from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
- n. A fish with cephalic spines modified for attracting other fishes, or resembling a fishing-pole and line with bait; any fish of the order Pediculati.
Sorry, no etymologies found.
After all, there were probably angler-fish that were considered particularly unattractive by their peers, even though the entire species looked like Anne Widdecombe after a heavy night.
You see the bird hasn't a chance, because all the angler-fish has to do is to hold it until it strangles. "