(Scyllium Canicuia)

The lesser-spotted dogfish is generally just referred to a Dogfish is the most common of the member of the shark family be found around the UK coast. It is also often called the Roughhound due to its rough sand paper like skin. It can be easily identified by the array of spots covering its back and sides. It has a brown orange tinged back and pale cream underside that distinguish it from its cousin, the greater-spotted dogfish. The greater spotted dogfish has larger spots, and the two species have different positioning of the nose flaps. On the greater-spotted dogfish the nose flap does not join and is positioned above the mouth, while with the lesser-spotted variety the nose flap is continuous and almost joins the mouth. The eyesight of a dogfish is quite poor and the fish relies on its keen sense of smell to locate its quarry. Its small sharp teeth and anglers should take care when handling dogfish as even quite small ones can impart a nasty bite. It is also important to handle the fish correctly as not only are the teeth a potential problem, but anglers may find it difficult to hold the fish still as it has a tendency to lash its tail, and it can inflict a nasty graze with its rough skin. Holding the dogfish behind the head and bringing the tail up to meet it is the correct way to immobilize the fish. It has a skeleton of cartilage and holding it in this way you will do no harm to the fish. This is also the best way to return the fish to the sea when throwing it back. Do not hold the fish by the tail when throwing back as this will result in breaking its back.

Where To Find Them

Widespread throughout the UK, Ireland, the North Sea and Mediterranean, dogfish seem to have been on the increase in recent years. Caught in from both boat and shore, the lesser-spotted dogfish can be located over sandy, muddy or gravel bottom areas. Sandy beaches fringed with rocks make easy access locations to pick up these great sport fish. The Welsh coast also offers some superb dogfish spots from shore and boat.

When To Find Them

April through to November.

Natural Food and Best Baits

Crabs, shrimps, prawns, sand eels and small flatfish. Mackerel, peeler crabs and sandeel are generally the most productive baits.

Tips and Tactics

A three-hook paternoster rig with size 2/0 hooks baited with either mackerel or sandeel is the top method for catching good dogfish.

UK Records

Shore: 4lb 15oz

Boat: 4lb 6oz