Goosefish (Monkfish)

The Goosefish is easily recognized because of its large spiny head and enormous mouth filled with fang-like teeth.

They are chocolate brown, with darker and lighter blotches on its back and white or dirty white coloring underneath.

Goosefish (Monkfish) Illustration by Duane Raver, Jr.
Season Open Year Round
Size Limit No Size Limit in State of Delaware waters (coast to 3 miles offshore)

17 inch minimum (total length) or 11 inch minimum tail length (when removed) in Federal waters (3 to 200 miles offshore)
Daily Limit / Person No Limit
Delaware Range Atlantic Ocean
Abundance in Delaware Waters Uncommon
General Habitat and Food Preferences Goosefish are marine bottom-dwelling fish that prefer sand, mud, and broken shell bottoms from inshore areas to depths greater than 2,000 feet.

They are voracious predators and feed on fishes and other prey almost as big as themselves.
Did You Know? Goosefish rest partially buried on the soft bottom and attract prey using a modified first dorsal fin ray that resembles a fishing pole and lure.
Common Lures and Baits One method to catch Goosefish is to drift in deep water while bottom fishing with a fish finder rig using a large hook and a skate wing as bait.
Typical Sizes Caught In general, Goosefish caught by anglers average around 2 feet long and weigh 15 pounds.
Citation Minimum Length and Weight Goosefish are not currently eligible for a Delaware Sport Fishing Tournament or Live Release award, but a large specimen may qualify for an “Unusual Species” award.
Delaware State Record Goosefish are not currently eligible for an individual Delaware record.