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Cape Cod Doggone Dogfish!

Every year, when Cape Cod anglers find the fishing at its most exciting and resultful best, sure as fate the worst pest they know, unless it’s the skate, is sure to show up in the water and spoil the sport.

That pest is the doggone dogfish, and sure as June 1st comes after May 31st, the dogfish appear on the scene. They drive every fisherman frantic. “They move along parallel to the beach in schools so thick you could almost walk on their backs. With skin like sandpaper, all your line has to do is touch one of them and the line starts to fray. More plugs are popped off, and more swear words turn the air blue at this time, than at any other time of the season.”

The dogfish, in case you may not know the fact, are a species of small, gray, shorewater shark, warmblooded, greedy, and generally unpleasant.

Time was when people thought the dogfish were inedible; it was, nevertheless, prepared and sold as a food fish, for the fishermen wanted to get rid of them. Needless to say, it was not sold as dogfish! Actually, the dogfish is a nutritious and easily digested food. The oil obtained from the dogfish is used commercially. In some places, the flesh is dried and used for winter food.

The dogfish was always a nuisance of the worst kind to commercial fishermen. Then in the late 1980’s a dogfish fishery was developed. I took part in this fishery for a few years with my gillnetter. We caught tons and tons of dogfish every day.

Picking dogfish from a gillnet is not all that hard if you can avoid being spined. We didn’t have to gut or clean them, we just piled ‘em up on the deck and let ‘em bake in the summer sun until we unloaded them.

I guess they are sold as “fish and chips” in Europe. (I would be rather hesitant to order fish and chips in Europe) Recently however the NMFS has pretty much eliminated the fishery and the dogfish will again be the scourge of many a fishing trip, both recreational and commercial.

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Cape Cod
Posted by Cape Cod - (website) on 02/22/06
Categories: FishingNature
Keywords: fishing, critters, nature


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