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Clearnose Skate

Clearnose Skate

Raja eglanteria

Life History

Description and Diagnostic Characteristics: : Has translucent “window panes” on either side of its pointed snout. Brown or tan with mottling and a few spots. Single row of thorns along the mid-ridge of the back, has no spine for stinging.

Size: Mostly around 18 inches

Range: Cape Cod to South Florida

Habitat: Soft bottom near shore

Angling Information

Bait and Tackle: Bottom tackle with shrimp or cut bait

Fishing Method: Still fishing

Food Value: Very good, tastes like scallops

Atlantic Stingray

Atlantic Stingray

Dasyatis Sabina

Life History

Description and Diagnostic Characteristics: Prominent triangular snout. Broadly rounded wingtips. Upper surface: brown or yellowish brown, paler toward margins of wings. Lower surface white. Mid-dorsal row of spines present, but few on tail beyond pelvic fins. Dangerous barbed spike at the base of the tail.

Size: Usually 1-2 feet

Range: Florida to New Jersey

Habitat: Forage on soft bottom, particularly flats and shorelines.

Angling Information

Bait and Tackle: Spinning or surf tackle baited with shrimp or crab

Fishing Method: Still fishing

Food Value: Very good, tastes like scallops

Striped Mullet

Striped Mullet

Mugil cephalus
Jumping Mullet

Life History

Description and Diagnostic Characteristics: Back and upper sides are dark bluish-gray or green with distinct horizontal black barrings; lower sides and belly are silvery and white. Tail is deeply forked. It has a blunt nose and small mouth.

Size: Can get up to 48” (SL), usually run around 1-3 pounds but 5-pounders are common and the maximum weight is probably around 10 pounds

Age at Maturity: Females mature in their 4th year when they are between 15.8 – 16.5 inches, males mature in their 3rd year when they are between 13-15 inches.

Range: Florida to Nova Scotia

Habitat: Shallow coastal waters and bays, ventures far into fresh water.

Angling Information

Bait and Tackle: Cast netting works best but they can also be caught with a cane pole. Baits include plastic or real worms, corn, bacon, etc. Fish must be taken when they mouth the bait since they will usually not eat it.

Fishing Method: Still fishing

Food Value: Excellent meat and roe

Striped Burrfish

Striped Burrfish

Chilomycterus schoepfii

Life History

Description and Diagnostic Characteristics: Small spines cover the body in rows, 5 to 7 large dark blotches on back and sides, with many, approximately parallel to obliquely intersecting dark lines distributed over light background color. No small, dark spots either on body or fin.

Size:Maximum length of 11” (TL)

Range:Nova Scotia to the Bahamas and even to Brazil, uncommon or absent from West Indies

Habitat:Common in seagrass beds in bays and coastal lagoons, also found around shallow reefs

Angling Information

Bait and Tackle: Will take any natural bait and often ruin artificial lures. Mostly caught on smaller hooks.

Fishing Method: Drifting, casting, still fishing

Food Value: The meat is very good but skin and entrails are poisonous and can cause death if not prepared correctly.

Silver Perch

Silver Perch

Bairdiella chrysoura
Yellowtail

Life History

Description and Diagnostic Characteristics: : Silver with a grayish or steely back. The fins are yellowish to dusky. Does not have canine teeth at the tip of the top jaw or chin barbels. Terminal mouth.

Size: Around 6-8 inches

Age at Maturity: Second or third year (6 inches)

Range: New England to Central Florida

Habitat: Prefers protected waters of bays, estuaries, and coastal streams. Abundant in coastal rivers and streams during the winter.

Angling Information

Bait and Tackle: Pieces of shrimp, fish or squid with a light spinning tackle with small hooks. Artificials and small jigs also work well

Fishing Method: Casting, still fishing

Food Value: Excellent panfish or deep-fried

Pinfish

Pinfish

Lagodon rhomboids
Porgies

Life History

Description and Diagnostic Characteristics: Sharp spines of the dorsal and anal fins give this fish its name. Silvery background color with narrow longitudinal yellow lines and, sometimes, dim vertical bars. There is a dark patch on the lateral line just behind the gill cover.

Size: Mostly around 3-6 inches.

