caribbean Sea. Among these places, other regions of the world where tiger sharks are known to inhabit are Africa, China, India, Australia, and Indonesia. With the Galeocerdo Cuvier also being spotted as far away as Japan and New Zealand, although their populations in these areas are undoubtedly rare.