Red Band Fish

Red band Fish (Cepola rubescens)

Irish Record There is currently no record or specimen status for this species


Although this species is found around the coast, it is rarely captured on rod and line. It is Eel-like in appearance, with amazing, almost luminous deep-orange colouring along the back, and fading to pink flanks and light-pink to cream under-belly. In the bright sunshine, there was an iridescent lilac hue running along the dorsal fin. The eyes are bright orange, and the mouth is large, with tiny sharp teeth. This fish cannot be mistaken with any other species. It is known to reach lengths of up to thirty six inches.

Where to catch

Red Band Fish prefer soft sand or muddy sea bed. They are known to feed right up to mid-water, and are also known to create burrows in the sand. These burrows, I assume, are used for shelter and protection, and most likely, judging by the size of the mouth, an ambush hide-out. The fish in the photograph was taken in Strangford Lough, County Down, over clean ground. There is very little known about this species, but I have been told that they are not un-common throughout Irish coastal waters.

When to catch

As so little is known about this species, I assume it is similar to most fish, being more abundant through the summer months. Certainly, this fish was taken mid-summer.


As they are obviously tiny predators, small fish baits such as thin strips of Mackerel work best. This fish was taken on a “shrimp rig” whilst seeking Mackerel.


Fish a small hooked Mackerel or Herring rig, baited with thin strips of Mackerel. Recommend targeting areas of clean or muddy ground leading on to reefs and broken ground. Try fishing on the drift, covering larger areas and keeping the baited feathers close to the sea bed. To specifically target Red Band Fish will be almost impossible, but they are present over these types of areas, so anything is possible!

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