Microgadus Proximus

Gadidae

Gadiformes

Deepwater, Coastal

1 - 2 pounds

9" - 12"

Pacific Tomcod

Also Known As: Tomcod, California Tomcod, Tommy Cod, Piciata, Wachna, Taaqatak

Pacific Tomcod (Microgadus proximus) Fish Description

The pacific tomcod is a species of bony fishes with a torpedo-shaped body covered with small and thin scales. Its topside can range from olive-green to brown, while its underside is white. It has a large head and mouth with a small chin barbel, which makes it distinct from other cod.

The pacific tomcod is commonly identified by its three spineless dorsal fins and two anal fins which are all dusky or grayish, although it may often be confused with the Pacific cod.

The pacific tomcod is a small fish and therefore not commercially important to humans. While it’s considered a popular game fish for anglers in central California, it’s often caught by accident when chasing larger sport fish.

 

Diet & Size

The pacific tomcod can grow up to 12 inches, but it's commonly reported at 9-10 inches in length. Its diet primarily consists of anchovies, shrimp, worms, amphipods, isopods, gastropods, mussels, and other fish. It has been observed to prey on southern Tanner crab in direct competition with the flathead sole, rock sole, and greenland halibut.

 

Interesting facts about the Pacific Tomcod

  • Fossil records of the pacific tomcod date back to 126,000 years ago
  • Its scientific name translates loosely as “Small fish next” 
  • Considered a “panfish” because it's often caught at sizes that fit in a frying pan
  • It’s a favorite prey of seals and sea lions in Canada
  • They are sensitive to bright light and can be blinded momentarily

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