Oyster Toadfish

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Oyster Toadfish

Species Information

Scientific Name:Opsanus tau
Common Names:oyster toad, ugly toad, oyster cracker, oyster catcher, bar dog, oyster toadfish
Environment:Inshore, Nearshore, Surf
Ideal Temp:54-84ºF (12-29ºC)

About Oyster Toadfish

The oyster toadfish, Opsanus tau, is a fish of the family Batrachoididae. The maximum length of the toadfish is about 38 cm; the most common recorded length of an oyster toadfish is about 30 cm. They are generally brown or yellowish with a pattern of brown oblique bars.

The species can live in poor conditions and needs little food to live. It is an omnivore. Common prey include crustaceans, mollusks, amphipods, squid, and other smaller fish. Toadfish rely upon camouflage to catch their food; they lie motionless waiting for prey to pass close by, then attack by surprise. They can be found from Maine to the Caribbean Sea.



The fish has a distinctive "foghorn" sound used by males to attract females in the mating season, which is April-October. The sound-producing (sonic) muscles attached to its swimbladders are the fastest known vertebrate muscles. Following the foghorn sound, the female comes into the nest, lays eggs, and then leaves (the toadfish lays the largest eggs of any Chesapeake Bay fish). The male fertilizes the eggs; they hatch after about one month. When the eggs hatch, the young toadfish stay attached to the yolk for some time. When the yolk has been absorbed for energy, the young toadfish learn to swim. Even when the young have started to swim, the adult still protects its young.


Oyster Toadfish Fishing

World Record:2.23 kg (4 lb 15 oz) Ocracoke, North Carolina, USA 04-Jun-1994
# Fish Caught:116463 documented in database.
Earliest Record:1/1/1800 12:00:00 AM and located at 40.37519, -71.48438.
Latest Record:4/27/2024 3:52:00 PM and located at 30.66968, -81.46259.
Common Techniques:Bottom Fishing
Popular Lure Types:Bottom Rig
Fishing Spots:9 Oyster Toadfish fishing spots.

Latest Oyster Toadfish Fishing Reports and Spots

Chincoteague Fishing Report through 09/09/2013 - 9/9/2013 6:00:17 AM

Nathan Richardson and crew with another good day at the surf with some keeper puppy drum and a flounder too. Eugene fishing with Gene and Natha (View)

Bonner Bridge Catwalk - 8/25/2013 6:09:05 PM

There is a catwalk on the southern end of the Bonner Bridge (aka Oregon Inlet Bridge) that many people fish. Flounder, Mullet, Blues, and (View)

Kiptopeke Concrete Ships - 9/18/2021 3:40:39 PM

Kiptopeke Concrete Ships has some decent Croaker, Striped Bass, and Black Sea Bass on them.  (View)

Kowabunga - 9/10/2021 8:51:00 PM

What a SWELL week! The bar hasn't been crossable these past few days to get out into the ocean but that doesn't mean there hasn't been any acti (View)

Tangier Sound - 8/13/2017 7:28:00 PM


Cook Point Fish Haven - 8/13/2017 7:27:58 PM


More Citation Sheepshead and Drum are EVERYWHERE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! - 4/15/2017 8:51:10 AM

Body:  OffShore: Boats have been at the Dock not the Greatest Weather that changed Today as I type the Weekend Looks Good.  I had to go home an (View)

GREAT Wahoo Catching Today!!!!!!! With a Side of Striper!!!!!!!!!!!!!! - 9/19/2016 7:56:23 AM

Body:  First off I would like to Thank EVERYONE at Day at the Docks for all their Generosity.  It was a Great Event and we Appreciate what you (View)

Inshore Fishing Report for Hatteras - 4/25/2016 8:43:54 PM

We fished behind Clam Shoal today and caught a bunch of Cownose Ray's and Skates. We also caught Bluefish, Blow Toads, Pinfish, and Oyster Toads (View)

Pamlico Mixed Bag Fishing Report - 8/10/2014 5:05:48 AM

We are now back in our home waters on the Pamlico.  The Inner Banks fishing today was awesome.  Greg and the boys caught redfish flounder bluef (View)