Wolf Eel

Rob Gensorek and a wolf eel

Howdy everyone! Summer snuck up on us lately and we have been hitting temperatures in the mid to high seventies and as soon as I am done with this article I am grabbing my little ones and heading to the beach for some surf-perch fishing!

Captain Tim of Winchester Bay Charters has been fishing out of Charleston and reports a great surface bite off the reefs and phenomenal success with the new long-leader fishery. Ten-fish limits of giant midwater fish are being caught easily and quickly as of late. Inside the thirty-fathom line, the ocean continues to give up limits of rockfish and lingcod and even I have been getting in on the rockfish surface bite.

I have been using a three quarter ounce jig with some of the 3-inch swimbaits we got in recently and have been having a blast with my light action spinning rod. I have been using the exact same set up to catch lingcod in 40 to 60 feet of water depending on how bad the drift is. It’s extra fun bringing in a ling with that set-up and 8-pound test line.

Crabbing remains fair to good but really is a case of “right place right time,” this applies equally to the bay and ocean at this time. Striped sea-perch are starting to mass on the rocks outside and are full of babies. I anticipate a run into the bay any time soon and we will keep you posted on that. And last but not least clamming remains great when the tides allow us to go git ‘em.

One of our local and loved characters brought us in something fun to play with last week, a wolf eel. While we don’t see a lot of them on a regular basis, rest assured these creatures of the deep are off our shores in pretty healthy numbers. While I am referring to it as an eel, it really isn’t an eel at all.

One of the main defining criteria is its pectoral fin; eels don’t have ‘em and fishes do. While the name and appearance of these critters would lend you to believe they are man-eaters, they aren’t at all. Although the wolf eel can grow to 8 feet in length and looks as mean as all get out, in addition to the inside of their mouths being covered in teeth and hard plates, they subsist mostly on a diet of urchins, crab, and clams. The plates and teeth are simply for crushing their food and these animals are really quite gentle around divers.

In fact, I bet you $5 you could pull one by its tail or put your hand in its mouth and nothing would happen. (I’m basing this on absolutely no science at all but I’m willing to spend five bucks to see what would happen). Wolf eels inhabit dens in rock reefs and can live about 10 years in the wild and up to 20 years in captivity. During their reproductive cycle, the female will lay about 10,000 eggs and both the male and female will wrap themselves around the cluster to protect it with only one parent leaving at a time to feed.

When the young hatch, they are a deep red with orange and purple markings and will gradually change into the characteristic grey coloring of adulthood. In addition to these, they are made of tasty white flakey meat and make excellent deep fry.

Whether you are fishing, clamming, or pulling a wolf eel’s tail I hope to see you out there. And thanks for the eel, Don!

Rob Gensorek is the owner of Basin Tackle (www.basintackle.com) in the Charleston Marina and can be reached by phone at 541-888-FISH, on Facebook at Basin Tackle Charleston, or email basin_tackle@yahoo.com

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(1) comment

st paddy

yes, wolf eels are a very tasty critter

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