Grey Smoothhound Shark

Species: Mustelus californicus from the Latin words mustela (weasel-colored) and californicus referring to its geographic distibution.

Alternate Names: Gray shark, sand shark, paloma, or dogfish.

Identification: Very similiar to the leopard shark, but the coloring is a light gray back fading to a lighter belly; with no bars or spots.

Size: To just over five feet in length (64.25 inches). Most caught off piers are under four feet in length.

Range: From Mazatlan, Mexico to Cape Mendocino.

Habitat: Most common south of Point Conception in bays or sandy-beach areas.

Piers: Most pier-caught grays are taken from piers south of Dana Point. Best Bets: Imperial Beach Pier, Ocean Beach, Crystal Pier, Oceanside Pier, Belmont Pier, Santa Monica Pier and Ventura Pier.

Bait and Tackle: Medium tackle with a size 2 to 4/0 hook. Best baits are live or frozen anchovies, squid, mackerel or clams fished just outside the second set of breakers.

Food Value: A mild flavored flesh suited to several methods of cooking. The best method is probably grilled. It does need to be cleaned properly and kept cool before cooking.

Comments: Late afternoon to early evening hours seem to be the best time to fish for this species.