Back to Basics - Spurdog in January



This month I thought as we are now in the grips of winter properly we are all looking for Cod but there is information all over about catching Cod and we have focused already on this subject so thought I would look at another fish and winter target which we don't see so many photos of which is spur dog.



Spur dog can be caught all over the UK and Ireland and with them going to weights of 17lb 8oz from the shore and 25lb 2oz from the boat they can be a welcome change from the normal dogs and whiting that can plague winter fishing and I see them as the winter version of smooth hounds.

With spur dogs you need to be careful in a couple of ways, with them being a type of shark they don’t possess a skeleton and only have cartilage so best practise is to hold them like a smooth hound supporting the stomach and held with the other hand near the base of the tail. Please also note that with spur dogs you need to be careful so you don’t get hurt yourself as they can writhe and wriggle a lot and have a spur on the dorsal fins and also on the gill covers which does contains a toxin that is painful if you get caught and has been fatal in the past although rare and mainly the young and old being most at risk.

So getting down to business what do we need to catch one of these great fish? They are not the monsters they are made out to be although at the business end they are rather toothy and these are sharp which can bite through lighter hook lengths.

You can catch Spurries on many baits mainly of the fish variety or on squid and they like fast tidal waters, they mainly feed on the bottom on crabs or small fish like whiting, codling, herring, flatfish but will take most baits if presented when they are around and feeding whether solitary or in shoals good baits can be chunks of mackerel, bluey and squid cocktails of these but I've had them take triple sand eels when fishing for bass and Codling.

Tackle wise you don't need to go overboard I use 20lb mainline and 70lb shock leader and I tend to use 100lb mono rig body and hook length to stop any biting through the rig if you go much heavier then presentation starts to suffer in my opinion many opt for wire traces but I have never had 100lb mono bitten through.

I tend to use either a strong 4/0 - 5/0 Aberdeen hook or a Sakuma manta 540 or 545 single hook pulley rig with a 2.5ft hook length I tend to use the single hook as its less hassle when unhooking toothy prey.

I tend to use these hooks as they have a longer shank than many other hooks and in turn keeps the teeth away from your line, I also tend to load 4 oval lumo beads with a rubber stopper above the hook just to cover the mono and add some attraction and protection and find that the green lumos attract the best, but that’s another conversation of which some agree and some won't and we'll look at a bit further down the line.


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