Buttermouth Perch

From 1st Trip: King Harbor, Redondo Beach

Rubberlip (Buttermouth) Surfperch

Family: Embiotocidae (Surfperches)

Genus and Species: Rhacochilus toxotes

Description: The body of the rubberlip surfperch is oval and compressed. The mouth is comparatively large and the lips are extremely thick. The lower jaw is slightly shorter than the upper. The color is variable but it is generally whitish with brown to brassy overtones on the back fading to tan below. The lips are whitish or pink. Juveniles have one or two vertical dusky bars on the body, although these usually are not found on adults. Its large size and thick prominent lips distinguish it from all other surfperches.

Range: Rubberlip surfperch occur from Thurloe Head, Baja California, to Russian Gulch State Beach, California. They frequent rocky areas, tidepools and kelp beds on the outer coast as well as bays and harbors.

Natural History: Adults feed upon crabs, shrimps and octopus. Juveniles feed on typical surfperch food such as worms, small crabs, mussels, and tiny snails. Like all surfperch, the rubberlip surfperch bears its young live. A 16.5 inch female, that was 8 years old and weighed slightly less than 3 pounds contained 21 young that averaged a little over 3.5 inches in length.

Fishing Information:
While modest numbers of rubberlip surfperch are taken by recreational anglers, it is the leading species of the commercial surfperch catch in the Monterey Bay area. Recreational anglers catch rubberlip surfperch from skiffs, piers and the shore. The greatest number have been taken from piers in the Monterey Bay area, with the average size caught by sport anglers being 2 pounds. Most hook-and-line catches are made using mussels, clams, sand worms, cut shrimp or similar bait.

Other Common Names: pile perch, rubberlip seaperch, porgee, sprat, liverlip, buttermouth.

Largest Recorded: 18 inches; no weight recorded; however, a 16.5 inch rubberlip surfperch weighed nearly 3 pounds.

Habitat: Shallow Sandy Environment

Information from the California Department of Fish and Game Web Site


About the Author

Sean loves to fish in Southern California and this site is his journal of his adventures in fishing. He started fishing when he was a little guy with his dad David, and has continued to this day with his family. In his day job, Sean has been a graphic designer for over 15 years, designing everything from in-store displays and signage for supermarkets to e-commerce auction sites for an online consumer electronics company. He was a web and graphic designer then later an art director for McMullen Argus Publishing (Primedia), building and working on sites for Lowrider Magazine and Super Chevy, plus 30 other automotive magazine sites. Sean seized the opportunity to teach other aspiring designers - a passion that took him first to Learning Tree University and then to Golden West College in Huntington Beach, CA, where he has been an integral part of the renowned digital arts department for more than ten years. Throughout his teaching career, Sean maintained a freelance business, designing for clients including the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences (Los Angeles Area Emmy Awards), Image Comics and many more. See his work at http://www.glumace.com.