Rachycentron canadum
Ling, Lemonfish, Crab Eater

Life History

Description and Diagnostic Characteristics: Dark brown on top and sides, torpedo shaped. In the water they are often mistaken for sharks. Lower jaw is longer than upper and it has no teeth. Has a dark band than runs from the eye to the tail, more obvious in younger specimens. First dorsal fin is made up of free spines.

Size: Common from 20-50 pounds.

Age at Maturity: Females at 36 inches, Males at 24 inches

Range: New England to South Florida

Habitat: Anywhere from shallow flats and bays to the open sea. They like to hang around navigational markers, artificial reefs, bridges, piers, etc. and often follow large rays and sharks.

Angling Information

Bait and Tackle: Surf tackle with 30-pound test or more is recommended although they can be taken on lighter gear. Live baitfish such as Grunts, Jacks, Cigar Minnows and Mullet work best but live shrimp, crabs, dead fish or squid also work well. Artificial lures such as jigs, large streamer flies, spoons, and swimming plugs often work as well. Caution: If the fish aren’t tired when landed they are known to tear up boats.

Fishing Method: Casting, trolling, still fishing, drifting

Food Value: Excellent, smoked or fresh

State Regulation

Daily Limit: 2

Minimum size: 33″ FL

Federal Regulation

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Marine Fishes of Georgia Posters

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