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Black Mouthed Dogfish, Galeus melastomus

Irish Record Fish: not recognised
Caught: not recognised
Boat Specimen: not recognised
Shore Specimen: not recognised
Photo Credit: Rudolf Svenson

Introduction: The Black Mouthed Dogfish is a rare deep water species typically caught around Northern Ireland, from Donegal east to Down, but not farther south.  Properly called the Blackmouth Catshark, it is caught invariably by accident when fishing for bigger fish.  A fish > 1 kilo (2 lbs) is good, albeit most anglers woudl regard it as a lifetime achievement to even catch one..  These are small scavengers that will attack everything from ragworm up, and as they often travel in packs and wander around over sand and mud bottoms, more often than not in deep water of 40 metres or more in depth.

Boat tactics: Given their status as jointly the smallest shark in Irish waters, alongside the more common lesser spotted dogfish, you can drop down to 8 lb kit when fishing for these wee lads off a boat. I don't know too many people deliberately who fish for them but there will be no need for wire trace for whilst their skin is abrasive, a foul bottom is the more likely cause for concern. The normal bait is a mackerel strip, attached to a 2/0 pennel rig.  This give you a shot at any other s[pecies in the area suchas haddock, whiting, codling etc. They can be handled in exactly the same manner as the LSDs and always put them back.  As a deep water species it is likely that they are quite slow growing and potentially vulnerable to commerical over fishing.

Shore tactics: Not a chance, these are a deep water species only, but you could try a deep water mark around Belfast...