Story at a glance

  • Ben Estes spotted the fish in the sand Friday morning at Crystal Cove State Park.
  • The fish was identified as an 18-inch deep-sea Pacific footballfish.
  • The Pacific footballfish is one of 300 living species of anglerfish normally found at depths of more than 3,000 feet below the surface.

A beachgoer strolling along Newport Beach, Calif., last week discovered a strange-looking fish that rarely washes ashore. 

Ben Estes spotted the fish in the sand Friday morning at Crystal Cove State Park and alerted state park rangers and lifeguards about the weird-looking find. 


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In a Facebook post by Davey’s Locker Sportfishing & Whale Watching, a boat tour company that operates in the region, the fish was identified as an 18-inch deep-sea Pacific footballfish. 

The Pacific footballfish is one of 300 living species of anglerfish that’s normally found at depths of more than 3,000 feet below the surface.

“Though the fish itself is not rare, it is extremely rare to see on this intact along a beach in southern CA,” Davey’s Locker Sportfishing & Whale Watching wrote on Facebook Friday. 

The Pacific footballfish has a unique look as it uses bioluminescent lures at the tips of a fishing-pole-like projection from its own head to attract prey in the dark, murky depths of the sea. 

It’s not clear at this time where the fish will end up, but it is currently in the custody of the California Department of Fish & Wildlife. 


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Published on May 10, 2021