Dogfish Shark Fishing off the Pier: Tips and Techniques

Dogfish Shark Fishing off the Pier

Embark on an exhilarating adventure as we into the thrilling world of dogfish sharks fishing off the pier.

The essential techniques, gear, and strategies that make this unique form of fishing both accessible and rewarding. Whether you’re a seasoned angler or a novice seeking a new challenge, dogfish shark fishing off the pier promises an unforgettable experience.

Dogfish Shark Fishing Off The Pier:

Having the right gear and equipment is paramount to embarking on a successful dogfish shark fishing adventure off the pier. A sturdy and reliable fishing tackle is crucial, typically consisting of a medium-heavy to heavy action rod paired with a robust reel equipped with a strong drag system.

Dogfish Shark Fishing Off The Pier
Image Credit: fineartamerica

Given the tenacity of dogfish sharks, a braided fishing line with a high pound-test strength is recommended to withstand their powerful pulls and provide better sensitivity for detecting bites.

When it comes to bait, dogfish sharks are known for their preference for cut fish, squid, or other oily baits. Rigging options include wire leaders to prevent bite-offs and circle hooks for more effective hook sets.

Ensuring your gear is well-maintained and suited for the task at hand is key to increasing your chances of a successful dogfish shark catch from the pier.

Essential Fishing Tackle:

When engaging in dogfish shark fishing off the pier, assembling the right fishing tackle is crucial for a successful and enjoyable experience. Here are the essential components:

Rod and Reel Combo:

  • Choose a medium-heavy to heavy action rod, typically around 7 to 9 feet in length, to provide the strength needed for handling dogfish sharks.
  • Pair the rod with a durable spinning or conventional reel that has a robust drag system to manage the powerful runs of these sharks.

Fishing Line:

  • Opt for a braided fishing line with high pound-test strength (40 to 80 pounds) to withstand the strength and abrasiveness of dogfish sharks.
  • The low stretch of braided lines enhances sensitivity, allowing you to feel even subtle bites.

Terminal Tackle:

  • Utilize wire leaders to prevent bite-offs from the sharp teeth of dogfish sharks. A leader with a 50 to 80-pound test is advisable.
  • Choose appropriate-sized circle hooks (4/0 to 8/0) for effective hook sets. Circle hooks are preferred as they often result in corner-of-the-mouth hookups, promoting safer catch-and-release practices.

Bait and Lures:

Bait and Lures
  • Dogfish sharks are attracted to cut fish, squid, or oily baits. Mackerel, herring, or menhaden are popular choices.
  • Experiment with scent and attractant enhancements to increase the allure of your bait.

Tackle Box:

  • Keep your gear organized in a sturdy tackle box. Include pliers for hook removal, a hook sharpener, and spare terminal tackle.
  • Carry extra leaders, hooks, sinkers, and swivels to adapt to changing conditions.

Comfortable Fishing Apparel:

Wear appropriate clothing and footwear for pier fishing, considering weather conditions. A hat, sunglasses, and sunscreen protect during extended sun exposure.

Having the right fishing tackle ensures you are well-prepared to face the challenges of dogfish shark fishing off the pier, increasing your chances of a successful and memorable angling experience.

Choosing the Right Bait for Dogfish Sharks:

Selecting the right bait is a critical aspect of dogfish shark fishing off the pier, as these sharks are attracted to certain scents and textures. Here are some effective bait options:

Cut Fish:

Mackerel: Fresh mackerel chunks or fillets are highly effective. The strong scent and oiliness make them attractive to dogfish sharks.

Herring: Similar to mackerel, herring provides a strong scent that can lure dogfish sharks from a distance.


Squid is a versatile and readily available bait that dogfish sharks find appealing. It can be used as whole squid or cut into strips.

Oily Baits:

Dogfish sharks are particularly drawn to oily baits. Consider using menhaden, bunker, or other oily fish to enhance the attractiveness of your bait.

Fish Heads and Frames:

Using fish heads or frames, especially those with plenty of flesh attached, can be effective. The scent released by these parts can attract dogfish sharks.

Blood and Scent Enhancements:

Adding scent enhancements, such as fish oils or commercially available shark attractants, can increase the effectiveness of your bait. Dogfish sharks have a keen sense of smell, and enhancing the bait’s scent can improve your chances of attracting them.

Freshness Matters:

Regardless of the type of bait you choose, freshness is key. Fresh bait releases stronger scents, making it more enticing to dogfish sharks.

Remember to experiment with different bait combinations and observe local preferences. It’s essential to be adaptable and willing to switch baits based on the conditions and the specific behavior of the dogfish sharks in the area. Additionally, always check and adhere to local fishing regulations regarding bait use to ensure a responsible and sustainable fishing experience.

