Awesome fish captured by Barnstaple angler is just six ounces off the record...

A near British record shore-caught spurdog has been landed by a Barnstaple angler.

Tarrant Wotton was fishing after dark on a North Devon rock mark when he hooked the 16lb 6oz member of the shark family.

The fish didn’t give much away until he saw its eyes glowing in the light of his headlamp and quickly called for his mate Lee Watts to grab the net.

The fish took a whole joey mackerel and was just six ounces off the British record.

If you want to try for something a bit different in the winter months, now is the time to target these fish – any time from late December through January and into February is worth a crack.

Pick a deep water rock mark with a good tidal flow and use mackerel, squid or fish baits on the ebbing tide. A live-baited whiting is also a good bait.

Be warned – spurs have teeth and are willing to use them! No more dangerous than dealing with a bull huss, but respect the business end when unhooking.

The fish also has distinctive ‘spurs’ on both its dorsal fins and these will give you a nasty jab if you don’t handle them with care.

As with any sharks – which do not have a rib cage to support internal organs – they are fairly delicate fish and need to be well supported along their body length when you handle them.

The teeth also mean it is a very good idea to use 120-150lb mono for your hook trace…

Spurdogs will be caught in huge numbers from angling boats right up to April, but their shore window tends to be much smaller and they can usually be found inshore when the whiting are about in numbers.

Try after a good storm has stirred things up a bit, but be warned, their trips inshore can be unpredictable and it’s a matter of getting out there and trying your luck.

Have you got a question you’d like to ask Tony? Drop him an email: tony.gussin@archant.co.uk.