It was around 1997, off the coast of NC, that I brought my first shark aboard my brother’s center console. We were drift fishing around a manmade reef near Morehead City when some deadweight thing took my frozen shrimp and began pulling. There wasn’t any fight or sport. Just an exercise in lifting a piece of lead to the surface.
Once it surfaced my brother identified it as a dogfish and warned me about the sharp spine in front of it’s dorsal fin. We didn’t keep it but when I got back to Joe’s home I looked it up on the Internet and learned that it was the world’s most common family of sharks and highly prized for its food value. One major market is Northern Europe and the UK where it is sold in fish ‘n chip shops and labeled rock salmon.
American fishermen who harvest dogfish export almost all it to Europe. The fins are sold into Asian markets where it’s made into a cheaper form of shark fin soup.
Since that first dogfish I’ve caught a ton of them. In the colder seasons of NC they may be the only thing you catch and you’ll begin to see them as a nuisance. Most species of shark are great fun to catch. A common one in NC is the Atlantic sharpnose and a 10-20 pounder will let you know you’ve had your string stretched.
I’ve yet to eat shark meat but it’s on my bucket list. I have some trepidations about cleaning one since I’ve read that they urinate through their skin and if you don’t clean them properly the flesh will have the taste and flavor of ammonia. I need an old-timer to be with me and teach me the ropes.
The largest shark, and fish, I’ve caught was a 110 pound spinner shark. I caught it off the pier at Emerald Isle, NC. Took me about an hour to get it to the pier and I had to cut it loose since there was no way I could lift it.
Check out this short video of spinning sharks.