Pier Fishing in California

Resources :: California Fish

Grey Smoothhound Shark

Grey Smoothhound Shark


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.


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


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


From Mazatlan, Mexico to Cape Mendocino.


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


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.


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