Range: Florida to Cape Cod, also Bermuda

Habitat: Commonly found on vegetated bottoms, occasionally over rocky bottoms and in mangrove areas. Enters brackish water and even freshwaters. Often form large swarms. Larger fish prefer deeper inshore areas.

Angling Information

Bait and Tackle: Cane poles or spinning outfits with bits of cut shrimp, fish or bacon on tiny hooks

Fishing Method: Still fishing, drifting

Food Value: Only large ones are good for eating, otherwise there are too many small bones

Pigfish

Pigfish

Orthopristis chrysoptera
Grunt

Life History

Description and Diagnostic Characteristics: : The back is gray to blue; sides are light tan or whitish with orange lines and diagonal bars. The back is elevated and it has a long, tapered snout.

Size: Common between 3-10 inches

Range: South Florida to Cape Hatteras, straggling to New York, also Bermuda

Habitat: A variety of shallow water habitats (sand, mud or grassy bottoms).

Angling Information

Bait and Tackle: Cane pole and light spinning gear work well with cut bait or shrimp. They will also go for jigs or small plugs

Fishing Method: Drifting, still fishing

Food Value: Large fish are good panfish

Oyster Toadfish

Oyster Toadfish

Opsanus tau

Life History

Description and Diagnostic Characteristics: Has a wide head, large mouth, “warty looking” skin. Spiny dorsal fins can administer a painful puncture. Sharp gill covers and strong jaws give further reason to handle with care.

Size: Less than a foot long

Range: New England to Florida

Habitat: Rocky areas, usually in shallow waters. They like to hide in underwater debris, especially cans or other such hollow structures.

Angling Information

Bait and Tackle: Not a targeted fish, usually caught by bottom fishing with cut baits

Fishing Method: Still fishing

Food Value: None

Northern Searobin

Northern Searobin

Prionotus carolinus

Life History

Description and Diagnostic Characteristics: Have wing-like pectoral fins, the forward rays of which are modified into “feet” that they use to creep along the bottom.

Size: Usually a foot or less

Range: Nova Scotia to North Florida

Habitat: Prefers a soft or muddy bottom.

Angling Information

Bait and Tackle: Usually go for small cut baits

Fishing Method: Still fishing, drifting

Food Value: Quite good but hard to get

Northern Puffer

Northern Puffer

Sphoeroides maculates
Blowfish

Life History

Description and Diagnostic Characteristics: Upper side gray or brown with poorly defined black spots and saddles. Belly yellow to white and rough when inflated. Tiny jet-black pepper spots scattered over most of pigmented surface, particularly evident on cheeks. Lower sides with a row of black, elongate, bar-like markings. The small mouth is equipped with large, clipping teeth.

Size: Around 8-10 inches

Range: Newfoundland to North Florida

Habitat: Usually prefer calm and protected water.

Angling Information

Bait and Tackle: Will go for any natural bait and will often ruin artificial lures.

Fishing Method: Casting, drifting, still fishing

Food Value: Meat is good but skin and entrails are poisonous and can lead to death

Mummichog

Mummichog

Fundulus heteroclitus
Mud Minnow

Life History

Description and Diagnostic Characteristics: Square or fanlike tails and some have fanlike dorsal fins as well. Color is usually mottled brown, often with stripes.

Size: Usually around 2-4 inches

Range: Entire Atlantic Coast from Labrador to Florida

Habitat: Always found in calm and protected waters (bays, estuaries, coastal creeks, and into fresh water)

Angling Information

Bait and Tackle: Minnow traps or cast netting are best

Fishing Method: Still fishing

Food Value: Not good but can be canned like sardines

Ladyfish

Ladyfish

Elops saurus

Life History

Description and Diagnostic Characteristics: Silvery overall with a greenish back and a single, prominent dorsal fin, deeply forked tail, and large, scoop-shaped mouth. It has a slender body with small scales and the head is small and pointed.

Size: Most are around one pound and 4 pounds is considered big

Age at Maturity: Females mature in their 4th year when they are between 15.8 – 16.5 inches, males mature in their 3rd year when they are between 13-15 inches.

Range: Most common in Florida, but can be found north up through the Carolinas

Habitat: Found anywhere from ocean beaches to inlets, bays, and coastal streams where they sometimes wander into completely fresh water. They don’t seem to have a preference for surroundings as long as there is food.

