The Shore Rockling and the 3 Bearded both have 3 barbels. However, the Shore Rockling is a more uniform overall browny colour and has a double dorsal fin and does not have the mottling/spotty appearance of the Three Bearded.
Specimen weight for the Wessex Region is 1lb 8 ozs.
Distribution: Found in shallow inshore waters all around UK and Ireland. More common in rocky or mixed ground.
Feeds on: Scours seabed for marine worms, prawns, shellfish and small crustaceans.
Description: Long, eel-like body with very long dorsal and anal fins. Colour varies but is usually orange/brown with black spots creating a mottled pattern on flanks and back. Three prominent barbules around mouth. Scaleless skin can be quite slimy.
Rockling are not really targeted by recreational anglers and are usually caught when they take baits meant for more worthy species. However a three bearded rockling of over a pound is a decent catch and despite being nicknamed â€˜slugâ€™ by anglers (due to the fact that they are slimy to the touch) larger specimens can actually be quite attractive fish with their bright orange and black colouration.
Due to the unfussy feeding habits of the three bearded rockling all of the commonly used baits (ragworm, lugworm, mackerel or herring strip, mussel, razorfish, peeler crab and squid) will be in with a chance of catching a rockling if they are presented on size 1 or 2 hooks and cast into areas of mixed ground, with the sheltered water of rocky harbours, breakwaters and groynes often proving particularly full of rockling.