enter image description here

After catching a bunch of mangrove snapper using live shrimp, my son caught this fish in about a foot of brackish saltwater water off a dock near a rock wall in Vero Beach at around 10:00 AM on July 5th. Fish was about 6 inches long and had a wide mouth with small pointy teeth and what appeared to be two small horns/bumps that protruded from behind its eyes. Never encountered it before.

  • $\begingroup$ Juvenile snakehead? $\endgroup$ Jul 5, 2019 at 19:15
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Looks like a sculpin (Cottoidea, Cottus). Hard to pin down what kind as there are a bunch, but that very wide head is pretty distinctive. $\endgroup$ Jul 6, 2019 at 5:42

2 Answers 2


Expanding my comment into an answer as no one else has jumped in-

This fish closely resembles a sculpin of some kind. This is a very large and diverse family, but many of them share distinctive features. The quite wide head and horns that you describe and show are common in this family. Where I am from (Northwest USA), the Red Irish Lord / cabezon is a gamefish sculpin that can grow to be quite large, and closely resembles this picture of yours (a rather small specimen shown in Figure 1).


Figure 1.

Based on where you are in Vero Beach (Florida?), I have looked a little bit and there is a chance that it is a Gulf Toadfish (Figure 2) based on its appearance and where you caught it. Here is another fisherman's account (with pictures) of a similar fish.

wikipedia image

Figure 2.

Hope that helps.


My best guess would be that it is a Enophrys bison. Some of the pictures similar to the one you have caught that I found are: enter image description here

The presence of the horns is one of the indicators similar in both images(mine and yours). Another similar image is:

enter image description here

Also about its habitat I found this: enter image description here

Might explain why you caught it where you caught it(in a shallow brackish,rocky place). You ought to crosscheck it as I am no expert.

  • $\begingroup$ Could be wrong but this species appears to be specific to the Pacific Ocean according to your species range quote? The OP caught the fish in Florida (Atlantic Ocean). $\endgroup$ Jul 30, 2019 at 4:57
  • $\begingroup$ Yes I saw that issue and had deleted this post. But then un-deleted in case there is some connection. $\endgroup$
    – Arnab Ray
    Jul 31, 2019 at 6:32

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .