How to Catch Monkfish

Written by paul parsons
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How to Catch Monkfish
Catching fish requires patience. (screaming monk seal image by Andrew Buko from

Catching a monkfish requires a moderate level of fishing skills and some good bait. The monkfish, also known as an angler fish, is an ugly fish with a large mouth. You can find it in the northwest Atlantic feeding on the ocean floor. In order to catch a monkfish, you need to know where to look. Monkfish prefer to hide near wreck sites, feeding on shellfish and other creature that stay near the bottom of the ocean. Although avid fisherman use nets, you can catch a monkfish with a rod and reel.

Skill level:

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Things you need

  • Boat
  • Sonar equipment (optional)
  • Fishing rod
  • Bait (skate is a good one)
  • Fishing net

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  1. 1

    Take your boat out onto the water. Look for shipwreck sites because this is where monkfish like to feed. Sonar equipment can help you to see what is on the floor. Boat charters and fishing guides can also help you to locate wreck sites. If there aren't any wreck sites, monkfish will migrate up to 25 miles out. They normally aren't found any farther out than that.

  2. 2

    Bait your fishing rod. Skate bait is normally used for monkfish, but you can also use scallops or other larger baits.

  3. 3

    Drop your line. Keep in mind that the ocean floor is typically 120 feet or more depending on where you are. The monkfish weigh anywhere from 11.3 to 22.7 Kilogram so use a heavy line on your pole.

  4. 4

    Drag your line on the bottom. Monkfish remain half hidden in the sand on the ocean floor; as you drag your bait, the monkfish will take it. When you feel the tug on your line, give a firm jerk to set your hook.

  5. 5

    Reel in your monkfish. The monkfish doesn't put up much of a fight, so don't get discouraged if it feels like you are pulling up a heavy boot. Use your fishing net to get your monkfish into the boat and remove the hook.

Tips and warnings

  • Be sure to use fresh bait. The scent of fresh bait will attract the monkfish. You can purchase skate and other live bait at fisheries.
  • Make sure that you have a strong line and pole. The monkfish is practically deadweight coming up from the ocean floor and can break your line or your pole.

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