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Pseudobatos Productus



Inshore, Flats

2 - 47 pounds

35" - 54"

Shovelnose Guitarfish Game Fish Quality Very Good
Shovelnose Guitarfish Meal Quality Poor
Shovelnose Guitarfish Fly Fishing Quality Poor

Shovelnose Guitarfish

Shovelnose Guitarfish
Also Known As: Shovel-Nose Shark, Guitarfish, Pointed-Nose Guitarfish  

Shovelnose Guitarfish (Rhinobatos productus) Fish Description

The Shovelnose Guitarfish, also known as the shovelnose shark, sand shark, or guitarfish, is a small-bodied ray with wing-like pectoral fins, much like other rays, but its body built more similarly to a shark. 

They have a long, pointed snout and a guitar-shaped body which gives them their name. Their bodies are compressed from belly to back, as guitarfish are adaptive to life on the sand. Shovelnose guitarfish colors range from olive to sandy brown on their upper bodies, and white undersides, which help them blend into their surroundings.


Diet and Size

The majority of the Shovelnose guitarfish prey also lives on the bottom. Their diet offers a variety of benthic fishes, invertebrates, and decapods like shrimps and crabs.  Fully grown fish of this species can reach up to 47 inches for males and 54 inches for females. They can weigh up to 47 lbs and live up to 11 years.


Interesting Facts

  • Initially thought by scientists to be a shark, due to its shark-like body. But thanks to recent studies, they've found that the Shovelnose guitarfish to be rays instead and related to the diverse group of skates.
  • The numbers of the Shovelnose guitarfish has been depleted significantly, to the point where the species may be near threatened with extinction. There is continuous and ongoing monitoring for the guitarfish populations to ensure that this wouldn't happen.
  • Shovelnose guitarfish are able to remain perfectly still due to the ability to pump water over their gills.
  • Shovelnose guitarfish are totally harmless to people, in comparison to some other rays, because they do not have any barbs or "stingers."
  • The guitarfishes are referred to as a group of skates. 


Fishing Techniques

The Shovelnose guitarfish are most commonly seen during seasons such as summer or fall.

In comparison to other pier, anglers come across, the Shovelnose guitarfish is a large fish. A medium saltwater tackle would be most appropriate, using a 20 lb test line and size 2-4/0 hooks.

Any bait for this type of fish would be a hit, but what seems to work best are baits such as live anchovies, smelt, shiner perch, and brown baits like small queenfish or white croakers. You could also choose from a selection of ghost shrimp, squid, clams, innkeeper worms, and cut mackerel. 

Be sure to fish your bait as close to the bottom as possible, within shallow water a bit past the breakers.


Habitat and Distribution

Shovelnose guitarfish, like most rays, can be found inhabiting the seafloor, typically settled either on soft sandy seafloor in bays, seagrass beds, and estuaries or muddy bottoms and near rocky reefs. Usually less than 40 feet of water.

They are commonly found from the range of central California south to the Gulf.