Can you keep bull sharks?

While many people, in Andy Jones’ experience, fish for alligator gar and bull sharks for the excitement that comes with catching hard-fighting fish with mouths full of big teeth, both species are indeed edible and in fact, delicious.

Alligator gar have a firm, almost meaty texture and are mild-tasting. In Evangeline and Avoyelles parishes, gar would likely be considered almost an official table fish, if such a title was created.

They are also relished in the rest of Cajun country,  although not with the reverence reserved for them in the two south-central Louisiana parishes. They are often fried, but most commonly their flesh is flaked and mixed with seasonings to make patties or balls, which are in turn cooked in a gravy or fried.

Cross-section chunks of several pounds may also be cooked as roasts, producing a final product with a texture very similar to pork loin.

There are no closed seasons, minimum sizes or daily limits on alligator gar.

Bull sharks are, if anything, even more delicious than gar. The flesh is firm, moist, snow white in color and extremely mild. An added benefit is that they are cartilaginous fish, meaning they have no bones to deal with.

Although fishermen may catch and release as many bull sharks as they wish, several regulations must be obeyed if a fish is kept. First, the minimum size length is 54 inches fork length — measured from the tip of the nose to the fork in the tail.

All bull sharks during the closed season of April 1 through June 30 must be released. During open season, the limit on bull sharks is one fish per boat, no matter how many anglers are onboard.

The limit is not as severe as it sounds, as these are meaty fish and one longer than 54 inches will provide a generous amount of succulent fillets.

About Jerald Horst 959 Articles
Jerald Horst is a retired Louisiana State University professor of fisheries. He is an active writer, book author and outdoorsman.