Shovelnose Guitarfish

The shovelnose guitarfish is essentially a cross between a shark and a ray. It has the dorsal fins of a shark with an elongated shark-like body. At the same time, it has a flattened build giving it ray-like features. These fish (or shark) have come a long way as their evolution is likely an incredible story. These are some pretty awesome fish. One thing they aren’t commonly known for is how clean and tasty of meat they provide. Click the link to learn how to fillet a shovelnose guitarfish.

Shovelnose Guitarfish
Video: How to Fillet a Shovelnose Guitarfish

Many anglers overlook the shovelnose guitarfish in terms of surf fishing. They’re commonly placed in the same category as stingrays: pesky fish that you hope you don’t have to deal with. In my opinion, shovelnose guitarfish are an incredibly fun catch. Firstly, they are very strong fish! Secondly, they don’t have barbs like stingrays do, so it’s all the fun with no fear of getting stabbed. Its a win-win! Lastly, these fish can get very big And to top it off, they can surprise you by taking your bait in just inches of water!

What makes fishing for guitarfish so unique? Their distinguishing capabilities and tendencies within the fight! Since they’re built with both shark-like and ray-like features, they possess both fighting characteristics! They can go on runs just like Leopard Sharks will, yet, when they exhaust themselves, instead of easing up, allowing the angler to reel in some line, they suck to the ground and don’t budge! If you ever find yourself in a fight with a 4-foot plus Guitar fish on a light set-up, you’re in for a treat and a challenge!

Legal Limit (#)N/A
Legal Size (in)N/A
Record Size (in/lb)61.5-inches/40-pounds
Fighting Strength (-/10)8/10
RangeGulf of California, Mexico – Northern California
All information within this chart and this page is unofficial. Refer to the Department of Fish and Wildlife for official numbers and regulations.

Shovelnose Guitarfish Fishing Tendencies

Guitar Fish will roam the shallows as well as the deeper waters. Similarly, because of their unique build, they can continue to pull out drag and fight harder than most fish when they’re in only inches of water. A certain phenomenon that isn’t talked about at all (in my experience) is unique to Guitar Fish and it’s something worth seeing. Even more so, it’s something worth fishing. you ever wonder what makes something really cool? Well, if you’re wondering what makes surf fishing in San Diego so unique and cool. I’ve got an answer for you. And before you continue reading, this is only one of the reasons that Surf Fishing is simply incredible. It’s under-rated, under-appreciated, and if you try it out, you’ll get a chance to experience the reason why first-hand.

Guitarfish Beaching Themselves

During peak season in the summer months, the hours just before, during and immediately after sunrise and sunset trigger these fish to be extremely bold. Guitar Fish will scour ultra-shallow waters for sand crabs. When I say “ultra-shallow”, I mean that in some cases, these fish will beach themselves as they attempt to suck up the sand crabs from beneath the sand. In case you don’t believe me, I will be providing footage of this very soon (by July 2020). The photo above is of a guitar fish that I caught by hand as it was scouring the shallows!

During peak season, on some mornings, this goes for both Guitarfish and Corbina as well as Spotfins occasionally. You’ll see them right around sunrise. They’ll come nearly onto the shore, dig there noses in the sand and search for sand crabs. If you can’t see them at first, look for little divots in the sand that are left by their noses when the water recedes.

To shop for gear and tackle click here or follow me on. Please take the time to visit our surf fishing reports page and subscribe for weekly fishing reports on San Diego’s beaches.

Subscribe to our newsletter!