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Home / Fishing / Fish Species

FISHING
FISH SPECIES

Fish Species Directory:

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Fish Species brought to you in association with Wickstrom Publishers Inc.
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1
gag.gif (40371 bytes)

GAG
(Mycteroperca microlepis)
OTHER NAMES: Gray Grouper, Grass Grouper, Copper Belly, Black Grouper
RANGE: Found throughout Florida and Bahamas.
HABITAT: Both juveniles and adults frequent inshore holes and ledges, often on deeper grass flats. From there they can be found around structure at virtually any fishable offshore depth.
DESCRIPTION: Gray or light brown with wavy markings on the side that generally do not form boxes or circles. Edges of fins are bluish. Color deepens to dark brown shortly after removal from water.
SIZE: Can reach 50 pounds on deep offshore wrecks and ledges, and has been recorded to 80 pounds, but 20-30 is the usual maximum range, and most catches now fall between 2 and 12 pounds. Many juveniles are caught from inshore grass flats. World record 80 pounds, 6 ounces; Florida record 71 pounds, 3 ounces.
FOOD VALUE: Excellent; firm white flesh; little red.
GAME QUALITIES: An aggressive striker and hard fighter at all depths.
TACKLE AND BAITS: Just about anything goes. Offshore bottom fishermen tend toward stout rods with 50- and 80-pound-test lines, but such "grouper digging" rigs are strictly necessary only in very deep water. Up to about 50 feet, lines in the 20-30-pound range are adequate and allow much more sport. Many anglers catch lots of Gags on spinning and plug tackle. This is also the best of the Groupers for fly fishermen, since they are frequently found in fairly shallow water and will eagerly take a large streamer fly. Hard-lure casters use leadhead jigs, mostly, while trollers rely on large deep-diving plugs. Live baitfish of various sorts are the best natural offerings-try Pilchards, Pinfish, Grunts or Sand Perch (Squirrelfish). Dead small fish and large cut baits also work well.
FISHING SYSTEMS: Drifting; Still Fishing; Trolling.

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21

blackgrouper.gif (45279 bytes)

BLACK GROUPER
(Mycteroperca bonaci)
OTHER NAMES: Bonaci Arara Aguaji
RANGE: Sometimes encountered in the deep Gulf and upper Atlantic, but common only in South Florida, the Keys and the Bahamas.
HABITAT: Blacks of many sizes are commonly found around the edges of coral reefs, from about 30 feet of water out to the deepest dropoffs. Even big fish, however, may roam to much shallower patch reefs, especially in cooler seasons. Small Blacks may also frequent creeks, especially in the Bahamas.
DESCRIPTION: Overall color is dark gray. Markings are blacker than those of the Gag, and form box-like patterns. Fins are black; their edges also black or deep blue.
SIZE: The largest of our Mycteroperca groupers, the Black frequently exceeds 50 pounds in weight and can top 100. World record 114 pounds.
FOOD VALUE: Excellent.
GAME QUALITIES: Considered best of the Groupers.
TACKLE AND BAITS: For all-around work, ocean gear with lines of 30-pound test or higher gets the call. Light-tackle fishermen in South Florida, however, have caught many Blacks over 50 pounds. One key besides a huge helping of luck is to hook the fish while drifting, instead of at anchor. The drift of the boat adds to the power of the tackle and just might help drag the big fish far enough away from his rocky "hole" that he cannot get back. For drifting or still fishing, the best baits are frisky live fish, such as Blue Runners or other small jacks. Pinfish and Pilchards are good too, as are Mullet heads and other large cut baits. Best casting lures are leadhead jigs, weighing from 1-4 ounces, depending on depth. Trolling over the reefs with rigged, swimming Mullet, feather-and-strip combos, and large plugs also takes many.
FISHING SYSTEMS: Drifting; Still Fishing; Trolling.

