The Cornish Jack

The scientific name for the Cornish Jack is the Mormyrops anguilloides. It belongs to the Mormyridae family and is the biggest species in its family.

Cornish Jack

They are known by several names, the most common being the African Carp. Other names include Lele, and Noagbe to name a few.

The name Cornish Jack came from European settlers. The European settlers thought that this fish resembled the European pike, whose young are known as a “Jack” in parts of England.

Cornish Jack Scientific Classification

Common Name:Cornish Jack
Species:Mormyrops anguilloides

What Do Cornish Jack Fish Look Like?

The cornish jack is one of the more unusual-looking fish you can catch, apart from the bearded  Barbel.

It has an elongated depressed head, a large mouth with no apparent chin, and a long body. The fins are placed closer to the tail than to the head.

The mouth of this fish has an upper jaw that is a little longer than the lower Jaw. Both the upper and lower jaw contains a single row of small, pointed teeth.

The eyes are very small and are situated in the front third of the head. The gill openings are small and inclined at an angle.

They grow up 150 cm in length and have a mass that ranges between 8 to 15 kg. The length is comparable to the freshwater Vundu catfish, although the Vundu is much heavier at nearly 60kg at maturity.

The scales are small and gray color above and a light silver-white below. The scales are often blended with either a bronze or yellow sheen.

The juveniles are darker in color, being grayish-blue or brown.

Where Are Cornish Jack Found

The Cornish Jack is found in sub-Saharan Africa lakes and also in turbulent rivers.

They occur in the White Nile, the Lake Albert drainage basin, inland waters from Chad to Senegal, and Cameroon rivers. Included are the coastal basins in Guinea.

It is also widespread in the Congo River basin, Lakes Malawi and Tanganyika, the Volta River basin, the Web Shebeli River, and the Jubba River.

In Southern Africa, it is found in the lower Zambezi, Buzi and Pungwe, Lake Albert, and the largest lake in Lake Kariba.

Hunting Behaviour

The Cornish jack is known as an aggressive hunter.

This species uses electricity as an effective hunting tool in order to locate its victim.

This becomes very useful as they frequent murky water. They can detect different forms and distortions in the electric field surrounding their body.

Its electric nature tells them what the size and distance of nearby objects are.

Cornish Jack fish will hunt independently or in groups. When hunting they can distinguish between different electric wavelengths which allows them to recognize their own group.

They use the weak pulses to communicate with other partners of their group too.

What Do Cornish Jack Fish Eat?

Adult Cornish jacks are largely piscivorous. Fish in lake habitats graze primarily on tilapia, with seasonal change in diet, whilst fish in river conditions eat both fish and crustaceans.

Small cichlids, minnows, and labeos are eaten by the juveniles, who eat shrimp and aquatic insect larvae. Larger individuals, around 17 cm long, eat small cichlids, minnows, and labeos.

The Conservation Status Of The Cornish Jack

The population of Cornish Jack is stable and is far from being endangered. They are fish that are valued for their size and taste.

They are a popular game fish and are an interesting fish to catch for anglers.

This species has been introduced into other continents outside of Africa, such as Australia. However, in Australia, they are said to disturb the fabric of the native ecosystem.

Cornish Jack Habitat

The juveniles occur in marginal habitats while adults love to reside in deep quiet water between boulders and below overhangs.

The adults prefer to avoid strong currents, hence like river estuaries.

Life Span And Reproduction

This fish has a life span of 8 years or more.

They breed in summer during the rainy season with mature females carrying 25,000 or more eggs.

How To Catch Cornish Jack

The Cornish Jack is usually harder to find than the Eastern Bottlenose.

The first step when hunting this species is to look for holes in the river bed or lake. The holes show the area or place where they collect food.

The holes are usually located near floating weed edges. They like to hide under them during the day when they are resting as they are nocturnal.

The hole depth is determined by water quality. In dirty water, the holes are shallower than in clear water.

Bait that can be used to catch these fish includes the small Platies fish fillet, worms, and the Matemba fish.

Fishing apparatus includes a soft trace hook. A sliding sinker with a large weight for terminal tackle rigs and a general ledger will work best in still water.

They favor deep water during the day but moves to shallower waters at night. Therefore, the night hours are the best time to catch them.

As they are slightly electric, they give a mild electric shock if you lift them by both the head and tail together.

In Conclusion

The Cornish Jack’s ability to manipulate electromagnetic waves to hunt, communicate, and protect itself is impressive.

Their unusual body shape makes them an interesting catch, with the advantage of being able to eat them too.

These fish are caught commercially and can fetch a fair price at the market.

If you would like to try your hand at catching this fish, then a Kariba houseboat is the perfect destination. You can fish for many other species of African fish in the bountiful Lake Kariba.

A houseboat is a perfect platform to enjoy the African sunny days, the breezes off the lake, and sightsee the wildlife on the shores of the lake. Let’s not forget to mention the great fishing experience.

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