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Onshore, Nearshore, Offshore, Reef, Wreck
15 - 27 pounds
27" - 59"
The Dusky Smooth-hound (Mustelus canis) is a type of ground shark primarily found near the coasts off the Western Atlantic, Caribbean Sea, Chesapeake Bay, and the Gulf of Mexico. This shark is a popular fishing target not just for recreational anglers, but for commercial fishers as well.
This shark is relatively smaller than most sharks and much more slender. It has a tapering blunt snout and its large eyes are oval-shaped. Right behind each eye is a distinct spiracle that allows the shark to draw in oxygenated water even if it’s slightly buried in the sand. The shark has two triangular dorsal fins that are almost equal in size, with the first one just a bit bigger than the second one. Its caudal fin is deeply notched and has two asymmetrical lobes. Its coloration may vary from gray to brown on top and the underside much lighter in color, from yellowish gray to white.
Due to its small size and blunt teeth, the Dusky Smooth-hound is considered harmless to humans. This shark is often used as a lab animal and is a popular attraction in public aquariums.
Dusky Smooth-hound sharks aren’t really that big as they only average more or less four feet in length. As for their swimming speed, they are often observed swimming rather sluggishly on the seabed. However, due to their long and slender body and powerful tail, they can actually swim with considerable speed when they’re on a hunt or when they feel threatened.
Like all sharks, the Dusky Smooth-hound is an adept predator and feeds mainly on large crustaceans, including lobsters, shrimp, and crabs, although it may also prey on small fish and mollusks. However, unlike other sharks, this one doesn’t have the razor-sharp teeth that sharks are known for, rather, it is equipped with flat, blunt teeth, which it uses to crush and grind its prey.
Catching a Dusky Smooth-hound via rod and reel doesn’t really warrant any specialized gear. Just make sure your rod-and-reel is tough enough for you to be able to reel in this small-sized shark without any hitch. Using strips of mackerel, herring and squid are said to be the best bait. You can however still use crabs, ragworms, shellfish, and prawns if the aforementioned options are not available. Because this shark is often found on or near the seabed, you will also need to present your bait as close to the bottom as possible by using a long 30lb monofilament line or a braided line with two sinkers.
Dusky Smooth-hound sharks are most abundant along the coasts of Massachusetts, New Jersey, Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina, and both sides of Florida. They can also be found near the shores of Chesapeake Bay, Gulf of Mexico, and the insular waters of the Caribbean Sea.
The bottom-dwelling shark also prefers shallow waters less than sixty feet in depth, although they occasionally wander to the deeper parts of the water at approximately six hundred feet in depth.