Northern Puffer (Sphoeroides maculatus)

Northern Puffer (Sphoeroides maculatus)

Northen puffer fish, Sphoeroides maculatus
Northern puffer fish, Sphoeroides maculatus

Also known as … Blow Toad, Blowfish, Swell Toad

Description …

The northern puffer has a box like or blunt body shape.  They can rapidly increase their size or alter their shape by swelling their belly with air or water and resemble a sphere.  This is defense mechanism for protection to scare off predators.  They have large rabbit like incisor teeth that look like a beak.  They are light brown in color on the back and sides with a white belly.  They have several dark vertical bars to stripes that run down the sides.  Their fins are yellowish and sometimes have an orange tinge.   

northern puffer fish, blowfish, cape henlopen fishing pier, dsf, delaware surf fishing, bloodworms
Northern puffer fish up close and personal.

The skin is tough and coarse like sand paper, and it is recommended to use gloves when cleaning them to avoid irritation of the angler’s skin.  They are a delicious table fare and are known as chicken of the sea.  The northern puffer inhabits bays, estuaries and protected coastal waters.  They average 7 to 10 inches.  They are caught on the surf, inland bays, and Delaware bay.  Baits include clam, fishbites, bloodworms, and squid on top and bottom rigs.  Often confused with the Burrfish, which have pronounced spines protruding from the skin.

Delaware Creel limit …  None  

puffer, delaware, sussex county,
Puffer caught in the surf by Suzanne Martin








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