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3
yellowfingrouper.gif (41785 bytes)

Yellowfin Grouper
(Mycteroperca venenosa)
OTHER NAMES: Red Rockfish, Spotted Grouper, Bonaci Cardinal
RANGE: Roughly the same as the Black Grouper; it is most common in the Bahamas.
HABITAT: Again, its preferred reef habitat is pretty much the same as that of the Black Grouper.
DESCRIPTION: Shows various colors, including two major phases, one of which would make it difficult to tell from the Black Grouper were it not for the bright yellow trim of the pectoral fins. In its other major color phase, the Yellowfin is the prettiest of all the Groupers–overall bright red with dark red or brown box-shaped blotches and, of course, the yellow pectorals. In both phases, yellow may be obvious on other fins, as well as the pectorals.
SIZE: This is a good-size Grouper that frequently runs to 15 pounds or so, and sometimes to 30 or more. The smaller ones, from 3-10 pounds, are apt to be the most brightly colored. World record 40 pounds, 12 ounces; Florida record 34 pounds, 6 ounces.
FOOD VALUE: Smaller fish are excellent. So are the big fellows—but see the comments about Ciguartera in the Introduction.
GAME QUALITIES: Outstanding; among the best of the groupers.
TACKLE AND BAITS: Almost anything goes, from heavy bottom-fishing outfits to the rather beefy spinning and baitcasting outfits that are used for jigging. Although live baits will take the most Yellowfins, large cut baits also work pretty well. Many are caught by trolling, especially with heavy feather-and-strip combinations. They also take plugs and spoons.
FISHING SYSTEMS: Drifting; Still Fishing; Trolling.

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4
scamp.gif (44659 bytes)

SCAMP
(Mycteroperca phenax)
OTHER NAMES: Brown Grouper, Broomtail Grouper, Abadejo
RANGE: Most plentiful along the Gulf Coast and roughly the upper half of the Florida Atlantic Coast. Not common in South Florida and the Bahamas, where it is largely replaced by the similar Yellowmouth Grouper (next).
HABITAT: Sometimes fairly close to shore, but generally sticks to deep reefs and ledges offshore.
DESCRIPTION: Overall coloration is a deep tan or chocolate brown, with numerous darker markings that form dots, or lines, or groups of lines. Elongated rays of the caudal fin give the broomtail appearance.
SIZE: Usually well under 10 pounds, but occasionally more than 20. World record 29 pounds; Florida record 25 pounds, 4 ounces.
FOOD VALUE: Excellent. Commercially considered as the prize of all the Groupers.
GAME QUALITIES: Outstanding on light tackle, but most are overpowered by heavy gear.
TACKLE AND BAITS: Sheer depth-typical of many Panhandle bottom-fishing drops-may necessitate rods and lines stout enough to handle very heavy sinkers. In depths where practical, however, spinning and baitcasting tackle will handle Scamps admirably-and provide great sport as well as a great dinner. Leadhead jigs weighing 3/4 of an ounce to 11/2 ounces get lots of strikes with light gear-and if the bare jig isn't producing, it can be tipped with a strip of cut bait, or a whole small baitfish, and used as a bottomfishing rig. Any kind of small fish makes a fine livebait. Shrimp, squid and cut baits also do the job. Large diving plugs draw strikes in fairly shallow water-to about 50 feet.
FISHING SYSTEMS: Drifting; Still Fishing; Trolling.

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5
yellowmouthgrouper.gif (39555 bytes)

YELLOWMOUTH GROUPER
(Mycteroperca interstitialis)
OTHER NAMES: Salmon Rockfish
RANGE: Most common in the Bahamas but found in South Florida, especially the Keys, and on Gulf reefs.
HABITAT: Occasionally on shallow patches, but more on deeper reefs to 120 feet or so near the edge of blue water.
DESCRIPTION: Almost a ringer for the Scamp, except that the inside and corners of the mouth are yellow.
SIZE: Averages 2-3 pounds; maximum probably less than 10 pounds. World record 8 pounds, 2 ounces.
FOOD VALUE: Excellent.
GAME QUALITIES: A tough fighter on tackle of reasonable size.
TACKLE AND BAITS: Same as Scamp.
FISHING SYSTEMS: Drifting; Still Fishing; Trolling.

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6
tigergrouper.gif (44637 bytes)

TIGER GROUPER
(Mycteroperca tigris)
OTHER NAMES: Bonaci Gato
RANGE: More common in the Bahamas, but seen fairly often in the Keys. Rare elsewhere in Florida.
HABITAT: Coral reefs.
DESCRIPTION: Dark markings against a dusty gray background form vivid oblique stripes on the upper sides. Smaller wormlike markings on lower sides and fins.
SIZE: A medium-size Grouper, averaging under 10 pounds. World record 14 pounds, 8 ounces.
FOOD VALUE: Excellent.
GAME QUALITIES: Equal to Groupers of similar size.
TACKLE AND BAITS: Heavy spinning and baitcasting outfits, along with light boat rods and lines up to 20- or 30-pound test. Best baits are small live fish and fresh cut fish or squid. Tigers will take a variety of artificials, including jigs and trolling plugs.
FISHING SYSTEMS: Drifting; Still Fishing; Trolling.

