Friday, 1 February 2019

Fish of the month: Black-faced blenny + British record captor interviewed.

England and the UK are surrounded by varying coastlines. We see all types of seabed and more often than not we cannot see the seabed at all around some of our more rockier marks. 

Living amongst these rocky areas are many species of blennies. These amazing fish are often very difficult to identify due to their common appearance in many cases. As we know in life there is always the exception to the rule.

The Black-faced blenny is a rare species around the UKs waters. Seldom is it found around the northern half of the country, in fact most recorded captures are from the south facing shoreline in areas of rocky substrate.

Photograph courtesy of Will Harding.

Many of the blenny family are targeted by LRF (Light Rock Fishing) anglers using very light line and tackle and either tiny jig heads with small rubber lures or small hooks with pieces of worm bait for instance.

The UK record Black-faced blenny was caught in 2014 by a Miss Nina Frapple from Weymouth in Dorset. The fish weighed 2.95 grams.

Nina Frapple with her record fish.

The Team at What Fish UK Smartphone App managed to catch up with Nina to get an insight into how and where she caught her record fish. 

Hi Nina, firstly we would like to thank you for agreeing to this interview for the What Fish UK Smartphone App. Your capture was back in 2014 and what a great fish the Black-faced blenny is. I know you were not targeting blennies on that day but many readers will be keen to know how you came about this lovely fish.

Q: Where did you catch your blenny from?

A: I caught it from the 'Stone Pier' in Weymouth, Dorset.

Q: What setup and bait were you using when you caught it? 

A: I caught it on a piece of live rag worm, using a size 8 hook on a running ledger setup.

Q: Were you targeting that species or blennies in general that day? 

A: I wasn’t targeting that species, they’re very rare in that area so I would not normally go out targeting them.

Q: How did you get the fish entered into the British records? 

A: I used to fish in the Weymouth Angling Clubs junior’s league, adult members of the club who attended the league realised my fish was unusual and insisted we take it back to the club to measure and analyse it to asses its species.

Q: Have you caught any other interesting species since? 

A: No. This is the first unusual specie I’ve caught, I’ve fished from when I was old enough to hold a fishing rod, everything else I’ve caught hasn’t been overly rare. 

Nina, thank you once again for talking to us about your capture, and thank you for allowing us to use the pictures you took of the fish on our Apps ID gallery.

We truly love this species and they are one of the best looking mini species that you will find around the UKs coastline. Their distinctive dark (or nearing on black in some cases) face really makes them stand out among the other blenny family members.

They usually range from 6 to 9cm long and can be found off the coast of west Africa, Senegal, the eastern Atlantic and the Mediterranean sea and are part of the Perciform family.

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