Santa Cruz Surfer Catches Prehistoric “Wolf Of The Sea” Fish In Shorebreak

Holy shit he grabbed that thing with his bare hands? No wonder they call it the Wolf Of The Sea...

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Surfer Catches Pre Historic Fish In Santa Cruz

Bernie Tershy (above) surfed Scott Creek with his pal Joe Beek on New Year’s Eve. What a great way to wind up another year. On their way back to the car, Tershy noticed a rather large and bizarre looking fish struggling weakly in the surf. Tershy has experience as a commercial fisherman and recognized it as a long-nosed lancet fish, a deep-water dweller that occasionally washes up on northern beaches.

The long-nosed lancet fish, also called “the wolf of the sea,” is the largest of the deep-sea predatory fish, growing up to seven feet long. Its narrow body, soft muscles and large dorsal fin suggests it is an ambush hunter, relying on short bursts of high speed to capture prey. Scientists are uncertain as to the reasons they occasionally wash up on beaches, but studies have shown it is not necessarily a result of parasites, ocean storms or a pursuit of prey gone awry. Some studies suggest a correlation to La Niña events, when the equatorial Pacific Ocean surface temperatures are cooler than normal. La Nina weather patterns include cold, wet conditions in the northwest United States along with drought conditions in the southwest.

Tershy says it was apparent the fish was not going to survive, so he took it home and examined it. What he found provides us with a rare glimpse of an unusual denizen of the deep. Tershy examined the stomach contents and found an 8-inch shark, along with a “deep sea sort of fish that looked like a needlefish.” Answering the obvious question without it being asked, Tershy added, “it was a soft fish, but it fried up tough. Tasted pretty good. The meat was tough and bony.”