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Opah (Lampris gutatus)

The Opah or Lampris gutatus is a saltwater fish that goes by a couple different names including the Moonfish, Sunfish, Kingfish, Redfin Ccean Pan and the Jerusalem Haddock. This fish is has a circular shape and can grow very large, up to 6 feet in length and weighing up to 700lbs! Their fins are red in color with a body that is less tan twice as long as it is wide. Opah are sometimes confused with other fish, but can be distinguished by its 14 to 17 pectoral rays. These fish have a singular dorsal fin with long pectoral and pelvic fins and a concave caudal fin. There is also a gold band around their eyes.

Often caught for sport, these fish are also a good food source and are often hooked in waters of 200 to 1,200 feet deep in the Pacific Ocean. One of the most common meals for the Opah is squid, but it will also eat smaller fish and invertebrates. This fish tends to travel with Tuna and Billfish in search of food.
As you can image due to its enormous size and strong body these fish are fantastic fighters and will put up a serious challenge for even the most experienced of anglers.  The depths that they inhabit also make them extreme difficult to capture.

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Rainbow Smelt (Osmerus mordax)

The Rainbow Smelt or Osmerus mordax is a rather small fish that is found in many places in North America including the Great Lakes and many coastal rivers. Rainbow Smelt have slender bodies that have an iridescent look to them with shades of blue, pink and purple on their sides, a silver back and a light underside.  Like other Smelt, they are not particularly large only growing to about 12" in maximum length and weighing in at about 3 oz maximum.

These fish go by a couple different names including American Smelt, Leefish, Freshwater Smelt, and Frost Fish.  Rainbow Smelt fall prey to a few different species of fish including Walleye, Yellow Perch, Coho Salmon, Burbot and Trout. This species of Smelt will often dine on small invertebrates, zooplankton, Whitefish, sculpins and are even known to eat other Smelt!

Rainbow Smelt are caught both commercially and for recreation.  They are edible, but are often used as animal feed and are not considered to be one of the tastiest fish.  Rainbow Smelt are considered an invasive species that can cause serious damage when introduced in the wrong locations.  While they do provide food for larger fish, they also reproduce quite quickly and can easily become overpopulated in a rather short period of time.

Some Rainbow Smelt are anadromous which means that they can live in salt water as well as fresh water near the coastline.  This fish spends much of its summer around the coast line only a mile or so inside the ocean.  In the wintertime this fish has a special anti-freeze protein that helps it survive the harsh winters.  Once Spring comes Rainbow Smelt will spawn at night in small streams.     

You can check out these Rainbow Smelt with your own eyes in the video below...

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European Conger Eel (Conger conger)

The European Conger Eel or Conger conger is the the largest known Eel in the ocean measuring 2.87 m (9.5 ft) in length and weighing in at an impressive 60.6 kg (133¼ lb)!  Like other Eels, this saltwater fish has a snake like body and is found at a great range of depths.  When the European Conger Eel is young it is often inhabits shallow coastal waters, but as it grows older they make their way to deeper waters of up to 1000 meters.  This species is just one of the many different kinds of Conger Eels and goes by a couple different names including Sea Eel, Southern Conger, Koiro, Ngoio and the Silver Eel. 

European Conger Eels are found in a few different places around the world including the Black Sea, Mediterranean Sea and the eastern Atlantic Ocean.  They are nocturnal predators that feed on mollusks, small fish and crustaceans.  This type of Eel can be caught with a hook and line and is not raised on fish farms.  They are edible and are said to have a sweet taste with a firm texture.  Eels are often served smoked, canned, fresh or jellied.  As with all other fish, they are best served fresh.  You can check out some Conger Eels in action in the video below...

If you have any additional information about the European Conger Eel please leave us a comment below!

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