Last modified: February 21, 2021

Fish Misc.

Blackeye Goby

Gobies: Family Gobiidae

Species: Coryphoterus nicholsii (Bean, 1882); from the Greek roots coryphos (head on summit, crest on head) and pteros (fin reaching the dorsal fin) and nicholsii (from captain H.E. Nichols, U.S.N., its discoverer). Some sources use Rhinogobiops nicholsii.

Alternate Names: Goby, onespot goby, bluespot goby, crested goby and large scaled goby. Called gobio or gobio triste in Mexico.

Identification: Typical goby-shape; these fish have an elongated, cylindrical shape, with almost no taper to the posterior region. They have two dorsal fins close together. Their coloring is cream to white (which changes to brown if disturbed) with brown and green speckling, large dark eyes, and jet black on the outer portion of the first dorsal fin (first five spines).

Size: Up to 6 inches. Most caught from piers are 4-5 inches long.

Range: Punta Rompiente and Isla Guadalupe and Isla Cedros, central Baja California, to Yakutat, eastern Gulf of Alaska. Common from northern Baja California to northern British Columbia.

HabitatTypically found in intertidal, shallow-water areas, both oceanfront and in bays and especially abundant near fine sand among or near rocks. Recorded to a depth of 640 feet.

PiersThis tiny fish is rarely the intended species. However, quite a few are taken by anglers fishing with small hooks for perch. I saw one caught far to the south at the Shelter Island Pier in San Diego Bay, a friend of mine caught one at the Redondo Sportfishing Pier, and I caught one myself at the northernmost pier in the state, Citizen’s Dock in Crescent City. However, most that I’ve caught and seen were in San Francisco Bay. I’ve caught them at both the Fort Baker Pier and the San Francisco Municipal Pier, and seen them caught at the Elephant Rock Pier.

Shoreline: Occasionally caught by perch anglers using small hooks in rocky areas.

Boats: An inshore species rarely take from boats.

Bait and Tackle: Small hooks, size 8 or 6, and small pieces of sea worm or shrimp will often attract these small fish.

Food Value: It would probably only take about 35 to 40 of these to make a meal for one angler, if they are edible. Throw ’em back!

Comments: Blackeye Goby are a protogynous hermaphrodite, one of those fish that make a big change—from female to male, when they reach somewhere around 2 ½ inches in length. According to the scientists the goby also “forms permanent harem groups composed of a single male and several smaller females.” Given the changes that take place it must be an interesting little group. Of no value to anglers although a curiosity when caught.

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