The cabezon (Scorpaenichthys marmoratus) is a large species of sculpin native to the Pacific coast of North America. Although the genus name translates literally as "scorpion fish", true scorpionfish (such as lionfish) belong to the related family Scorpaenidae. The cabezon is the only known member of its genus.
The cabezon is a scaleless fish with a broad bony support extending from the eye across the cheek just under the skin. Normally it has 11 spines on the dorsal fin. The cabezon also has a stout spine before the eye, an anal fin of soft rays, and a fleshy flap on the middle of the snout. A pair of longer flaps are just behind the eyes. The mouth is broad with many small teeth. The coloring varies, but is generally mottled with browns, greens and reds. >90% of red fish are males, whereas >90% of green fish are females. It reaches up to 99 cm (3 ft 3 in) in length and 14 kg (31 lb) in weight. As the Spanish-origin name implies, the fish has a very large head relative to its body.
Distribution and habitat
Cabezon feed on crustaceans, mollusks, fish and fish eggs. Cabezon are taken as a game fish, however their roe is toxic to humans., because of the occurrence of a toxic phospholipid (Dinogunellin). Cabezon inhabit the tops of rocky ledges as opposed to rockfish and lingcod, which usually inhabit the sheer faces of these features.
The current world record for cabezone on hook and line is 23 lb (10 kg) in Juan de Fuca Strait, WA on Aug. 4, 1990 by Wesley Hunter. How to fish for Cabezon with hook and line. Cabezon can be caught with #50 fishing line with a treble hook and a weight at the terminal end of the line. You open the reel and drop your line straight down to the top of the reef, click your bail closed, reel it up about one to three feet, and bump your weight up and down on the reef. The noise and vibration attract the Cabezon to bite.
- International Game Fish Association "World Saltwater Records"
- Occurrence of a toxic phospholipid in cabezon roe