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Tadpole Fish, Raniceps racincus

Irish Record Fish: not recognised
Caught: not recognised
Boat Specimen: not recognised
Shore Specimen: not recognised
Photo Credit:

with thanks to Erling Svenson

Introduction: Another rare catch, one turned up in the small boat competition in October 2003 held in Rosslare, Co. Wexford and more recently in November 2004 Ronald Surgenor has landed a small specimen from the pier at Bangor in Northern Ireland on a small hook rig in a species hunt waiting for the Congers to rattle his boat rod.  They are regularly caught off the shore over mixed or rough ground all around the British Isles.  A relatively small fish, not likely to exceed 1.5 lbs (800 grams), it has several common names including lesser forkbeard and lesser torsk. Easily distinguished by its shape and forked beard (barbules), it has a large mouth for its size.  A shy species, it is usually found in heavy cover over rough ground.

Boat tactics: Typically caught on legered organic baits, and specifically on the bottom over rough or mixed ground, this is definitely one worth a photograph, and then pop it back in...

Shore tactics: Given its relatively small size, you would imagine that you would need to be using hooks under 2/0 and equally small worm or other organic baits, but not a bit of it!  These things have mouths that can gape massively and will happily tackle much bigger baits, including mackerel flappers on 6/0s destined for a tope!  Tadpole fish tend to be caught mostly over mixed ground and rough weedy ground in relatively deep water and appear to be more common the further north you travel, although with so few reports... for the record Ronald took his on a size 4 hook on 12 lb mono and it weighed less than 300 grams. You can get a good look at it for identification purposes from his photo in the gallyer on page 15.