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  • Writer's pictureGeorgie Bull

Avoiding Deep Hooking: Liam Gunn shares his top tackle tips for targetting spurdog

Updated: Aug 18, 2022

We recently chatted with Spurwatch Ambassador Liam Gunn, who shared some fantastic spurdog specific tackle tips.


Sometimes even the best intentioned anglers can find themselves in a situation where their catch is in poor condition and unlikely to survive. By making sensible decisions about your tackle before you put your lines in the water, you can save yourself and your catch from having a bad day on the boat/shore. If you'd like to find out more about safe handling and best practice for targetting spurdog, feel free to check out our Safe Handling Guide. It's free to download and share. But first and foremost, have a read below of Liam's recommendations. We think they're great.


"If you are considering targeting spurdog, these are my top tips...


You will need some essential tools before you head out to target spurs:

  • Weigh sling (which should be wet before use). You cannot weigh a spurdog safely without one!

  • Long nose pliers

  • T-Bar

  • Wire snips These should only to be used on very deeply hooked fish where you cannot find the hook, and you should snip as close to the hook as possible.

Strong fishing tackle is essential. Spurdog not only have sharp rows of teeth, but can display brute strength, and have rough skin which could easily damage lighter line, which could leave a fish with trailing gear attached if you are unprepared.


I fish with 14 foot beach casting rods, large fixed spool reels and 90lb braided line. I can land these fish quickly, with minimal stress on the fish when using this setup.


My preferred rig is a short, 3 foot total length pulley rig, tied with 150lb monofilament down to a wire biting trace. I always use a rotten bottom weak link to my lead, ensuring that if your lead gets snagged on the ledges or in the kelp, it is easy to break the lead away from your rig, and safely and quickly land your prized spurdog.


Always use a wire trace. They cannot bite through them. My preference is a monofilament coated wire, which is knottable. This is a supple wire, which does not cause any damage to their mouths. As you can knot it, this increases the integrity of your rigs. Crimped wire may fail if the crimps are not crushed properly.


My preference is a single, strong circle hook on the end of the

wire trace. These hooks normally set perfectly in the corner of their mouths and make unhooking very easy. You can de-barb these by crushing the barb with pliers, to make the process easier on you and the fish.


I would strongly suggest not to use a pennel (second) trailing hook, this can in fact make unhooking very tricky and you may risk causing the Spurdogs to bleed and likely not survive."

Advice and images provided courtesy of Liam Gunn - thank you Liam!



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