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The Red Gurnard

There have probably been more mis-claims for the British Record Red Gurnard than any other species.


The culprit is of course the Tub Gurnard that grows a lot bigger and is sometimes quite red when first caught. In fact the tub gurnard should be easy to identify by the large pectoral fins that resemble a butterfly wings and of course the distinct blue edge to these fins.


In contrast the Red variety is a very bright red when caught but to confirm if it’s a red then just open up the gills and the inside will be bright yellow. The only other common gurnard caught in our waters is the grey and this is a dull looking fish with no yellow inside the gills and no butterfly wings tipped with blue.

Fact File

Latin Name: Chelidonichthys cuculus


Distribution: extends from southern Norway and Sweden southwards to the British Isles, France, Spain, Mediterranean, Madeira, the Azores and the coast of Africa as far south as Mauritania


Size: Up to 40 cm


Season: Generally a summer species


Staple food: Worms, small fish, crustaceans,


Angling tactics: Worm or fish baits hard on the bottom. Sometimes takes feathers meant for mackerel and bass


Bait Worms


British Record:

Shore         2lb 10oz

Boat record  2lb 14oz

Average Size:  1lb


Caught on: Can be shore caught but more commonly caught on boats.


Its depth range is from the surface down to about 400 m (1,312 ft) but it is most usually found between 30 and 250 m (98 and 820 ft). It is found over sand, shingle or rocky seabeds

Red Gurnard