Addended Answers to Yesterday's Quiz
(If you are not a fish nerd turn back now!)
Here's a photo of our winner: Northern Boy (http://addictedtofishing.blogspot.com) Which proves that the monkeyface readership is not merely nerds but dyed in the wool fish killers...
A: rock prickleback (Xiphister mucosus)
The rock prickleback (rock eel) is usually caught by poke polers targeting monkeyface eels. There are a few select individuals who target them specifically (all this means is that they use a smaller hook and less bait). Rock eel meat is actually a tad better than monkeyface and tends to not be quite as iodiney, though they are much bonier. Most poke polers mistake them for small monkeyfaces and throw them back not knowing they just released the best eating fish of the day. Personally, I catch maybe one rock eel for every 20 monkeyface. If you are interested: the key to identifying them is the tiny pectoral fin. That and the hard rays in the dorsal (which a monkeyface lacks).
B: brown Irish lord (Hemilepidotus hemilepidotus)
This is a cool species, with an awesome sounding name. Would love to find out who named it this and why. I've seen 6 of them over the last five years. Always in the summer off the jetties in HMB. Too small to eat. Throw 'em back.
C: giant sea bass (Stereolepis gigas)
This summer a guy comes back to the dock at Berkeley and tells me he's got "a huge surf perch, or maybe a calico bass" in the hatch (see yesterday's "exhibit C"). Imagine the look on the guy's face when I told him his fish was not, in fact, a surf perch or a calico bass but an immature specimen of the fish pictured above. Poor guy (luckily for him there were no DFG personnel on hand or he would've been a lot poorer). The waters off Point Bonita sure seem to hold a lot of uncommon guests. Kind of like a hotel for big gamefish species that rarely venture into the bay. On the subject of giant sea bass, I spoke to a fine upstanding fisherman recently who told me he has caught a few of these over the years along the shoreline near SFO and at a rather famous sewer swirl also in the south bay. This has been confirmed by several other credible sources who also tell me they have (very) occasionally caught broomtail grouper in these same areas. Fancy that.
D: striped kelp fish (Gibbonsia metzi)
Big John from the Oyster Point bait shop saved this little guy for me. It was the only striped kelpfish I've ever seen. Caught it in a shiner trap under one of the docks in the marina. Cool fish.
E: soupfin shark (Galeorhinus galeus)
Soupfin are caught in SF Bay in the summer. Never in great numbers. Although there are a few boats and a few shore guys who target them exclusively. In fact there used to be a boat called The Fury, that ran out of the San Pablo marina that had this dialed in. There have also been quite a few commercial boats that dabbled in soupfins over the years. Always cool to see the larger pisciverous sharks in sf bay. As I remember this one was caught on the Berkeley Pier.
F: buffalo sculpin (Enophrys bison)
Strangely, I went four years and in that time only saw these buggers on Fort Point pier... and then this summer they showed up in droves--everywhere. I actually saw one boat come back to the harbor in Princeton with the whopping total of six! Why anyone would keep a buffalo sculpin is beyond me (soup stock maybe?) There is literally no way to handle this species without the risk of puncturing or lacerating your hands. I yelled at a guy who was tossing small buffalo sculpins to sea gulls at the dock one day. Even now, months later, I am outraged by this. Not only for the waste of fish but for the inevitable death of the seagulls that were attempting to swallow them. People like this make me lose whatever fleeting hopes I have for the human race...
And on that note it's time to go!
This is Lombard Of The Intertidal from deep in the stacks of our California based research library, signing out.