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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.

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  • $\begingroup$ Juvenile snakehead? $\endgroup$ – Rich Tarpey Jul 5 at 19:15
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    $\begingroup$ 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. $\endgroup$ – Maximilian Press Jul 6 at 5:42
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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).

https://srelherp.uga.edu/jd/jdweb/fishing/fishll/redirishlord.htm

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.

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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.

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  • $\begingroup$ 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). $\endgroup$ – Maximilian Press Jul 30 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 at 6:32

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