Shark, Shovelnosed

(Rhynchobatus djiddensis)

Commonly referred to as Shovelies!

The shovel nosed shark is a robust species that is often confused for a member of the ray family due to their large, triangle shaped head. They are however not a member of the ray family and display all the typical characteristics of a shark apart from teeth. Shovel nosed sharks are a robust species that have earned the reputation of being tough, dogged fighters!

Distribution

Shovel nosed sharks can be located from as far south as the Albany right up to the magnificent Kimberley region throughout Western Australia and also in N.S.W., Queensland and the Northern Territory.

Growth

Shovel nosed sharks are one of the smaller species of shark encountered throughout Australia and generally grow to around 300kg in weight and reach a maximum length of around 3.5meters although a typical size Shovel nose is around 10 – 20kg in most locations with larger fish averaging between 100 – 300kg rarely encountered.

Habitat

Shovel nosed sharks prefer shallow, coastal waters with depths of around 30 meters or less with large numbers of bait fish present. They are generally found in shallow sand environments and surf breaks.

Identification

Shovel nosed sharks are easily recognised by their large, shovel shaped heads and faint white spots which are visible along the full length of the body and head. They are robustly built with two large dorsal fins present. The eyes are extremely small and are located just in front of the gills which are a pair of oddly shaped holes that seem to be the sharks eyes. The shovel nosed shark is light brown in colouration with faint white spots.

Taste rating

  • Zero Taste Rating
    0%

Large shovel nosed sharks over 60kg plus, like most shark species, are considered to be more of a sport/game fish and should be immediately released upon capture unless the angler wishes to take the fish for a record claim! Small shovelies around 10 – 20kg in weight and smaller have a reputation for being quite good eating.

Sport rating

  • Seventy Sport Rating
    70%

Large shovel nosed sharks are a tough, dogged species of shark that will test even the finest shore based anglers skill!

Tackle requirements

Shovel nosed sharks are generally taken as a bi catch by most beach and rock anglers whilst targeting other more popular table species such as mulloway and tailor. Shore based anglers require long, strong rods and reels capable of casting long distances that can handle line classes of between 15 – 24kg and plenty of it! Wire or heavy nylon/fluoro carbon leader materials are also necessary to prevent being rubbed off on their rough heads during long battles.

Recommended baits, lures and rigs

Shovel nosed sharks will eat a variety of  fresh or live bait fish including mullet, whiting, tailor, and herring.  They are also quite partial to a feed of squid! All rigs need to be made of wire or heavy nylon/flouro carbon to prevent rub offs during lengthy battles and hook points should be sharpened for extra penetration.

Handy hints and tips

Always use fresh baits and ensure hook points are extra sharp.

Preferred fishing times and tides

Shovel nosed sharks prefer to feed at low light periods such as dawn and dusk or on a tide change during day or night. Night fishing around a high tide on a full moon is also a perfect time!

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