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Monkeyface prickleback could be world record; fish caught by Tillamook woman

April 5, 2024

Monkeyface prickleback
Rebecca Jones with her monkeyface prickleback.
Monkeyface prickleback
Rebecca Jones measuring her monkeyface prickleback.
Monkeyface prickleback
Potential world record monkeyface prickleback.

SALEM, Ore. – April Fool’s Day was no joke for Oregon angler Rebecca Jones when she caught a monkeyface prickleback weighing 4.8 pounds and 28 inches long, potentially the new world record.

Jones dug sand shrimp early Monday morning then headed to Barview Jetty near Garibaldi hoping to catch rockfish for dinner. Instead, she hauled in an eel-like fish she’d never seen before, the monkeyface prickleback.

“I’m relatively new to fishing and was losing bait off my line, but I kept at it. Within an hour of fishing, I felt another hit. It wasn’t a hard fight, the fish came right up,” Jones said. “But it was a very strong fish though, I had to sit on it to get the hook out.”

Once Jones realized what she caught, she weighed and measured the fish, knowing this was a keeper and a potential record fish. She is applying to the International Game Fish Association to see if her catch could be a new record. The current world record monkeyface prickleback is three pounds four ounces, caught in Yaquina Bay in 2008.

Often called monkeyface eels because of their eel-like bodies, they are a species of prickleback fish that live in Oregon’s rocky shores within a small (15 feet) home range. More common along southern Oregon shores, anglers have reported catching them along the central and north coasts over the last 20 years. These hardy fish can survive out of the water for at least 35 hours.

Jones began fishing and hunting a few years ago, learning some basics from friends but is mostly self-taught. She watches hunting and fishing videos, reads books, magazines and the Oregon sport fishing and hunting regulations cover to cover.

“I’m passionate about fishing, hunting, crabbing, and clamming. And encouraging women to have and use these skills to pass on to the next generation. Taking advantage of the opportunities Oregon offers gives you self-confidence and self-efficiency,” Jones said.

Jones mostly hunts and fishes alone. She keeps safety at the forefront letting friends and family know where she’s going and when to expect her to return, learned compass and map reading skills, uses GPS, and won’t take a shot at animals she knows she can’t safely get to.

She’s been hunting deer, elk, and bear for three years. This year, she’s trying her skills at spring turkey season. Living in Tillamook, Jones takes advantage of trout fishing and ocean fishing, landing ocean salmon, rockfish, and Dungeness crab.

If you’d like to learn more about hunting and fishing in Oregon, ODFW has plenty of information. Check our articles on how and where to get started fishing , big game hunting , and game bird hunting . Or sign up for a hunting or fishing workshop .

Rebecca  Jones’ photos:
Rebecca Jones of Tillamook caught this monkeyface prickleback on April 1 near Garibaldi.
Rebecca Jones’ monkeyface prickleback measured 28 inches.
Rebecca Jones’ large monkeyface prickleback weighed in at 4.8 pounds.


Contact: Meghan Dugan
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