Red Scorpionfish - Scorpaena Scrofa

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Latin: Scorpaena Scrofa

English: Red Scorpionfish

German: Der Große Rote Drachenkopf, Der Meersau

French: La Rascasse Rouge

Italian: Lo Scorfano Rosso

Spanish: Cabracho

Croatian: Škrpina, Crljenak, Škarpina, Logrnja, ńĆetinka

About: Red Scorpionfish is a venomous fish in the family Scorpaenidae. It is the largest eastern Atlantic scorpion fish - It grows up to a 65cm and weigh up to 6kg, but such large specimens are very rare - commonly, it is 30cm (1 foot) long and weigh about 0.6kg.

red-scorpionfish-scorpaena-scrofa-2Color ranges from brick-red to a very light red-pink. It has venomous spines, so be very careful when dealing with this fish - it is the best practice to remove those spines as soon as fish dies.

Most of the time one can find it laying around and waiting for small fish or crustaceans to come close - when it attacks them with short, but very quick strike. It forms no schools.

It spawns in first half of the summer, but that can vary.

Habitat: Red Scorpionfish is found in the Mediterranean Sea (not confirmed in the Black Sea) and in the Eastern Atlantic Ocean.

It ranges from 5 to 500m, more common between 20 and 80m on rocky or sandy bottoms. Smaller specimens even like seabed covered with various sea grass, where they can hide and prey on small fish.

Also, it can be found in brackish waters.

Fishing period:  All year long, better during Summer and Autumn, day and night.

Fishing rigs and tackle: It can be often caught on longline, handline and rod and reel - from the shore, but more commonly from the boat. Also, it is often found in nets, rarely in fish traps.

It is predatory species, so as a bait, use live or dead fish, fish chunks, shrimps, crabs etc - it is not very picky and if present, it will strike at almost any bait.

Very rarely, it can be even caught while trolling for other fish like Common Dentex - trolling speed must be low and bait/lure must be positioned very close to the seabed.

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Red Scorpionfish on the fish market - just what one needs for great fish stew: a Red Scorpionfish, Norway Lobster, Common Dentex ...
Photo by N.M.

Cuisine: Simply - a delicacy :) What more to say ... It can be used for fantastic fish stew, with other fish like European Conger, Common Dentex, Gilthead Seabream etc. It has very tender and tasty white flesh which is also great in fish soup, again, mixed with other species.

Barbequed, with some extra virgin olive oil, few drops of lemon and some garlic and parsley is, again, fantastic :)