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Species Profile: Prickly Shark (Echinorhinus Cookei)

Author: Terra Firma Tackle

Prickly Sharks From Land     

Species Info:

              The Prickly Shark (Echinorhinus cookei) is one of the rarest sharks in the world, and they have been recently discovered within reach of landbased anglers in California! They belong to a very small family of sharks with only two surviving species alive today, the “bramble sharks”. These fish have recently been discovered to swarm certain areas at certain times of the year in seemingly enormous aggregate groups. Easily distinguished from most sharks by its pair of closely spaced dorsal fins near the tail, extremely rough skin, thick slime coat and pointed snouts, these large sharks are incredible fighters and grow to 10 feet (some sources speculate 13’!) in length. Their mouths are adorned with a plethora of comb shaped cutting teeth allowing them to feed on nearly anything they encounter! They are flexible and even jump when hooked!


              Pete, Re-Pete, Prickle Rick, “F*CK THAT HURTS”!


              Prickly sharks are rarely encountered by humans, let alone anglers, but this is only due to their habitat preferences. Like Sixgills sharks, these fish typically spend their time in extreme depths, only gathering within reach of land rarely and at certain times of year.

              Despite their sluggish appearance, Prickly Sharks are extremely powerful fighters when compared to other shark species with their body type. They typically bite very softly but then make a seemingly impossibly powerful run once hooked. After the initial battle the fight becomes more of a tug of war until the fish realizes it is in shallow water where it is likely to jump akin to a sevengill. For this reason very heavy tackle should be utilized. LBSF gear of at least 100lb class should be considered a minimum to ensure these fish reach the beach when hooked. Most anglers opt for a braided line such as Bullbuster Braid ( with a long “rub leader” or shock leader of monofilament. This shock leader is important as a result of the Prickly Sharks tendency to roll in the fishing line and their extremely abrasive skin is damaging to even the heaviest of lines. Usually 10-12 feet of heavy mono such as Bullbuster Leader Material ( is used as a rub leader to make sure the angler lands their quarry.

              Rigs should be built heavy, large hooks, large diameter cable and long sections of heavy mono should be utilized to subdue these fish. They are rare to hook and the angler should do everything they can to maximize their chances of landing these incredible fish when they are encountered.


              Prickly Sharks can be found all along the California coast, but seem to only exist in high concentrations around very deep areas. When seeking locations to target these fish, search for areas with steep drop offs close to shore. Consider 300’ a minimum depth, but unlike Sixgills, when the fish are located multiple bites is to be expected and double hook ups are a common occurrence. These are a schooling fish and seem to be present in large numbers when they are present at all.


              Prickly Sharks are apparently most active in the summer months, rising into shallower water in large numbers during the warmer season. This puts them within range of the landbased angler for a short window starting in early summer and ending before fall.  

Thanks for reading! For more information and rigs for targeting these fish please check out our own website at!

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