Sustainable Fishing, Marine Biology & Conservation
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Wednesday
May092012

Spiny Dogfish

Preferring water below 55-degrees, spiny dogfish can be found in parts of the Northeast almost all year, but in the Mid-Atlantic region they're only around from about November through May. They frequent both offshore and nearshore waters or wherever there are concentrations of bait or bottom fish. Anglers will find that these sharks will happily snap up just about any cut bait they drop over, and will also respond to jigs or deep-diving artificial lures. When the sharks are abundant, it's not uncommon to have a half dozen or more follow a hooked fish right up to the boat.

Recreational anglers will find that these "horndogs" are not much of a fight unless they're hooked on ultra-light tackle. But in the off season when anglers just want to get out and catch something they'll at least put a bend in the rod and are actually pretty good to eat. When filleted and skinned a spiny dogfish will provide a long, narrow fillet of white meat that can then be crosscut into perfect size portions. It can be cooked in just about any fashion, but folks should know that in Europe this shark is often battered and fried to make the popular fish-and-chips. If you like to fry fish, this is the one to use!