Being a little hardheaded is one thing, but this lingcod paid the ultimate price for his stubborness.
Lingcod are a prized bottom fishing catch along the west coast of the Pacific Ocean. These fish often sink their teeth into smaller catches with a death grip. Accordingly, they have been known to bite off more than they can chew, like this lingcod that tried to eat a full grown adult chinook.
This particular lingcod was latched on tight to a Pacific cod that was being hauled on board a commercial boat when one of the deckhands gently reached over the rail and grabbed it by the gills.
Hitch-hiking lingcod like this one are actually more common than you’d think. I asked a few local deckhands if they had any insight into this phenomenon and how to increase the chances of landing one.
Jake Mikoleit, deckhand aboard the Tacklebuster charter boat, says:
“Every hitchhiker acts differently, either extremely aggressive or somewhat timid, just cruising behind the fish. If you see a big ling following your catch up, STOP! Let him grab it, and then slowly start bringing him to the boat—and be ready with the net.”
Justin Mitchell, deckhand aboard the Miss Raven charter boat, says:
“Most of the time, hitch-hikers happen when lingcod are spawning in February and March. It still happens at other times of year, just not as much. They will hitch on anything that is edible and shows sign of distress, but it’s more of a severe hitch during spawning due to their territorial nature. Sometimes you’ll even get lingcod on other lingcod. It’s even more common if it’s overcast. Most of the time, when the sunlight gets super bright on them, they will let go, but you can drop back down and hook up to them again. It is pretty amazing when you can get the ones that just will not let go.”