UP CAME A SLIMEHEAD
Fishing off Key Largo, Florida, in 425 feet of water, Jake Dillon caught this fish. We deep-drop often, but we couldn’t find this species (which had
very sharp belly scales) in any of our reference books. Robert Dillon Tavernier, Florida
Jake caught a member of the family Trachichthyidae, often referred to as slimeheads or roughies. They’re closely related to the squirrelfishes common at shallower depths. Based on the number and arrangement of dorsal spines, it’s likely a Darwin’s slimehead,
Gephyroberyx darwinii. In the western Atlantic, this species is known from the shelves and upper slopes of Canada and the United States’ East Coast to the Gulf of Mexico and the Caribbean, in 240 to 2,100 feet of water. It’s also been reported in the eastern Atlantic and Indo-Pacific. Like its better-known cousin, the orange roughy, the slimehead is an excellent food fish. The IGFA all-tackle-worldrecord slimehead, by the way, is held by a 7½-pound fish caught off Virginia in 2008.