Big Stargazers Hitting In The Surf

 

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Greg Baum caught a 23″ 7.1lb stargazer at 3RS on Saturday while surf fishing.

I have no idea why but this time of year attracts some of the biggest stargazers we have ever seen in the surf.  They will hit mullet rigs, and top and bottom rigs with chunk bait.  They are huge too, not like the little ones we see in the summer, these are three to four times their size.  Once in a while you will see one swim into the wash and bury itself into the sand.  When the water recedes all you see is a face sticking out of the sand.  This is how they hunt for food, waiting for prey to swim past them and then they strike.   Not long ago this summer, a picture of a stargazer in the sand went viral warning people of the dangers of this fish.  The only danger is a mild shock you can receive if you touch the spot between their eyes.  Even the freaky looking teeth aren’t really teeth, but give the stargazer a menacing appearance.  So people thought that stepping on one would hurt them. That couldn’t be further from the truth, like any other creature the first response is to runaway from danger not run towards it.

They are actually good to eat and rumored to taste like lobster.  I think people confuse the monkfish with the stargazer, since both are one ugly looking fish.  Stargazers have flaky white meat that reminds you of the texture of lobster meat but doesn’t taste anything like lobster.  If that were the case I don’t think any would be left in the ocean.

 

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19 inch Stargazer caught at the point by Jen released by Paul Jonovic
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Why these big ones show up this time of year is beyond me, maybe they are beefing up for the winter.  They are certainly fat and thick looking.  Spawning occurs in May to June so the big ones in the surf in the fall has nothing to do with reproduction.  Either way they are a different catch that usually freaks out the unsuspecting angler.  In the summer they are readily caught around the inland bays.  Targeting this species is nearly impossible.  Based on the video below if they are not swimming around looking for food you have to literally hit them on the head with your rig to catch one.  When they hit while in the sand and stay in the sand, that makes for some serious pullage, to the point you might think you are snagged instead of hooked up with one of these beasts.

Fish On!

Rich King

 

Stargazer eating a crustacean … 

 

 

 

 

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