Rare, poisonous fish caught off Lennox Head beach
A RARE fish, capable of delivering an electric shock and possessing a venomous spine which delivers poison, has been caught at Seven Mile Beach, Lennox Head.
Local fisherman Paul Ellis, 66, caught the stargazer, which is one of the few marine bioelectrogenic bony fishes, in shallow waters while beach fishing.
He said he's only caught a few in all the years he has been casting a line.
The bottom-dwelling fish bury themselves in sand with only their eyes showing, awaiting prey to ambush.
They haven't changed much about their appearance since prehistoric times, but are capable of delivering an electric shock.
"I've picked one up on three different occasions I've never felt anything, but I knew about the poisonous spines towards the rear," Mr Ellis said.
"When I caught it I knew straight away it was a stargazer, with its wide body and huge head."
Mr Ellis said all fisherman should be extra careful when they catch an unknown species.
"You can come mighty unstuck if you put your hands on a stargazer's head or their fins," he said.
According to the GoodFishBadFish website, there are about 20 species of Stargazer caught in Australian waters and are usually sold as monkfish.
Starfishes possess top-mounted eyes and a large, upward-facing mouth in a large head.
Their usual habit is to bury themselves in sand, and leap upwards to ambush prey that pass overhead.