Coalfish are one of the hardestfighting species of fish caught off the coast of the UK, especially so when taken on light tackle. Traditionally, coalfish were not highly regarded as a food source, their white flesh lacking the flavour and texture of similar species, but in recent years, ‘coalie fillets’ have increasingly appeared on fresh fish stalls.
Depending on location, the average size of coalfish caught is probably between 1-3lb, but in some areas, notably deep-water wrecks, doublefigure specimens are regularly caught.
Fish to more than 30lb are caught in both Iceland and Norway. The British boat-caught record for coalfish stands at 37lb 5oz (below), with a fish caught off a wreck near the Eddystone Reef in 1986.