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lesser spotted dogfish picture

Lesser Spotted Dogfish, Scyliorhinus canicula

Irish Record Fish:
Boat Specimen:
Shore Specimen:
Photo Credit:

Introduction: The Lesser Spotted Dogfish, or "LSD" for short, is in fact a Catshark and is caught invariably by accident when fishing for bigger fish.  This can be listed as "rock salmon" is fish shops, and the flesh is tasty and not unlike salmon.  A fish > 2 lbs (1 kg) is good, albeit most anglers regard them as a nuisance except on very quiet days from shore or in a match competition from shore.  These are small scavengers that will attack everything from ragworm up, and as they often travel in packs and wander around even at low water. Sea anglers seeking other fish view them as a pest.  They also make excellent skate bait, but that's another story.

Boat tactics: Given their status as the smallest shark in Irish waters, you can drop down coarse angling kit when fishing for LSDs off a boat. I don't know too many people deliberately who fish for them but off you go and start a craze!  No need for wire trace for whilst their skin is abrasive, the foul ground 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 more interesting fish that may be in the area, like Pollack, Wrasse, Whiting, Flatfish etc. A word of warning about handling LSDs - they will try to wrap themselves around your arm as you handle or unhook them - this is not good as their skin is abrasive and can cause a nasty burn like injury, especially on small children.

Shore tactics: LSDs are typically caught from shore in relatively shallow waters.  They often move around at low water, even in a foot of water or less, scavenging especially close or in harbours and around piers.  Your chances improve at night, but daylight does not deter them!  They don't fight well - in fact some suggest they don't fight at all but they may win you a competition some day... all the Wicklow beaches holds packs of LSDs.