If you ever catch one of these freak fish, exercise caution.
Steve Harrison, a professor at Louisiana State University, was surf-fishing at Grayton Beach State Park in Santa Rosa, Fla. when he reeled in a strange fish that he couldn’t identify. The fish had a wide body, a huge mouth with small eyes on the top of its head. It just looked kind of nasty, so Harrison was reluctant to put his hand inside the mystery fish’s mouth to remove the lures.
In search of answers, Harrison posted a pic of the fish in the forums on LousianaSportsman.com. He got thousands of responses, some of which were pretty funny.
“It’s a mother-in-law fish,” one user replied. Another commenter pegged it as an “ex-wife fish.”
The correct answer came from Capt. Tommy Pellegrin, a charter boat captain out of Houma, La. Capt. Pellegrin said it was a stargazer, a venomous nearshore fish.
State wildlife official Jason Adriance also saw the photo and confirmed that it was indeed a stargazer.
“It prefers sandy, silty, rubble-type bottoms, so I’m guessing it’s not as prevalent in the soft mud we have, but you might find it more so in a coarser grained sediment,” Adriance told LouisianaSportsman.com. “It will bury itself in the bottom and keep its eye stalks up above and ambush prey, waiting for something to get close enough and then sucking it in whole.”
Stargazers are not to be trifled with. Their defense systems include venomous external spikes and electric organs that can generate a 50-volt shock. It’s a good thing Harrison didn’t put his hand in the freak fish’s mouth after all.
What’s the strangest fish you’ve ever caught? Let us know in the comments section.