Fishing for Sharks, Skates and Rays

Outdoor USA Site Index

Clearnose Skate

Raja eglanteria

Description: Flat diamond shaped body almost as wide at long with a tail. Tail has a row of short spines running along the top for its entire length. Coloration is brown to grayish brown with short dark and light arching stripes or splotches.
Natural Baits bloodworms, cut bait, shrimp
Average size - 2 to 5 pounds
Largest expected size 10 pounds

Dusky Shark

Carcharhinus obscurus

Dusky Sharks are occasionally caught in the surf, although most are caught from boats. They feed on any available baitfish as well as skates, rays,flounder and dogfish. As it is with many shark species, the dusky shark has a set of very sharp teeth, great care must be taken in removing hooks from its mouth. Pliers or some other hook removal tool should be used. A Dusky shark becomes sexually mature when it has grown to 10 feet in length. Its young are born alive in litters of 6 to 14 pups.
Largest expected size: 13 feet in length

Smooth Dogfish

Mustelus canis

Description:long slender body. Coloration is gray to brownish on back, pale gray on sides with a white belly. The smooth dogfish or smooth hound is a common shallow water shark on the east coast of the United States. Usually found in less than 60 feet of water it is an active bottom feeder. Generally it will be found feeding in schools, It has blunt teeth and the skin feels like a fine grit sandpaper. They feed on crabs, lobsters, fish, squid, bloodworms and shrimp. Growing to 5 feet in length , smooth dogfish become sexually mature when they are about 3 feet long. The young are born alive and are about 12 inches in length at birth.
Natural baits : bloodworms, cut bait, shrimp, squid
Largest expected size : 40 pounds

Spiny Dogfish

Squalus acanthias

Description: long slender body. Coloration is gray on back, pale gray on sides with a white belly. Irregular pattern of white spots on sides and back. Two dorsal fins, each with a sharp spine in front of it. Dorsal fins are nearly identical in shape and size. Low flat grinding teeth. The Worlds most abundant shark, the Spiny dogfish is found on both sides of the Atlantic ocean as well as in the Pacific. The Spiny Dogfish is a cool water shark that prefers water temperatures between 45 and 59 degrees farenheit. In general it stays in the deeper water but may be encountered in the spring. They feed on fish, squid, octopus and other invertebrates. Named a dogfish because they school in packs of individuals of approximately the same size. Schools may number into the thousands. Spiny dogfish are born alive in litters of 2 to 11 gestation is 22 months Average adult size is 30 to 40 inches long.

Sold commercially in the U.S. as Cape Shark and in Britain as "Rock Salmon". It was commonly used by the British for "Fish and Chips".
Average size - 5 to 15 pounds
Largest expected size 30 pounds

Atlantic Stingray

Dasyatis sabina

This species is able to live year round in fresh water although it is mostly found in saltwater. It has a venomous barb at the base of the tail and so should be handled with caution.

The Atlantic Stingray feeds on mollusks, small fish and crustaceans.

Food Notes

You need to exercise a great deal of caution in shark identification as the harvest of most species of sharks is prohibited or heavily regulated.