SMALL GUY WITH A BIG EYE
Have you seen one of these, mate? If so, what is it?
Riley Tolmay Sydney, Australia
What you’ve caught there, Riley, is a longfinned bigeye ( Cookeolus japonicus), one of the more notable members of the family Priacanthidae ( bigeyes). This species occurs worldwide on deep rocky reefs in coastal waters between 120 and 1,200 feet deep. Like other priacanthids, C. japonicus prefers lowlight conditions — hence the bigeye’s big eyes — and is found inside caves
and holes, usually venturing from these areas only to feed at night. It mainly eats planktonic shrimp, crabs and other small prey, including squid and octopuses. Because of this, it is occasionally encountered by anglers who are lucky enough to put their bait right next to — or into — the hole or ledge in the reef where a bigeye is hiding. In the Caribbean, this species is thought to spawn during the summer. It’s one of the larger priacanthids, growing to around 28 inches long and 10 or so pounds. You could enter the next one you catch to qualify for the IGFA all-tackle world record as, to date, no one has entered a longfinned.