How To Catch a Shark in Animal Crossing: New Horizons (Tips and Tricks)

Gotta catch 'em all!

9 Min Read

Catching sharks in Animal Crossing: New Horizons can be a challenging and exciting experience. This is especially true for new players to the franchise who aren’t familiar with the mechanics of other titles.

However, sharks are one of the rarest type of fish in the game. This means they can fetch a very high price from Nook’s Cranny. This makes the process of catching them very rewarding. You should get used to catching them, as it can seriously help you pay all your debt off with Tom Nook.

If you are a new player who can’t figure out how to catch a shark in Animal Crossing, or simply just want to learn more about the best way to do so, this guide will cover all there is to know about Animal Crossing sharks!

When is Shark Season in Animal Crossing

Before we dive into catching sharks, you should first know that they aren’t catchable all year round. Also, the shark season will differ depending on the hemisphere you selected for your island.

  • If your island is in the Northern Hemisphere, then you can find sharks during the months of June to September.
  • Southern Hemisphere-located islands will spawn sharks during the period of December to March.
  • In terms of timings, sharks can be found between the hours of 4 PM and 9 AM.

How To Spot Sharks in Animal Crossing

So, Animal Crossing sharks are depicted ever-so-slightly differently than regular fish to stick out. If you spot one, you can be sure to fish up a shark. New players might not notice the differences straight away. However, you become accustomed to determining if a fish shadow is a shark or not.

The biggest tell-tale that a fish shadow is a shark is from the slightly-orange fin. This fin is seen on its back, sticking out of the water. The shadow itself will also appear much larger than the regular fish shadows that you see.

Source: Nintendo

It can be hard to notice if a shadow has the fin or not, especially when playing in handheld mode as the Switch’s screen isn’t the best. A small bit of advice from someone who has done this way too many times is not to sprint (pressing B whilst running) so near to the water. If you do so, it will scare off fish when you get close enough, and you may accidentally scare off a shark!

How To Catch Sharks in Animal Crossing

Now that you have learned how to spot sharks, you can finally begin trying to catch them. The shark-catching process is the exact same as any fish catching in Animal Crossing, however, is slightly harder to catch and usually touches the bait a few times before it finally bites – which can cause you to accidentally reel in too soon.


The first thing you want to do when you spot a shark shadow is to position yourself properly. When you cast your line in Animal Crossing, it travels the same distance in front of you each time, and so unfortunately how close to stand to the water will depend on the shark’s position. You can practice on regular fish shadows or simply cast your line into the water away from the shark to gauge how far your line goes.

When casting your line, you want the fishing float to land just in front of the shark’s head, in its line of vision. Fish tend to move around a bit in Animal Crossing, and can even change directions, so you might need a few extra tries to cast your line directly in front of the shark. Don’t worry, reeling in when the shark hasn’t focused on your fishing line won’t cause it to swim away. That only happens when it has started nibbling on the end!

Source: Nintendo

Catching The Shark’s Attention

Once you have caught the shark’s attention, it will start to swim toward the end of your line, and it will then proceed to touch your line a few times until it finally goes in for the bite. This will come with some practice, but you will need to time it perfectly so that you reel in as soon as it bites, and not when it just touches the line.

If you are playing with controller vibration activated, touches will result in a single, very gentle vibration, whereas when the shark bites, the controller will begin vibrating a lot more. Similarly, you can both hear and see when the shark has bit the hook, as it will start splashing around making a lot of noise.

Reeling It In!

As soon as the shark bites, that is the time to reel in your line! This can be done by pressing the A button on your controller. If you wait too long, the shark will escape and manage to swim off. As a new player, you will probably lose many sharks, but as you become more accustomed to the fish-catching mechanic, it will get much easier.

A Whale Shark Caught in Animal Crossing: New Horizons.

How Much Are Sharks Worth in Animal Crossing?

Now that you are a shark catching pro, you may be curious how much they are worth. The following table shows shark prices when sold to Nooks Cranny:

Shark NamePrice
Great White Shark15,000 Bells
Whale Shark13,000 Bells
Saw Shark12,000 Bells
Hammerhead Shark8,000 Bells
Suckerfish1,500 Bells
Suckerfish aren’t technically sharks… however do have a fin.

Obviously, you can make much more Bells if you manage to sell these fish to CJ.

Tips For Shark Catching in Animal Crossing

There are some things that new players can do when they have just learned how to catch a shark in Animal Crossing but are still struggling with the mechanics, as understanding how to increase your catch rate can be very rewarding. Here are some tips to get started with Animal Crossing shark catching:

  • Practice catching regular fish first so that when you encounter a shark you are familiar with the mechanics.
  • Be patient when the shark focuses its attention on your line.
  • Don’t sprint too close to the sea, otherwise, you could potentially scare off a shark.
  • Some players find it easier to disable controller vibrations. Haptic feedback can be misleading and often players can misjudge if the shark is caught or not. Try disabling the option in your Switch settings if you feel the need to.

By following these tips and tricks, you’ll be well on your way to catching sharks in Animal Crossing: New Horizons. Remember to be patient and persistent. In doing so you’ll be able to add these valuable catches to your collection in no time.

Share This Article
By Miles
Miles is a passionate writer, with a keen interest in writing engaging and intriguing content on all things Nintendo. Franchises such as Animal Crossing, The Legend of Zelda, and Mario have provided Miles with countless hours of fun, thus why he happily writes about them!
Leave a comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.