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7
jewfish.gif (46079 bytes)

JEWFISH
(Epinephelus itajara)
OTHER NAMES: Spotted Jewfish, Great Grouper, Guasa Mero
RANGE: Occurs throughout Florida and the Bahamas.
HABITAT: Juveniles to around 100 pounds frequent mangrove creeks and bays of Southwest Florida, especially the Ten Thousand Islands and Everglades National Park. Adults can be found at a variety of depths, from holes and channels of coastal waters out to offshore ledges and reefs; also around pilings of bridges and under deepwater docks and piers.
DESCRIPTION: This is by far the largest of the Groupers, but at any size, there's no mistaking a Jewfish. Juveniles are brilliantly marked with a series of irregular dark brown bars against a light brown or gray background, extending from head to tail. Numerous black spots are usually present as well on head, sides and fins. Adults have the same pattern but in more subdued shades of brown that are not so brilliantly contrasted. The tail is round, as are the posterior, dorsal, anal and pectoral fins.
SIZE: Traditionally seen in many sizes from a few pounds to 500 pounds. Reported to reach half a ton. The really huge fish are rare anymore, but slowly returning. World and Florida records 680 pounds.
FOOD VALUE: Small ones excellent and big ones darn good which was the main reason for their precipitous decline and total closure in Florida in the 1980s.
GAME QUALITIES: Inshore juveniles are great battlers. Some very big ones have been caught on very light lines in shallow water after being coaxed away from obstructions, but the giant Jewfish around deep wrecks defy the heaviest sporting tackle.
TACKLE AND BAITS: Baitcasting, spinning and even fly tackle make acceptable matchups for the inshore fish, which will and often do hit the full range of lures and flies that are used by Snook casters. Again, though, it takes all the muscle you and your tackle can come up with to battle Jewfish of 100 pounds or more. Best natural baits are live Snapper, live Jack and live Catfish inshore; live or dead large fish for offshore giants including Bonito and Amberjack up to 15 pounds or more.
FISHING SYSTEMS: Drifting; Still Fishing.

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8
warsawgrouper.gif (43879 bytes)

WARSAW GROUPER
(Epinephelus nigritus)
OTHER NAMES: Giant Grouper, Black Jewfish, Garrupa Negrita
RANGE: All Florida coasts, Atlantic and Gulf, but not reported from the Bahamas.
HABITAT: Very deep dropoffs, ledges and seamounts. Seldom encountered in less than 200 feet, and most common in much deeper water. Partyboats working offshore waters of the state's upper half both Gulf and Atlantic seem to bring in Warsaws more often than elsewhere.
DESCRIPTION: Mottled dark brown, shading to slightly lighter brown on lower portions. Tail square and yellowish. Second dorsal spine is elongated and crest-like.
SIZE: This is the second-largest Grouper, commonly caught at 30-80 pounds, with 100-pounders not rare. Probably grows to more than 500. World and Florida records 436 pounds, 12 ounces.
FOOD VALUE: Good. Large specimens (which most are) can be somewhat coarse unless the fillets are cut into thin steaks for frying or baking.
GAME QUALITIES: Great strength is the hallmark of the Warsaw's fighting arsenal, and the angler who gets one on a manual rod and reel will know he's been in a tug-of-war.
TACKLE AND BAITS: Only the heaviest rods, large reels and lines testing 80 pounds or more are really adequate. Catches on lighter tackle are opportunistic and rare, and usually of the smaller specimens. Fairly large whole fish, or halved bonito and other hefty cut baits are all productive whenever they can be dropped to within gulping range of a Warsaw.
FISHING SYSTEMS: Drifting; Still Fishing.

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9
redgrouper.gif (44374 bytes)