Angling Information

Bait and Tackle: Will strike most artificial lures as well as small live fish or shrimp or cut strips. Great sport with light casting tackle or ultralight gear.

Fishing Method: Still fishing, casting, drifting

Food Value: Not very good because it is bony with mushy meat

Inshore Lizardfish

Inshore Lizardfish

Synodus foetens

Life History

Description and Diagnostic Characteristics: Colored in shades of brown with dark blotches or diamond marks on the sides. Large mouth, triangular snout, pointed, projecting beyond tip of mandible.

Size: Around 12-18 inches

Age at Maturity: Females mature in their 4th year when they are between 15.8 – 16.5 inches, males mature in their 3rd year when they are between 13-15 inches.

Range: Massachusetts to Florida

Habitat: Soft bottom from the coastline out to about 50 ft. depth.

Angling Information

Bait and Tackle: Will take any kind of live or dead bait or artificial lure. Almost always caught when fishing for something else.

Fishing Method: Drift, still fishing

Food Value: Not good, very bony

Hardhead Catfish

Hardhead Catfish

Ariopsis felis
Seacat

Life History

Description and Diagnostic Characteristics: Barbels adorn the underside and corners of the mouth. Back and upper sides are gray to almost black, with white or silvery undersides. Tail is deeply forked. First spines of dorsal and pectoral fins are stiff and sharp and coated with venomous slime that can make a puncture excruciatingly painful.

Size: Generally less than a pound, but can get up to around 3 pounds

Age at Maturity: Before the age of 2

Range: From Florida to the Chesapeake Bay and straggles to New England.

Habitat: Soft bottom areas of coastal waters, bays, harbors and estuaries.

Angling Information

Bait and Tackle: Any light tackle including cane pole, spinning and baitcasting. Prefers shrimp and cut bait but will sometimes strike artificial jigs or plugs

Fishing Method: Drift, still fishing

Food Value: Pretty good

Gafftopsail Catfish

Gafftopsail Catfish

Bagre marinus
Sailcat

Life History

Description and Diagnostic Characteristics: The head is bigger and the mouth is larger but the coloration is similar to that of the Hardhead Catfish. Long, soft streamers extend from the dorsal and pectoral fins. The dorsal and pectoral fins are equipped with a serrated erectile spine, both of which are venomous. One pair of barbels on chin.

Size: Mostly found at more than a pound but rarely over 10 pounds.

Range: From Florida to the Chesapeake Bay and straggles to New England

Habitat: Roams coastal flats but prefers channels and other deep areas. Roams far into rivers. Although mainly marine it does enter brackish estuaries with relatively high salinities

Angling Information

Bait and Tackle: Any kind of live or dead bait works well, although live bait is preferred. Many artificial lures can also be used. Light spinning and baitcasting tackle are recommended.

Fishing Method: Casting, still fishing, drifting

Food Value: Very good

Crevalle Jack

Crevalle Jack

Caranx hippos
Jack Crevalle

Life History

Description and Diagnostic Characteristics: Deep compressed body with blunt head. Color: bluish-green to greenish-gold back and silvery or yellowish belly; soft dorsal and anal fins almost identical in size; prominent black spot on operculum (gill cover); black spot at the base of each pectoral fin; no scales on throat. Sickle shaped tail.

Size: Usually 3-5 pounds but they can get upwards of 50 pounds in some parts of the world.

Age at Maturity: 55-65 cm in total body length

Range: Most common from Cape Hatteras southward, but roams as far north as Cape Cod

Habitat: Can be found all over, from inshore salt rivers to deeper waters offshore. Form schools, especially when smaller and attack and drive smaller fish into seawalls or shallows to feed.

Angling Information

Bait and Tackle: Smaller fish can be caught on any kind of light tackle but the larger fish are more picky. For larger catches use sturdy spinning, baitcasting and fly tackle with at least 8 pound test. Small fish will take most natural baits live or dead as well as casting and flyrod lures. Larger fish prefer fast moving baitfish or lures.

