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Lingcod, Ophiodon elongatus

Contrary to is name, the lingcod is not a cod, but rather a member of the greenling family (Hexagrammids), native only to North Pacific waters off the west coast of North America. Lingcod are found from the Aleutian Islands to the Baja Peninsula of Mexico, and are primarily fished in the northern reaches of that range. Most commercial fishermen catch them incidentally on longlines set for halibut or, like sport fishermen, use rods and reels baited with herring or squid. Lingcod are territorial and remain close to the place of their births at depths from 30 to 1,000 feet. They are voracious predators, and many grow to enormous size. A thirty pound fish is not rare, and giants up to eighty pounds show up from time to time. Their nickname is bucket head after their enormous mouths and jaws set on a head that looks too big for its body, but like many fish, their true beauty emerges on the dinner plate.

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