RED GROUPER
(Epinephelus morio)
OTHER NAMES: Mero, Cherna De Vivero
RANGE: Common throughout Florida; also present in Bahamas and common in some areas.
HABITAT: Widely distributed from close inshore in many areas of Florida to ledges and wrecks in up to 300 or so feet of water. Great majority of sport catches are made in 10-100 feet.
DESCRIPTION: Overall light or rusty red with whitish spots and large blotches. No black mark on caudal peduncle fleshy area between tail and posterior dorsal fin.
SIZE: Common at 1-10 pounds; maximum perhaps 40 pounds. World record 42 pounds, 4 ounces; Florida record 39 pounds, 8 ounces.
FOOD VALUE: Good.
GAME QUALITIES: One of the toughest-fighting Groupers, pound-for-pound. Although Reds will "hole up" like other Groupers, many are hooked on light and fairly light tackle in areas where cover is well scattered, and this gives them the chance to demonstrate their toughness to best advantage.
TACKLE AND BAITS: The standard tackle is a boat outfit with 40-pound line or more, but heavy spinning and baitcasting tackle with 15- or 20-pound line can easily do the job in water less than 100 feet deep. Reds will hit all the baits and lures recommended for Gag and other Groupers, but they are also very fond of crustacean baits, particularly shrimp and crab. They are ready strikers on leadhead jigs, fished with light tackle.
FISHING SYSTEMS: Drifting; Still Fishing; Trolling.

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10
nassaugrouper.gif (46240 bytes)

NASSAU GROUPER
(Epinephelus striatus)
OTHER NAMES: White Grouper, Bahamas Grouper, Rockfish, Cherna Criolla
RANGE: Occurs throughout the Caribbean and Bahamas, where it is the best known of the Groupers. Also found in Southeast Florida and the Keys, where it is rare and declining.
HABITAT: Prefers coral reefs, and
probably does not roam into water much
deeper than 120 feet or so . In the Islands, small specimens are common over inshore patches, and also in creeks and channels.
DESCRIPTION: Looks much like the Red Grouper in shape and pattern, although the basic coloration tends more to brown or gray than reddish. The sure distinguishing feature is a black blotch on the caudal peduncle.
SIZE: Common at 1-10 pounds. May reach 30 or more. World record 38 pounds, 8 ounces; Florida record 3 pounds, 4 ounces.
FOOD VALUE: Small ones are excellent; fish over 10 pounds are almost as good, but harvest is currently prohibited in Florida.
GAME QUALITIES: A rugged fighter.
TACKLE AND BAITS: Most are caught by potluck reef or creek fishermen on light ocean gear or stout baitcasting and spinning outfits-all using lines of 12-20 pounds. Cut fish, conch or squid all make good baits, and Nassau's will also strike jigs, spoons and underwater or surface plugs. Bigger fish on rough coral reefs require heavy tackle for bottom-fishing, and can also be caught by trolling with feather-and-strip baits or with large swimming plugs.
FISHING SYSTEMS: Drifting; Still Fishing; Trolling.

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11

redhind.gif (41794 bytes)

RED HIND
(Epinephelus guttatus)
OTHER NAMES: Strawberry, Sandwich Grouper, Cabrilla, Tofia
RANGE: Very plentiful on Bahamas reefs in 40-80 feet. Also found in South Florida, but less common and usually in 100 feet or more.
HABITAT: Coral reefs.
DESCRIPTION: Numerous bright red spots on lighter or creamy red background. Caudal, anal and posterior dorsal fins edged in black.
SIZE: Most run 1-2 pounds; rarely 5-6 pounds. World record 6 pounds, 1 ounce.
FOOD VALUE: Excellent.
GAME QUALITIES: Aggressive striker; lethargic battler.
TACKLE AND BAITS: In some reef areas of the Bahamas, Red Hinds can be caught to the point of boredom by drifting and bouncing the bottom with jigs. Bottom fishing with cut baits of any kind is also productive.
FISHING SYSTEMS: Drifting; Still Fishing.

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12

rockhind.gif (288258 bytes)

ROCK HIND
(Epinephelus adscensionis)
OTHER NAMES: Rock Cod, Cabre Mora, Mero Cabrilla
RANGE: Widespread in Florida and the Bahamas, often in company with the Red Hind, but usually less plentiful in southern portions of the range.
HABITAT: Coral reefs and rocky banks.
DESCRIPTION: The Rock Hind is mostly brown or tan in background color. Has spots similar to those of the Red Hind, but also is marked by large, dark blotches on the upper sides usually two, but often more.
SIZE: About the same as the Red Hind, but maximum may be slightly larger to 8 or 9 pounds. World record 9 pounds.
FOOD VALUE: Excellent.
GAME QUALITIES: Same as Red Hind.
TACKLE AND BAITS: Same as Red Hind.
FISHING SYSTEMS: Drifting; Still Fishing.

