Goosefish—commonly called Monkfish or Anglerfish—are known for the fishing pole-like extension on their snout that they dangle to lure prey in just close enough to attack. They live at depths from a few feet to nearly 3,000 feet. The best technique for catching Goosefish is bottom bouncing using large chunks of cut bait.


Region: Northeast, South
Habitat: Ocean

How to identify Goosefish

Their body is wide, flat, and tapered. Just above its snout is a fleshy upright extension that looks like a fishing pole with a fatty/fleshy bulb at the tip. Its large mouth is full of razor-sharp teeth. Three separate spines (dorsally) sit on their head. The first spine is what forms the fishing pole-like lure at the front. Goosefish can grow to six feet long and weigh up to 75 pounds—but most are much smaller.

Where to catch Goosefish

You’ll find these fish in the Atlantic ocean along the eastern seaboard of North America (Florida to the Carolinas and Newfoundland’s Southern Grand Banks.) Disjunctive populations can be found in north Florida. They prefer silty, sandy or muddy bottoms on the continental shelf/slope and can tolerate a large range of temperatures and depths, from shallow inshore waters to depths of nearly 2,000 feet.

Range: Northeast, South
Goosefish Fishing Map

The following are habitats where you can catch Goosefish:

How to catch Goosefish

The best time to catch these fish are May – September because come winter; they sink to the deep, making the difficult to locat. The best methods for catching Goosefish include bottom fishing and drift fishing across the bottom using a fish finder rig.

The following are effective fishing methods and techniques for catching Goosefish:

Best Lures, Bait & Tackle to catch Goosefish

Experienced anglers know the best bait to catch a Goosefish is large/whole cut bait—such as Whiting, Pollack, Herring, Mackerel, or Pouting. Fishing a skate wing with a large hook is also effective.

The following are fishing lures, bait and tackle that can be used to catch Goosefish: