Bonnethead Shark (Sphyrna tiburo)

The bonnethead shark is the smallest member of the hammerhead sharks, the family characterized by having eyes located at the far ends of extended lateral lobes.

The bonnethead is particularly distinctive in appearance because it has a smooth, broadly widened head, frequently described as “spade shaped,” which has more curve to it than do the heads of any other hammerheads. Also, the front of the head is lacking a median groove, which is pres- ent in other hammerheads. Gray to grayish-brown in color, the bonnethead shark seldom exceeds 3 feet in length, maturing at about that length to bear 6 to 12 live young at one time.

Bonnetheads, particularly young fish, are often found over flats, where they can be taken on flies and ultralight tackle. The all-tackle world record is a 23-pound, 11-ounce fish taken off Georgia in 1994.

These fish occur in the western Atlantic from North Carolina (occasionally Rhode Island) to southern Brazil, as well as around Cuba and the Bahamas, and in the eastern Pacific from Southern California to Ecuador.