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13

coney.gif (40083 bytes)

CONEY
(Epinephelus fulvus)
OTHER NAMES: Golden Coney, Golden Grouper, Guativere, Corruncha
RANGE: South Florida, Bahamas and Caribbean.
HABITAT: Coral reefs and inshore coral patches.
DESCRIPTION: A very small Grouper, the Coney is seen in various color phases, including vivid yellow, gold-and-brown, red-and-brown.
SIZE: Most run 6-8 inches; maximum maybe a foot.
FOOD VALUE: Not much to work with.
GAME QUALITIES: Aggressive striker, but small.
TACKLE AND BAITS: Never targeted. If it were, only ultralight would be chosen. Takes a variety of cut baits, plus jigs.
FISHING SYSTEMS: Still Fishing.

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14

graysby.gif (44539 bytes)

GRAYSBY
(Epinephelus cruentatus)
OTHER NAMES: Enjambre, Cuna Cabrilla
RANGE: South Florida, Bahamas and Caribbean.
HABITAT: Coral reefs and patches.
DESCRIPTION: Usually gray with many tiny, dark dots. Series of four spots below dorsal fin.
SIZE: Under 1 foot.
FOOD VALUE: Small.
GAME QUALITIES: Aggressive striker, sometimes on surprisingly large lures, but too small to put up a fight.
TACKLE AND BAITS: Like the Coney, a common reef catch when small hooks are used. Takes any small cut bait or jig.
FISHING SYSTEMS: Still Fishing.

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15

speckledhind.gif (49558 bytes)

SPECKLED HIND
(Epinephelus drummondhayi)
OTHER NAMES: Kitty Mitchell, Calico Grouper
RANGE: Both coasts of Florida, but most often caught in the Keys and this is probably because of heavy fishing around well-known seamounts or "humps,"
particularly off the Keys towns of Marathon and Islamorada.
HABITAT: An occasional small specimen is caught by bottom-fishing in perhaps 200 feet of water in the Keys, but most stick to ledges and outcroppings at least 300 feet down. They are probably
plentiful in much deeper water.
DESCRIPTION: Generally dark gray or reddish brown, with a profusion of small, creamy or white spots on sides, gill covers and fins. Sometimes light tan or yellow with whiter spots.
SIZE: Can run to 40 pounds or more; most catches range from 5 to 20 pounds. World record 52 pounds, 8 ounces; Florida record 42 pounds, 6 ounces.
FOOD VALUE: This and other deepwater species that follow are considered even better table fare than shallow-water species. The same is true of deep-sea Snappers and Porgies. It is theorized that the great pressures under which they live helps make the flesh more succulent.
GAME QUALITIES: Seldom caught on sporting gear, but when they are especially if that gear is a reasonably light outfit, the fight begins strong but diminishes fast as the fish is brought higher in the water column. This, of course, is typical with any sort of Grouper that is hooked at depth. Somewhere along the way, the pressure changes enough to send them bobbing upward.
TACKLE AND BAITS: Electric reels and wire line. Catches on sporting tackle are seldom made by design. Any kind of cut bait seems to work well.
FISHING SYSTEMS: Drifting; Still Fishing.

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16

marbledgrouper.gif (51468 bytes)

MARBLED GROUPER
(Epinephelus inermis)
RANGE: Bahamas and South Florida.
HABITAT: Very deep dropoffs or seamounts in 500 feet or more of water.
DESCRIPTION: Dark brown or charcoal with numerous white spots. Deeper-bodied than most Groupers, its shape is reminiscent of the unrelated Tripletail.
SIZE: Averages 5-10 pounds; sometimes exceeds 20.
FOOD VALUE: Excellent, as are all the Groupers that inhabit very deep water.
GAME QUALITIES: Seldom caught on sporting gear.
TACKLE AND BAITS: Power reels and cut baitfish or squid.
FISHING SYSTEMS: Drifting.

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17

mistygrouper.gif (40245 bytes)

MISTY GROUPER
(Epinephelus mystacinus)
OTHER NAMES: Mystic Grouper, Mustache Grouper
RANGE: The Bahamas and extreme South Florida.
HABITAT: Rocks and ledges in 500 feet or more.
DESCRIPTION: Brown with 6 to 9 vertical whitish bars.
SIZE: Common at 15-50 pounds; exceeds 100 pounds.
FOOD VALUE: Excellent.
GAME QUALITIES: Seldom caught on sporting gear.
TACKLE AND BAITS: Power reels with cut bait.
FISHING SYSTEMS: Drifting.

