Targeted Fish Species
Red Drum (aka Redfish)
Red Drum are a dark red color on the back, which fades into white on the belly. The red drum have a characteristic eyespot near the tail and are somewhat streamlined. Three year-old red drum typically weigh six to eight pounds. When they are near or over twenty-seven inches, they are called “bull reds”. The largest red drum on record weighed just over 94 pounds and was caught in 1984 on Hatteras Island. Red drum are relatives of the black drum and both make a croaking or drumming sound when distressed.
The black drum (Pogonias cromis) is a saltwater fish similar to its cousin, the red drum. Though most specimens are generally found in the 5-30 lb (2–14 kg) range, the black drum is well known as the largest of all the drum family with some specimens reaching excesses of 90 lbs (40 kg). The world record black drum was just over 113 lbs (51 kg). They are often black and/or gray in color with juvenile fish having distinctive dark stripes over a gray body. Their teeth are rounded and they have powerful jaws capable of crushing oysters and other shellfish. It is recommended those over 15 lbs pounds (7 kg) should be released. Black drum are capable of producing tones between 100 Hz and 500 Hz when performing mating calls.
The spotted seatrout, also known as speckled trout (Cynoscion nebulosus), is a common estuarine fish found in the southern United States along coasts of Gulf of Mexico and South Atlantic Ocean. While most of these fish are caught on shallow, grassy flats, spotted seatrout reside in virtually any inshore waters, from the surf of outside islands to far up coastal rivers, where they often come for shelter during cold weather. Contrary to its name, the spotted seatrout is not a member of the trout family (Salmonidae), but of the drum family (Sciaenidae). It is popular for commercial and especially recreational fishing in coastal waters of the southeastern United States. Adults reach 19-25 inches in length and 1-4 pounds in weight.
Paralichthys lethostigma (also know as the Southern Flounder) is a popular sports fish and is the largest and most commercially valuable flounder in the western north Atlantic ocean and Gulf of Mexico. Its range is North Carolina to the Yucatan peninsula. It is a “left-eyed flounder,” meaning the left side is pigmented and is the “up side.”The body color is brown with diffuse, non-ocellated spots and blotches. The flounder family varies considerably in size, from 11 cm (4.3 in) of Pseudomancopsetta andriashevi to the 57 cm (22 in) length of Neoachiropsetta milfordi.
The sheepshead, Archosargus probatocephalus, is a marine fish that grows to 30 in (760 mm), but commonly reaches 10 to 20 in. It is deep and compressed in body shape, with 5 to 6 dark bars on the side of the body over a gray background. It has sharp dorsal spines. Its diet consists of oysters, clams, and other bivalves, and barnacles, fiddler crabs, and other crustaceans. It has a hard mouth, with several rows of stubby teeth, which help crush the shells of prey.
Sharks have been around for 420 million years and have diversified into over 470 species over time. They range in size from the small dwarf lanternshark (Etmopterus perryi), a deep sea species of only 17 centimetres (6.7 in) in length, to the whale shark (Rhincodon typus), the largest fish in the world, which reaches approximately 12 metres (39 ft). Sharks are found in all seas and are common to depths of 2,000 metres (6,600 ft). They generally do not live in freshwater although there are a few known exceptions, such as the bull shark and the river shark, which can survive in both seawater and freshwater.
Merlangius merlangus has three dorsal fins with a total of 30 to 40 soft rays and two anal fins with 30 to 35 soft rays. The body is long and the head small and a chin barbel, if present, is very small. This fish can reach a maximum length of about 70 cm (28 inches). The colour may be yellowish-brown, greenish or dark blue, the flanks yellowish grey or white and the belly silvery. There is a distinctive black blotch near the base of each pectoral fin.
The bluefish (Pomatomus saltatrix) is a moderately proportioned fish, with a broad, forked tail. The spiny first dorsal fin is normally folded back in a groove, as are its pectoral fins. Coloration is a grayish blue-green dorsally, fading to white on the lower sides and belly. Its single row of teeth in each jaw are uniform in size, knife-edged, and sharp. Bluefish commonly range in size from seven-inch (18-cm) “snappers” to much larger, sometimes weighing as much as 40 pounds (18 kg), though fish heavier than 20 pounds (9 kg) are exceptional.
The cobia (Rachycentron canadum) is a species of perciform marine fish, the only representative of the genus Rachycentron and the family Rachycentridae. Other common names include black kingfish, black salmon, ling,lemonfish, crabeater, prodigal son and aruan task.
Attaining a maximum length of 2 m (78 in) and maximum weight of 78 kg (172 lb), the cobia has an elongated fusiform (spindle-shaped) body and a broad, flattened head. The eyes are small and the lower jaw projects slightly past the upper. Fibrous villiform teeth line the jaws, the tongue, and the roof of the mouth. The body of the fish is smooth with small scales. It is dark brown in color, grading to white on the belly with two darker brown horizontal bands on the flanks. The stripes are more prominent during spawning, when they darken and the background color lightens.
There are two species of tarpons, the Megalops atlanticus (the Tarpon) and the Megalops cyprinoides (the Indo-Pacific tarpon). Megalops atlanticus is found on the western Atlantic coast from Virginia to Brazil, throughout the coast of the Gulf of Mexico, throughout the Caribbean. Both species are found in both salt and freshwater habitats usually ascending rivers to access freshwater marshes.
Tarpons grow to about 4–8 ft long and weigh 60–280 lbs. They have dorsal and anal soft rays and have bluish or greenish backs. Tarpons possess distinctive lateral lines and have shiny, silvery scales that cover most of their bodies, excluding the head. They have large eyes with adipose eyelids and broad mouths with prominent lower jaws that jut out farther than the rest of the face.
The Atlantic spadefish (Chaetodipterus faber) has a very deep, compressed, disk-shaped body and a blunt snout. The second dorsal and anal fins of adults have long, trailing anterior lobes, giving an “angelfish-like” appearance. The body is silver in color with irregular black vertical bands that fade gradually with age. The mouth is small, with the maxilla of adults ending beneath the nostrils. Specimens commonly weigh from 3 to 10 pounds (1.4 to 4.5 kg), although individuals as large as 20 pounds (9 kg) have been recorded. Their maximum length is about 36 inches (91 cm).