Have seen one in person coming back from Nova Scotia, off the Cape Hatters national sea shore on the Research Vessel Advance II. It reminds me of a AMC Gremlin were is the rest of the fish?? They are very large and they just float with the current most of the time. We were about 50 miles off shore just before we rounded the Cape.
They had a model of one as well as a skeleton--UFF-DA--that's one big fish! I think they're neat looking, and in a grotesque-way, beautiful, not unlike Turkey-vultures: perhaps it's a California-naturalist's thing...
It was learning about Cordell Bank that I found out one of the members on this forum, Fishnbeer-Jerry, was fortunate to have dived this area--GASP! Please follow the link to find out why this is amazing:
A friend has a house on the beach at DelMonte in Monterey. While playing beach petanque one afternoon we kept seeing dinner plate sized sunfish washed up on the beach. They were missing their tall fins and their eyes (at least on the top side--gulls I think). They numbered in the hundreds all along the stretch of beach.
When we got back to the house, I looked it up. Apparently, sealions like to torment them and rip their fins off for fun. They don't eat them, or at least most of them. Helpless, the sunfish then washes in onto the beach. Some of the ones we saw were still alive.
I read that Monterey Aquarium had one that grew so massive, so fast, they had to chopper it out of the tank and drop it in the bay! I also read they're called sunfish because they lie on their sides at the surface soaking up the sun. They area hazard to boats and can cause serious damage!