WORLD-RECORD SCOR­PION

Sport Fishing - - FISH FACTS - —Ray Wald­ner

We are afraid to clean any­thing now af­ter eat­ing what would have been a world-record Carolina hake. We catch a lot of black­belly rose­fish while fish­ing very deep. This fish ap­pears sim­i­lar, and I’m guess­ing it’s a scorpionfish of some species, of which there seem to be le­gion in that fam­ily. Can you iden­tify the species? Ken Neill York­town, Vir­ginia

Ken, the fish in ques­tion ap­pears to be a spinycheek scorpionfish, Neomerinthe hem­ing­wayi, although I’d re­ally like to see a clear pho­to­graph show­ing one of the fish’s pec­toral fins to be ab­so­lutely cer­tain. The spinycheek scorpionfish ranges from New Jersey to around Florida and into the north­ern Gulf of Mex­ico, in­clud­ing Cam­peche, Mex­ico. It is known to reach a to­tal length of 16 inches and to in­habit depths be­tween 150 and 750 feet over hard-bot­tom ar­eas. Like many scor­pi­onfishes, it is re­puted to be ex­cel­lent eat­ing. Ed. note — The an­gler did get a pos­i­tive ID and did end up weigh­ing the fish — and a good thing: It is now the IGFA all-tackle world record for the species, at 4.39 pounds, the 12th world record set on Neill’s boat, Healthy Grin, and the third for an­gler Roger Burnley.

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