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18

snowygrouper.gif (43737 bytes)

SNOWY GROUPER
(Epinephelus niveatus)
OTHER NAMES: Golden Grouper
RANGE: Occurs in deep water
throughout Florida and the Western Bahamas; probably Eastern Bahamas as well.
HABITAT: Small ones may come in as shallow as 250 or 300 feet on occasion, but most stick to 600-1,000 feet.
DESCRIPTION: Dark gray or brown with scattered whitish spots.
SIZE: Averages 5-10 pounds; said to reach 50 pounds. World record 23 pounds.
FOOD VALUE: Excellent.
GAME QUALITIES: Not caught on sporting tackle.
TACKLE AND BAITS: Power reels; cut baits.
FISHING SYSTEMS: Drifting.

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19

yellowedgegrouper.gif (38160 bytes)

YELLOWEDGE GROUPER
(Epinephelus flavolimbatus)
OTHER NAMES: Deepwater, Yellowfin, Grouper
RANGE: All Florida and the Bahamas.
HABITAT: Not quite so deep as three preceding species. Over deep coral reefs at times, but prefers 300 feet and more.
DESCRIPTION: Mottled light brown overall. Dorsal, pectoral and anal fins have yellow outer edges.
SIZE: Averages 5 or 10 pounds; may exceed 30 pounds. World record 13 pounds.
FOOD VALUE: Excellent.
GAME QUALITIES: Seldom caught on sporting tackle.
TACKLE AND BAITS: Power reels best. Heaviest manual rods and reels possible. Any kind of cut bait.
FISHING SYSTEMS: Drifting.

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20

blackseabass.gif

BLACK SEA BASS
(Centropristis striata)
OTHER NAMES: Sea Bass, Black Bass, Blackfish, Rockfish, Talywag
RANGE: A temperate fish, it is most
common off Central and North Florida. Straggles to South Florida, but is absent from the Bahamas.
HABITAT: Widely at home, both offshore and inshore. Likes rocky areas, wrecks,
channels with hard bottom, jetties, deep holes in grass flats. Larger fish now stay mostly well offshore.
DESCRIPTION: Color is generally black or charcoal, with blue highlights and tiny white spots or stripes on dorsal fin. Indistinct pattern sometimes present on sides, especially in small fish. In adults, the dorsal, anal and caudal fins may have feathery edges, and large males show a distinctive hump forward of the dorsal.
SIZE: Recorded to at least 8 pounds, but individuals weighing more than one pound are now rather uncommon, and a 3- or 4-pounder is a rare giant. World record 9 pounds, 8 ounces; Florida record 5 pounds, 1 ounce.
FOOD VALUE: Excellent. The flesh is mild and white but, sadly, most Sea Bass caught these days are too small to be worthwhile. The occasional outsize specimen should be filleted and skinned, but take care when doing so, because gill covers are sharp and so are the spines.
GAME QUALITIES: A hard and willing striker on both natural baits and a variety of artificial lures. Pulls hard for its size, but is too often caught on too heavy tackle.
TACKLE AND BAITS: Light spinning and baitcasting tackle are the best choices. Sea Bass greedily hit live or dead shrimp and all sorts of cut baits, along with live small baitfish and artificial jigs and underwater plugs. They seem to be always hungry and willing to strike nearly anything they can grab.
FISHING SYSTEMS: Casting; Drifting; Still Fishing; Trolling.

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21

sandperch.gif (35402 bytes)

SAND PERCH
(Diplectrum formosum)
OTHER NAMES: Coral Snapper, Squirrelfish, Bolo
RANGE: Both coasts of Florida, north to south. Apparently absent from the Bahamas.
HABITAT: Sand Perch are found from bays and shorelines to well offshore over a variety of bottoms. They seem to prefer rather open bottom with patches of grass or scattered rock, and they also like deep channels.
DESCRIPTION: Slender, cylindrical shape, with large mouth and wide tail. Color is tan with brown vertical bars or blotches, and full-length horizontal lines of blue and orange.
SIZE: Less than a foot; average is 6-8 inches.
FOOD VALUE: A tasty panfish and quite meaty for its size. The meat is white but flavorful. Best prepared by dressing and pan-frying whole.
GAME QUALITIES: Very aggressive, Sand Perch often hit baits and lures meant for much larger fish. However, their size and strength cannot match their attitude.
TACKLE AND BAITS: Sand Perch are often fished for deliberately, whether for supper or for bait (they are a staple bait among Gulf Tarpon fishermen, and also are excellent for grouper). Best tackle is a light spinning outfit. Small jigs, either plain or tipped with a piece of shrimp or cut bait, will produce the most, but any sort of bottom rig and natural bait will do the job.
FISHING SYSTEMS: Drifting; Still Fishing.

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