Brown Comber - Serranus Hepatus
Latin: Serranus Hepatus
English: Brown Comber
French: Serran Hépate, Serran à Tache Noire
Croatian: Miš, Vučić, Ćućina
About: Brown Comber - Serranus Hepatus - is a fish in the family Serranidae. It is small fish rarely longer than 15cm (6 inches) with maximum recorded length of 25cm (10 inches). On average, it is very small fish with average specimens being 5-7cm (2-3 inches) in length.
Brown Comber has oval, elongated silverish body with several (4-5) thick brown vertical stripes. Mouth is large and although this is a small fish, it is aggressive and active feeder - when found in numbers, fishermen first have to fish them out so that other fish species have a chance of getting close to the bait. On the other had, this activity often can attract larger prey, so if you catch few of those first, continue to fish - there might be a prey worth of your bait waiting around :)
Serranus Hepatus is easily distinguished from other Serranidae by having brown dot/mark on dorsal fin. Several light brown-yellow diagonal stripes on the head enhance camouflage.
It doesn't form 'classic' schools, but can be found in smaller groups, often mixed with other small, bottom feeding fish species.
Adapts well in an aquarium with other small fish, although much better if fished from shallows. If you have large prawns/shrimps in aquarium, Brown Comber will not hesitate to come after them, unless they are really large - just a note...
Habitat: It can be found in Eastern Atlantic from Portugal and the Canary Islands to Senegal and in the Mediterranean Sea.
It ranges from 5 to 100m, over seagrass, sand, mud and rocks - practically everywhere where it can find shelter and food in the form of small crustaceans, worms, juvenile fish etc.
Fishing period: There is no specific fishing period on Brown Comber - if it is present, it will grab a bait momentarily.
Fishing rigs and tackle: It is regular bycatch whenever it is near the bait, no matter what fishing technique is used.
It will grab fish chunks, fish guts, shells, worms, prawns, shrimps, bread, paste etc. It will even attack a trolling lure if the lure is close enough to the bottom.
When found on location in larger numbers, fish them out and use them as bait on longline, in fish traps and similar. Also, seagulls wont mind few of these :)
If you return them in to the water, they will continue to strike your bait - if you are really environment friendly, then after catching them, keep them in the thank/bucket and release before going to another location.
Again - very tiresome and annoying fish species when found in numbers...
Cuisine: Someone eat them? :)
Seriously, if one has time and nerves to clean them, then one can fry them or made a nice fish soup/fish stew with other small fish. Meat is soft, tender, tasty, but specimens are so small ...