Tactics and Techniques:

The right tactics and techniques is essential for a successful dogfish shark fishing adventure off the pier. Here are key strategies to enhance your chances of a memorable catch:

Pier Positioning:

Choose a strategic location on the pier where you have access to waters. Dogfish sharks often patrol areas with sufficient depth and structure.

Tidal Considerations:

Be mindful of the tide. Fishing during the incoming or outgoing tide can increase your chances of encountering active dogfish sharks.

Bottom Fishing:

Dogfish sharks are primarily bottom-dwellers, so focus your efforts on presenting your bait near the ocean floor. Use a variety of sinker weights to adapt to changing currents.

Patience and Stillness:

Once your bait is in position, exercise patience. Dogfish sharks may take some time to locate and investigate your offering. Avoid unnecessary movement or disturbance on the pier.

Night Fishing:

Consider fishing during the evening or at night. Dogfish sharks are nocturnal hunters, and fishing during low-light conditions can be particularly productive.

Vary Your Retrieve:

Experiment with different retrieval techniques. Sometimes a slow and steady retrieve can attract the attention of dogfish sharks, while at other times, a more erratic or jigging motion may be effective.

Use Chum Bags:

Deploying a chum bag filled with cut fish or oily substances can create a scent trail, attracting dogfish sharks to your fishing area. Hang the chum bag near your fishing spot for optimal results.

Stay Alert for Bites:

Dogfish sharks can exhibit subtle bites, so stay vigilant and be attuned to any changes in rod sensitivity or movement. Once you feel a bite, give the fish a moment before setting the hook.

Handle with Care:

When you hook a dogfish shark, handle it with care. Use a landing net to bring it up onto the pier safely. Be cautious of their sharp teeth and spines, and consider using gloves for added protection.

Release Safely:

If practising catch-and-release, minimise the time the dogfish shark spends out of the water. Remove the hook gently using pliers, and release the shark in a healthy condition.

Adapting your tactics based on local conditions, weather, and the behavior of the dogfish sharks in the area is key to a successful pier fishing experience. Continuously observe and learn from each outing to refine your skills and increase your chances of landing these intriguing creatures.


In conclusion, dogfish shark fishing off the pier offers anglers an exhilarating and rewarding experience. Equipping yourself with the right gear, choosing effective bait, and employing strategic tactics can enhance your chances of success.

Whether you’re a seasoned angler or a novice, the thrill of feeling the tug on your line and the challenge of reeling in these powerful creatures make pier fishing for dogfish sharks a memorable pursuit.

As you embark on this adventure, remember to prioritize safety, adhere to regulations, and practice responsible catch-and-release methods to ensure a sustainable and enjoyable fishing experience for future outings. Tight lines and happy fishing!


Q: What is the best time of day for dogfish shark fishing off the pier?

A: Dogfish sharks are often more active during low-light conditions, so fishing during the evening or at night can be productive. However, they can be encountered throughout the day, particularly during tide changes.

Q: What type of bait is most effective for dogfish sharks?

A: Cut fish, such as mackerel or herring, and oily baits like squid or menhaden are highly effective. Experiment with different baits and scent enhancements to determine local preferences.

Q: How do I handle dogfish sharks safely when catching and releasing?

A: Use a landing net to bring the shark onto the pier. Be cautious of their sharp teeth and spines. When releasing, minimize time out of the water, remove the hook gently with pliers, and release the shark in a healthy condition.

Q: Can I use any type of fishing line for dogfish shark fishing?

A: Braided fishing lines with a high pound-test strength (40 to 80 pounds) are recommended for their strength and sensitivity. This helps withstand the power of dogfish sharks and improves bite detection.

Q: Are there specific regulations for dogfish shark fishing off the pier?

A: Check local fishing regulations for any specific rules regarding gear, bait, and size limits for dogfish sharks. Adhering to regulations ensures a responsible and legal fishing experience.

Q: What are some tips for increasing my chances of success?

A: Vary your bait presentation, be patient, and pay attention to tide changes. Experiment with different fishing spots on the pier, and consider fishing during low-light hours for increased activity.

Q: How can I attract dogfish sharks to my fishing area?

A: Using a chum bag filled with cut fish or oily substances creates a scent trail, attracting dogfish sharks. Position the chum bag strategically near your fishing spot for optimal results.

Q: Can I keep dogfish sharks for consumption?

A: Check local regulations regarding the harvest of dogfish sharks. In some areas, dogfish sharks may be subject to size or catch limits, and catch-and-release practices are often encouraged for conservation purposes.

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