European Conger - Conger Conger

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Latin: Conger Conger

English: European Conger

German: Der Meeraal, Der Seeaal

French: Le congre commun

Italian: Grongo

Spanish: El Congrio (Congrio Comun)

Croatian: Ugor, Gruj, Grug, Grum, Škanjaš

About: European Conger is fish from a Congridae family. It is largest eel in the world - it grows up to 3m in length and weighs up to (or even more) than 110kg.

Like all eels, it has elongated, but very strong body - dark (sometimes black) back, transitioning to white-gray on the belly; skin is without scales.

The snout is prominent and rounded, with plenty of teeth arranged in rows - sign of predator. Feeds mostly during night and rests during the day in some hole, cave or even hidden in the sand (smaller specimens). Nonetheless, if provided with opportunity, it will take bait even during the day.

It reproduces only once in its life - mostly during winter.

Habitat: European Conger can be found in Eastern Atlantic and in the Mediterranean and Black Sea.

It ranges from shallow to 1000m of depth, but mostly between 5 and 50m. Older specimens are more common in deeper waters.

It is found on rocky and sandy bottoms - they usually live amongst rocks, in the holes that provide them shelter. This nocturnal predator feeds on fish, cephalopods and crustaceans - not very picky :)

Note: in some areas, Conger Eels are 'kept' as 'pets' near harbors and ports and they are great tourist's attraction - feeding live Congers in the wild, while diving, can be fantastic experience. Just watch out - very sharp teeth :)

european-conger-conger-2Fishing period:  All year long, but much better in Spring and Autumn, during bad weather.

Fishing rigs and tackle:  This is very strong fish with very sharp teeth - ordinary lines are easily cut. When going after European Conger, use steel wire near the hook or you will lose your fish.

In recreational fishing, it is mostly caught on a longline, but sometimes on handline or rod and reel (from boat or shore).

Sometimes it can be found even in the fishing traps.

It will take any bait - dead or alive fish, fish chunks, worms, octopus, squids etc.

When hooked on handline or rod, it puts great fight :)

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European Conger - Conger Conger - on the fish market.
Photo by N.M.

Cuisine: Flesh is white, tender, very tasty - and little bit fatty, just like any other eel. When used as part of fish stews, decrease the amount of (olive) oil - European Conger makes fish stews fantastic, especially in combination with low-fat fish like Red Scorpionfish, Gilthead Seabream, European Sea Bass etc. . Also, it can be barbequed, grilled and even pan fried. Dried on smoke and then prepared in various ways is - delicacy.