Posted by: socalsalty | February 15, 2012

An Oldie But Goodie – The Hitchhiker Ling

I work for a company called UberMedia.  We’re the company that launched a new social network, Chime.In.  One of my colleagues shared a chime tonight about a “carpet shark” swallowing a “bamboo shark” whole.  The picture was shot on the Great Barrier Reef off Australia.  I replied that it was a great pic, but it didn’t surprise me seeing a fish that size take on a big meal like the other shark.

How many times do we see a little sculpin swallowing a whole squid or two or four?  Lots right?  What can a ling cod do?  Which reminded me of some cool pics I had from pre-SoCalSalty days.

It was November of 2010.  I was out on a 3/4 day trip on Santa Monica Bay on the Spitfire.  It was a great day of rockfishing.  I love the rhythm of those rides with Capt. Jeremy…go out deep, knock out some nice reds and chuckies, fish mid-column for salmon grouper and belinda/bank perch, and then go inshore a little way to top off our bags with a limit of sculpin and call it day.  If you got a ling, good chance you were going to win jackpot.

Hitcher Ling on a Canary Rockfish

On this particular day, I was that guy that got the ling early in the trip.  It’s that big slug you see on my twitter page.  That sucker was 17 lbs!  I thought for sure I was going to win and then something happened behind me.  There was this group of 4 English tourists.  They were mainly drinking and enjoying the sunshine…not really paying attention to fishing.  We were in a spot that was yielding canary rockfish, a protected species here in California.  Jeremy was getting ready to bail, and told us to wind ’em up.  It was at this point that one of the tourists figured out that his line was really heavy (go figure).  This is what came up…a hitchhiker ling cod, attached to a canary rockfish.  We call it a hitchiker because it isn’t actually hooked, it’s just along for the ride.  It bit the other fish and wouldn’t let go.  This sort of aggressive behavior is one of the reasons I love lings so much.  Sucked a little because it bested me for the jackpot, but a pretty dang cool sight to see.  I’ve seen it happen a few times since and it gets me excited every time.  Enjoy!

Just a couple weeks until rockfish season reopens – March 1st!

Photos courtesy of Capt. Jeremy Maltz

Deckhand Derek Cano with The Hitcher


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