Don’t let those surf rods collect dust until spring. Break them out and hit the beach or pier for some awesome fishing for spiny dogfish sharks.
Andy Jonjevic is a local fisherman who is enjoying his retirement, much of it spent fishing off the Folly Beach Pier south of Charleston. While most other surf fisherman are at home trying to stay warm, you will find Jonjevic on the pier hooking into dogfish sharks, most of them between 2 and 4 feet long.
Spiny dogfish come to school off the beach to spawn in December and will stay until spring arrives.
“When the school comes by, you better be ready for some fast action. It’s fun; it gets hectic,” said Jonjevic, who said it’s not uncommon to have multiple rods double over when a school swims through an area. “The other weekend, when my buddy and I were out here, we had four rods doubled over with the drag clicking.”
Jonjevic prefers a medium-action spinning outfit spooled with 30-pound braid, a Carolina rig with a 3-ounce weight and a 6/0 circle hook tied to the leader. He typically uses a slice of cut mullet for bait.
“You can go a while without a bite, and then have a school come through and have constant action for the next 30 minutes,” said Jonjecvic. “It’s quick action, and then they leave.”
Sometimes it can get so hectic that Jonjecvic has to recruit help from tourists standing around, watching the battle.
“I enjoy seeing others get excited over seeing others over reeling in a fish,” said Jonjevic. “After reeling in a fish, many people will go rent gear and head out and join me; it brings a tremendous amount of business to the local tackle shops.”
Jonjevic enjoys letting children reel in a fish.
“It is nice to see the kids get excited reeling a fish in. They will never forget that,” said Jonjevic.
Mark Patric of Charleston, who manages the Folly Beach Pier, recognizes that if you are fishing off the pier or in the surf, it is almost inevitable that you’ll hook a spiny dogfish. He stresses to anglers not to use pier nets to land them, but just put on gloves, hand-line them up, get the hook out and release them.