Malacocottus Kincaidi



Sandy Bottom

1 - 2 pounds

4" - 8"

Blackfin Sculpin 


The blackfin sculpin is a species of bony fish usually found in saltwater environments. They belong to the family of fathead sculpins. This game fish is gray to light brown on its dorsal fins, light spots on its side, and lighter below with fine dark specklings. You can also identify the species by the irregular brown blotches on its dorsal area. It has a total of 8-9 dorsal spines. For mature males, the blackfin sculpin has golden brims on its dorsal fins when it is breeding. The blackfin sculpin primarily feeds on crustaceans, benthic amphipods, and shrimps that swim near the bottom of the sea. 

Interesting Facts 

  • The blackfin sculpin usually dwells on the soft bottom part of the sea. The depth of water estimates to 158 feet below sea level. 
  • This species comprises most of the fish population living at the soft bottom of the Gulf of Alaska. 
  • The fish can be typically caught at depths of 377 ft to 1142 ft. 
  • Its most notable feature is its bluntly rounded tail. 

Blackfin Sculpin Size

The maximum length of a blackfin sculpin is 8 inches. However, the average size of this species is 4 inches.

Fishing Habitat and Distribution

The blackfin sculpin is found in the soft bottom areas of the ocean. They are a bathydemersal species which means that they live 377 ft below sea level. They can be found in the North Pacific in areas such as Hokkaido, Japan, the Bering Sea, and in areas from Washington to Alaska, USA. They prefer temperatures at around 40°F. 

Fishing Technique 

For anglers who would want to catch the blackfin sculpin using the same technique for sculpin fishing applies. One of the techniques an angler can use is by using a trawl net to sift through the bottom of the water. For those who prefer to use a rod, it is best to build your own sculping fishing rod by gluing on a grip and lilian. If you don’t one to build your own rod, Japan has customized rods made especially for sculpin fishing. 

When catching a sculpin, the line used is only 3 or 4 inches long. Attach the line to the lilian with a girth hitch, then clamp on a split shot