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These Tropes Are Fishy

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These are tropes about fish, both real and metaphorical. The hobby of fishing also counts.

"Fish" here is defined to include all finned, water-breathing vertebrates, including cartilaginous fish (like sharks and rays) and agnathans (lampreys and hagfishes), despite these groups not being considered true fish in modern taxonomy. Sub-index of Aquatic Animal Tropes. For part human/part fish beings, see Mer Tropes.

Unrelated to Infauxmation Desk and Subverted Innocence.

Fishy Tropes

  • Anchovies Are Abhorrent: Anchovies are portrayed as a disgusting food.
  • Artistic License – Marine Biology: Factual inaccuracies about fish in a work of fiction that make the story work better.
  • The Catfish: An individual of a game animal species, usually a large fish, that is a legendarily difficult catch.
  • Cold-Blooded Whatever: Fish/amphibian/reptile hybrid animals.
  • Exploding Fish Tanks: Aquariums being common victims of collateral damage.
  • Fiendish Fish: Dangerous, sometimes outright evil, fish.
  • Fishing Episode: An episode of a series that involves the protagonists going fishing.
  • Fish Eyes: When a character's eyes face slightly (or even more than slightly) away from each other.
  • Fishing Minigame: Fishing minigames within video games.
  • Fish People: Fish-like humanoids.
    • Shark Man: A character who's half-man, half-shark.
  • Flying Seafood Special: Flying sea creatures.
  • Instant Fish Kill: Something happens to a water body which immediately kills large amounts of fish.
  • Jumping Fish: The presence of fish indicated by having one or more fish literally "jumping" out of a source of water (lake, river, etc.), especially when the characters suggest looking for food.
  • Lamprey Mouth: A jawless mouth.
  • Land Shark: Shark or shark-like creatures that naturally appear on land, be it with legs or burrowing through the ground.
  • Legendary Carp: Carps in media, especially ones that pay homage to Japanese history, having mystical properties.
  • Mellow Mantas: Manta rays are portrayed as gentle and graceful.
  • No Cartoon Fish: When everything is drawn in a cartoony style except fish.
  • Our Hippocamps Are Different: Horses with mermaid tails or other piscine features.
  • Painful Pointy Pufferfish: Fictional pufferfish seen stabbing things with their spikes.
  • Pike Peril: Pike portrayed as evil or vicious.
  • Piranha Problem: Piranhas portrayed as far more vicious than they are in reality.
  • Psycho Electric Eel: Electric eels portrayed as much more powerful/dangerous than they really are.
  • Seahorses Are Dragons: Seahorses associated with or tied to dragons, often Eastern dragons.
  • Seahorse Steed: Seahorses portrayed as the underwater equivalent of actual horses.
  • Shamu Fu: Using fish as weapons.
  • Shark Fin of Doom: A shark's dorsal fin sticking above the water as an iconic image.
  • Shark Pool: A body of water filled with any variety of unpleasant creatures, including but not limited to sharks
  • Shark Tunnel: An underwater tunnel with transparent walls.
  • Sinister Stingrays: Rays get depicted in a negative light because of their creepy appearance.
  • Slippery as an Eel: Eels depicted as sly, conniving, and untrustworthy creatures.
  • Swordfish Sabre: Fish rostrums used to deal damage to something/one, either by the fish itself or a third party.
  • Tailfin Walking: A fish walking upright on its tailfins.
  • Threatening Shark: Sharks portrayed as evil, vicious man-eaters.

Metaphorically Fishy Tropes

  • Always a Bigger Fish: When a big threat is taken out by a bigger threat.
  • Compliment Fishing: Calling attention to how bad something is in order to receive compliments.
  • Fishing for Mooks: The practice of whittling down a large group of mooks by only activating (“aggroing”) a small portion of their number at a time.
  • Fishing for Sole: Hooking junk such as boots and tin cans while fishing.
  • Fish out of Water: Someone in a place or situation outside of their experience or knowledge.
  • Give a Man a Fish...: Give a man a fish, and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish, and you feed him for a lifetime.
  • Gutted Like a Fish: Getting your belly slashed open, so your insides are on the outside now.
  • Heroes Gone Fishing: When the heroes take a break from their mission to enjoy some fun and relaxation.
  • Jumping the Shark: The moment when an established, long-running series changes in a significant manner.
  • Mobile Fishbowl: When an aquatic character brings water with them when traveling out of water.
  • Normal Fish in a Tiny Pond: When a person who is normal in their home world is powerful in another world because of differences between the two worlds.
  • Red Herring: A misleading and distracting clue.
  • Replacement Goldfish: A replacement for a lost loved one.
  • Summon Bigger Fish: Trying to stop a big threat by introducing an even bigger threat.
  • With This Herring: When heroes embark on epic adventures... while painfully ill-equipped.