Lionfish Fishing

Lionfish

Lionfish
  • Size 1–2 lb
  • Food Value Excellent
  • Game Qualities Average
  • Habitats Nearshore

(Pterois)

The saying “looks can be deceiving” has never been truer than with the Lionfish. With elaborately-colored flowing spikes that have earned it the nickname “peacock of the sea,” you’d never guess that it’s one of the most poisonous fish around. Lionfish fishing is the perfect way to test your wits, restore order on the reefs, and put something tasty on the table!

How Big?

The Lionfish rarely grows bigger than 16 inches with a maximum weight of 2 pounds. This makes it one of the more surprising killers in the ocean, with those toxic flowing spikes more than making up for the fish's small stature.

Where and When

Native to the Indo-Pacific, the Lionfish has since invaded the West Atlantic, the Caribbean, and the Mediterranean, upsetting the balance of marine life in these waters. Luckily, anglers around the world are already doing their bit to restore the native fish populations of these areas – the Lionfish has gone from being the hunter to the hunted!
 
 
The main reason this fish has left such a path of destruction in its wake is due to its adaptability. Basically, it’s not picky about anything, including its habitat. It prefers to lurk around reefs, but can be found in waters ranging in depths from 1–300 feet. The best time to target it is during the early mornings and late evenings, when this greedy fish is likely to be feeding.

How to Catch

Thanks to its love of reefs and rocky underwater structure, the most popular way to target the Lionfish is by snorkeling with a spear or speargun in hand. Shallow-water reefs simply require a snorkel and spear of your choice, whereas full diving gear and a spear gun are recommended for deeper waters. 
 
Make sure you wear gloves and protective clothing, as these fish are highly toxic, even to humans. If you’re deep diving, we recommend taking a thick-walled dive bag that you can throw your fish in once you’ve speared ‘em.

Good to Eat?

It might seem strange to consider eating a fish covered in venomous spikes, but the Lionfish is safe for consumption – and delicious! By chowing down on this invasive species, you’ll also be contributing towards saving local marine life, which will make your table fare taste even better.
 

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