Fishing Method: Drifting, still fishing, trolling, casting

Food Value: people don’t like it as it has strongly flavored, dark red meat

Bluefish

Bluefish

Pomatomus saltatrix

Life History

Description and Diagnostic Characteristics: Steel blue shading to silvery white below. Has a dark spot at the base of the pectoral fin. Large mouth with large, prominent, sharp teeth. The second dorsal and anal fins are nearly the same size. Has a forked tail.

Size: Common up to 10-12 pounds

Age at Maturity: Sometime during their 2nd year

Range: Seasonally common from Nova Scotia to South Florida

Habitat: Juveniles prefer inshore areas such as rivers, streams and estuaries. Because they are highly predatory they will follow their prey inshore and even into brackish water. Adults normally are offshore but they have also been found inland as far as brackish water as well.

Angling Information

Bait and Tackle: Light casting and spinning tackle usually work as well as surf tackle. Blues are aggressive feeders and will eat almost anything thrown at them including shrimp, squid, bait fish, and cut bait. They will also go for artificial lures such as noisy surface plugs, jigs, swimming plugs and spoons. Heavy leaders are recommended as they can cut through the line with their teeth.

Fishing Method: Casting, still fishing, trolling

Food Value: Small fish are good when pan-fried or broiled when fresh

State Regulation

Daily Limit: 15

Minimum size: 12″ FL

Federal Regulation

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Blue Runner

Blue Runner

Caranx crysos
Hardtail

Life History

Description and Diagnostic Characteristics: Steel blue to light green above with silvery-gray or gold underparts. Frequently has a black spot on the operculum and can be distinguished from the Crevalle Jack by the lack of a black spot on the pectoral fin. It is also more streamlined than the Crevalle. Has a highly forked tail with black tips.

Size: Usually less than 1 pound (11”)

Age at Maturity: matures when it reaches 9-10 inches

Range: Florida to Nova Scotia

Habitat: Will live nearly anywhere inshore or close to shore but they like to swim near larger floating objects.

Angling Information

Bait and Tackle: Light spinning and fly tackle work well with natural baits such as live shrimp or cut fish, or small artificial jigs and flies

Fishing Method: Casting, drifting, trolling, still fishing

Food Value: OK but seldom eaten

Atlantic Manhaden

Atlantic Manhaden

Brevoortia tyrannus
Pogy

Life History

Description and Diagnostic Characteristics: Silvery, with brassy sides and a dark bluish green back, upper jaw has median notch. A black spot behind gill opening, followed along flank by approximately 6 lines of smaller spots. Has a sharp-edged belly. The rear margins of the scales are nearly vertical (not rounded), and are edged with long comb-like teeth instead of being smooth.

Size: Average around 8”

Age at Maturity: Most likely, sometime in their 3rd year.

Range: Nova Scotia to Florida

Habitat: Ranges widely in open water but stays closer inshore during the summer months, juveniles tend to stay in rivers and estuaries.

Angling Information

Bait and Tackle: Cast netting or spinning tackle with multi-hook bait rigs

Fishing Method: Still fishing, drift

Food Value: Very oily so they are best used for bait

Weakfish

Weakfish

Cynoscion regalis
Yellow Mouth Trout, Grey Trout

Life History

Description and Diagnostic Characteristics: Body greenish gray above and silvery below, back with small spots forming undulating diagonal dotted lines. Pelvic fins and anal fin yellowish other fins pale, sometimes with a yellowish tinge. Prominent canine teeth on tip of upper jaw.

Size:Maximum length of 40”, average 2-3 pounds but common to 6 pounds.

Age at Maturity: As early as 1 year

Range:From Cape Canaveral, Florida to New England.

Habitat:Found inshore during the summer months in estuaries and streams; move offshore during colder weather.

Angling Information

Bait and Tackle: Natural baits include shrimp, marine worms, crabs, squid, live small fish, and strips of fish. Spinning, baitcasting, light saltwater tackle and surf gear all work well for catching them. They will also go for a number or artificial lures including spoons, tin squids, jigs, and swimming plugs.

Fishing Method: Casting, drifting, still fishing, trolling

Food Value:Very good

State Regulation

Daily Limit: 1

Minimum size: 13″ TL

Season: All Year

Federal Regulation

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Marine Fishes of Georgia Posters

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