Smoothhounds (Mustelus mustelus) are members of the shark family and whilst they are technically toothless they do have very hard crushing pads and powerful jaws and are capable of causing fairly serious damage to fingers!
These hard-crushing powerful jaws make light work of their target food source "Crabs".
The Smoothhounds move closer inshore to take advantage of the crab moult, and Peeler crab is always a firm favourite bait, but hard back crabs and also squid baits will always be responsible for catching, and often these baits will result in the larger quality specimens being caught. Those using ragworm will generally catch the smaller Smoothhounds, often referred to as Pups.
Smoothhounds or Smuts as they are affectionately known locally are a really hard fighting sport fish and are prolific in and around the Solent during late spring and early summer. Smoothhounds can grow to around 30lb although a 10-15lb would be classed as a nice fish with numerous 15-20+ fish being caught every year.
Rigs are very basic and a simple running lead set up will do the job. It is recommended that a hook snood be at least 40-60lb or more as Smoothhounds have very rough skin and abrasion will soon wear through lighter lines, hooks should be strong with 3/0 to 6/0 being about the right size. Circle hooks will ensure the fish is hooked in the mouth, which will aid its return unharmed.
Lighter rods can provide better sport and some anglers use lighter carp rods! However, this is not always practical in a fierce tide so a 12lb - 20lb class boat rod is often the best all round choice. The Smoothhound is considered a sporting fish and anglers are encouraged to catch and release. This being said though, there are many that enjoy eating Smoothhound.
A favourite recipe is to prepare the white flesh into thumb size goujons. Freezing the flesh will ensure there is no taint of ammonia as is sometimes reported. To cook, defrost, dip in beaten egg and roll in breadcrumbs seasoned with paprika. Deep fry and eat as you would Scampi.