Scombrops Oculatus



Offshore, Deepwater

5 - 35 pounds

20" - 59"

Atlantic Scombrops

Also Known As: Gnomefish

Atlantic Scombrops (Scombrops oculatus) Fish Description

The Atlantic Scombrops (Scombrops oculatus) is a type of gnomefish found in the waters of the Western Atlantic, particularly in the Straits of Florida and the Bahamas. The fish can easily be identified through its comically large eyes and laterally compressed oblong body. Its color is mostly dull bronze, brown, gray, or black with the dorsal part being a bit darker than the ventral part. It has two dorsal fins with the one in front containing seven weak spines; while the second bearing one weak spine and fourteen soft rays. The anal fin is located in parallel with its second dorsal fin but it has three weak spines and twelve soft rays. The caudal fin is forked and the pectoral fins are small. It also has a large mouth equipped with strong bony jaws and razor-sharp teeth.    


Diet and Size

The Atlantic Scombrops is a carnivorous bottom-feeder that mostly preys on crustaceans, squids, and other fishes. It can grow as much as fifty-nine inches and weigh as much as thirty-five pounds. But most that are caught ranges from thirty-five to forty-one inches in length and eleven to twenty-two pounds in weight. 


Atlantic Scombrops Interesting Facts

  • The Atlantic Scombrops is just one of the three species in the family Scombropidae or better known as gnomefish.
  • The largest Atlantic Scombrops ever recorded measures fifty-nine inches and weighs thirty-five pounds.
  • The all-tackle record Atlantic Scombrops catch was a twenty-one pounder caught off the coast of Bimini, Bahamas.
  • The world record was set in 1997 by angler Doug Olander who used cut barracuda as bait.
  • The Atlantic Scombrops is a popular target for those fishing for sport as this bottom-dweller is notoriously hard to catch.
  • The exotic fish is also popular for its delicious lean meat that is delicate and sweet—similar to lobster meat.
  • The best way to prepare an Atlantic Scombrops meat is by filleting and pan-frying it.


Fishing Techniques

As mentioned earlier, the Atlantic Scombrops is really challenging to catch because it spends most of its time deep down near the bottom of the ocean, typically between six hundred to two thousand feet. Aside from its hard to reach habitat, the fish is also known to be a strong swimmer and fighter. That said, the best way to catch this exotic fish is to use deep water equipment for you to be able to reach it. A lightweight yet extremely powerful graphite offshore rod paired with a strong braided reel with a lot of cranking torque is definitely a must if you’re going to be targeting this fish. The world record Atlantic Scombrops was caught using cut barracuda as bait; but with this fish’s reputation as a voracious eater, you can practically use any fresh strip bait you want. Lastly, as with all deep-sea fishing, having downriggers and a fish finder on your boat can definitely up your chances of catching this fish as these will allow you to set your bait at specific depths. 


Habitat and Distribution

The Atlantic Scombrops is a benthic fish that dwells on or near the ocean bed, particularly over rocky bottoms. It is usually found in depths between sixty-six to two thousand feet; although most usually stay really deep at depths of six hundred feet and deeper.

As the name implies, this fish exclusively occurs in the Atlantic, specifically in the tropical waters of the Western Atlantic. They are said to be most abundant in the Straits of Florida and the Western Bahamas.