My son, Hadrian, got his line snagged on a piling, shortly before discovering a very small fish on one of his hooks.
Can anyone identify this fish?
Epilogue: Hadrian rushed to throw back his catch, and almost as soon as it hitt the water a bunch of hungry smelt had it for hors d'oeuvres.
It looks a lot like a rockpool blenny although the saddles on the sides are more reminiscent of a bay blenny. A little hard to tell because the fin structure isn't clear. Both types of blenny are far more common inshore and in tidepool conditions. Both only grow to a maximum size of about six inches give or take. I've never caught a bay blenny but I've caught rockpool blenny at the Shelter Island Pier, Oceanside Harbor Pier and the Redondo Sportfishing Pier.
I will send the pics to Milton Love (UC Santa Barbara - Love Lab) and ask his opinion.
"Hey Ken, Well, as you say it is likely a blenny, in this case one of three in the genus Hypsoblennius. Unfortunately, the best way to tell the species apart is to look at the little cirri above the eyes and these are not visible. However, I would agree that the most likely species, given where it was caught, is the bay blenny."