Checking the stomachs...

Ken Jones

Staff member
Date: January 26, 2002
To: PFIC Message Board
From: SD Fisherman
Subject: Does anyone else do this? Eeeeeeewwww!!!

I know this might sound gross, but do any of you examine the stomach contents of the fish you're filleting? My dad taught me to do this years ago. It's educational in that you can get an idea of the diet of different classes of fish. For instance, the big opaleye I caught yesterday, that struck a squid strip, had a lot of red seaweed in its stomach. A barred sand bass (12.5”) that I caught under a school of ‘chovies in summer 2000 had 13 ‘chovies and a crab in its stomach! (Boy was he a fattie! I thought he had a tumor at first...) One sheephead I caught had part of a lobster leg, etc. in his gut. Anyone have anything to add???

PS: Part of this education was also teaching me of the dangers of eating cabezon roe. I should stop being so lazy and research this myself but does anyone know offhand exactly what it is about the roe that makes it so poisonous? Thanks in advance.

Posted by Mikey

Nah — I do it all the time... smart fisherman do as well. Examining the contents of a fish's stomach only proves what he's been eating — thus, you know what to use for bait.

Posted by neptune1234

I always check the guts of what I catch. Heck that’s half the reason I keep fish. Amateur marine biology is my specialty. The last sturgeon I caught had about a pound of grass shrimp in it along with two bullheads and a baby kingfish. I caught a leopard shark once that had a hook and bait that I had lost a night before still rigged in its stomach. I noticed that the skates at McNears Pier normally have a few 2"-3" rock crabs in their stomachs along with baits that have fallen off the hook. Hatchery trout always have rocks from off the bottom in their stomachs. A 16” smelt I caught up in Bodega had a rubber band in its gullet. I got a clam pearl out of a Washington once. Of course there’s the whole JONAH thing. I heard Christians taste better than...well... kingfish… hehe… don’t laugh you might get a ticket. No fun zone you know… lol......Fish ON!

Posted by Ken Jones

Cabs & crabs... 100%, every last one of them, that's the percentage of cabezon taken by me in the Point Arena area that had small crabs in their stomachs (I always check). Yet almost no one seemed to fish for the cabezon with crabs. Instead, squid was the preferred bait along with shrimp or abalone trimmings.

Posted by Songslinger

Cabs & crabs... Too true. In fact, one of the best cabbies I got (just south of Pacifica) was taken because it slammed the crabs that were feeding on the cut anchovy I had on my hook! Talk about fool's luck.

Posted by Songslinger

Always! I believe it makes me one better angler to examine the innards of the fish he keeps. You can spot both short and long range trends and variations. The same species may have markedly different contents than another in a different location. This has helped me determine what bait to bring, how to specialize my fishing and tailor it to a given area.

Posted by Red Fish

All the time.... and almost every time it seems like the fish have been feeding on something other than what I served them. It makes you wonder when some people tell you that the fish are “only” biting on a particular bait. Maybe it's not what you serve sometimes but rather how you present it that counts.

Posted by Ken Jones

Perhaps a little fishy haggis matey?

Posted by illcatchanything


Posted by drudown

I noticed the striped bass I catch out on Berkeley and San Pedro have small anchovies in them. The ones I catch in the Delta are stuffed with several grass shrimp. Trout I catch always have Berkeley Powerbait and power eggs in ‘em. Jacksmelt always have anglers’ leftover baits.

Posted by Rock Hopper

LMAO! I LOVE this — Compliments of Mikey: “Nah — I do it all the fisherman do as well!”

Posted by Ken Jones

Muddled and bewildered syntactics?

Posted by riorust

"smart fisherman do as well"

Posted by sd fisherman

Ok, I admit, that was dorky… not the subject, just the geeky punch line. HAD to have been from 2002 lol.