The Cabezon is somewhat of an under loved reef fish. They are typically just bycatch for people out targeting more thrilling bottom fish. But they have a unique body, bizarre color patterns, and pretty tasty fillets. Catching a Cabezon really builds on the variety of fish you can catch in rocky inshore areas.
Scientific Name: Scorpaenichthys Marmoratus
Geographic Range: Southeast Alaska to Baja California
Typical Depth: Inshore to 200′
Typical Weight: 5 pounds to 20 pounds
Cabezon are a favorite bonus catch for fishermen out targeting Lingcod and Rockfish. Their fillets are very similar in flavor. Unlike Lingcod and Rockfish, the Cabezon doesn’t yield much of its body weight in fillets. They feed on any crustacean they can find, and have a powerful bite and sharp toothy crushing pads at the back of their mouth used to pulverize shells.
How to Identify Cabezon
A Cabezon’s most noticeable feature is the disproportionate relation of its head and body. Half of a Cabezon’s total weight can be it’s head. They are a scaleless fish with marbled patterns of brown-red, brown-black, brown-green, blue-green. Coloring is primarily based off the need to camouflage with their surroundings. They have a mouth smaller than a Lingcod and ringed with small rows of teeth, designed to crush clam shells and crabs. Which are their primary diet.
Where Cabezon Live
Cabezon prefer rocky areas, anywhere from the inter tidal zone to about 200′ deep. Kelp covered inshore areas, reefs, rocky ledges and pinnacles are home to the Cabezon. They are almost always found resting on the seafloor, unless they are lazily cruising the reef looking for the next meal.