Fishing for sharks is always a dangerous task for fishermen. However, the feeling of personal accomplishment when successfully catching one is very special. Not too many catches can triumph the feat of bringing a large shark into the boat. However, you may notice a fish suckered onto the skin of the shark. These fish are known as Remora fish, also known as the suckerfish or hitchhiker fish.
As mentioned in our example with the shark, the Remora fish uses its sucker-like organ to create a powerful suction that takes firm hold and grasp on to a host marine animal. Usually these animals or fish are large in size and allow the Remora fish to transport from place-to-place. Even though they can travel with a different host from time-to-time, they can also swim comfortably on their own.
These fish are pretty unique and easy to classify. If they aren’t being identified based solely on their current location on a host, you can spot one of these fish by their gills. Their gills and upper-body look like a real suction cup device with large curves around the fish. These fish have been known to be colored black, grey or brown. While some of these fish are solid in design, they can also appear with slight stripes that stretch horizontally across the fish.
We wanted to answer some common questions that we have received about these fish to help you successfully navigate during your fishing adventures. This information with provide some interesting facts to share with the group of people that you go fishing with!
Can you Eat a Remora Fish?
While fishing, the common way to catch one is if the fish is attached to a larger animal hooked on your line. Yes, you can eat a Remora fish. The Remora fish can be eaten but the fillets of the fish will be very small. The recommend method for cooking is to fillet the fish and fry it in a pan with butter and seasoning. Most would compare the white meat taste to that of a triggerfish. Both fish can be found in the tropical or sub-tropical waters.
How do you Clean a Remora Fish?
Given its small size, this fish is actually pretty simple to clean. The recommended method to clean the fish is to remove the lateral line of bone structure which resembles a similar skeleton to most fish. The fillet of meat will resemble that of a triggerfish. For the best luck filleting, it is recommended to try on larger catches. Given that most of these fish range in size from 1-3 feet, it is more common to release this fish because of the effort to clean a fish for such small fillets.
Can the Remora Fish Hurt its Host?
The bond between a Remora fish and its host is a non-permanent connection that harms neither animal. The relationship is considered to be commensalism which means that this fish benefits from the host without harming or negatively effecting the host fish. The Remora fish actually feed on their hosts’ fecal matter. Fecal matter is known as the solid excretory product that is wasted by the host animal. This “waste” actually provides the essential nutrients and food for the fish to survive without taking anything away from its host.
How did the Remora Fish get its Name?
According to Ancient Greek mythology, the Remora Fish was said to stop a ship from moving by holding on to the boat and delaying it. Remora means “delay” or “on hold” in Latin. While recent studies have educated us more on the true behaviors of the way this fish lives, the suction feature of the fish has always been correctly described. This fish has a longer history than you might think!
Are Remora Fish Good Bait?
While Remora Fish can be eaten, they also make really good bait. An easy and effective way to attract sea turtles is with the Remora as your bait. Simply attach the fish to a line or rope and release it into the water. The fish should have enough slack to swim around the water and find a turtle. Once it finds the turtle, it will attach to its shell. This method can work successfully with other large fish that can serve as a potential host. The fish is great for bait since it will go find the larger animals in the ocean and attach themselves their outside shell or skin with no additional effort by the fishermen.
I guess the best name for this fish should actually be called the “fishing fish” since it will do the hard work for you. Not only do they attach to animals, but numerous times humans have seen these fish attach to boats, flotation equipment and even human divers. Don’t be too worried if the Remora Fish attaches to you since the largest Remora fish only grows to about 3 feet long and weigh a couple of pounds. With that said, these fish are rather harmless.
Most fishermen don’t even bother with catching this fish since it requires an unusual method for catching. The Remora fish isn’t caught with a fishing line with live or artificial bait. While the fillets of the fish can taste pretty good, its an uncommon catch among most anglers. Even in the rare instance that this fish is caught, most people just decide to throw it back in the water undisturbed. The main reason this occurs is that most people don’t realize that the fish can be eaten!
It is pretty safe to say that this fish is one of the most unique species that swims in the ocean. They can be found is tropical oceans but can travel with their host into more moderate temperature waters. They spawn in the mid-Atlantic Ocean during the early summer months of June and July. They have also been seen in the Mediterranean Sea during August and September.
While they aren’t a popular target among fishermen, they are a frequent catch due to fishermen’s desire for catching their host. Their behavior makes these fish the “pest” of the water and one who likes to depend on others for being able to live. But the Remora fish doesn’t cause harm and rarely frustrates anglers. Actually, we are lucky that this fish doesn’t still the bait from our fishing lines. Educating yourself is very important to understand the habitat for this species of fish. The Remora fish does fit well into our ocean’s ecosystem since they don’t bother its host, they help humans fish, and they taste pretty good after being cooked on the frying pan!