I spent a few hours yesterday afternoon and evening on the pier at Fort Morgan, AL. It had been several weeks since I last fished and in talking with Jack that afternoon, we decided to head down to the pier. Jack wanted to throw his cast net for mullet, so I took my ultralight rod and rigged it with a small 1/16 oz. jighead and a small white Gulp curlytail grub. I caught 6 different species of fish and the most unusual was this Bighead Searobin – Prionotus tribulus. What a photogenic guy he was with all his spikes and armor and his dramatic fan like pectoral fins! The name Searobin refers to the way he uses his huge pectoral fins like the wings of a robin as he swims. This was the first one I have ever seen, and quite honestly, I did not even realize they existed locally. I caught him right at dusk, and come to find out they are typically nocturnal feeders.
Three rays of each pectoral fin are separated as feelers and evidently are used to scratch the bottom and feel for shrimp and other food items. Interestingly, the ventral fins which are back toward the anal fin on most fish, are located right under the pectoral fins. The feelers can be seen forward of the huge pectoral fins and the white ventral fins can be seen peeking out behind the pectoral fins in both pictures above. As you can see below, his body is pure white underneath and the fin placement and configuration is clearly visible…..well…except for the water spot on the lens! He was safely returned to the water after his brief photographic ordeal.