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Florida Sportfishing Species

Family Carangidae


Description: A deep-bodied amberjack; sometimes darker in coloration; front of soft dorsal and of anal fins high and elongated; body more flattened than banded rudderfish or greater amberjack; no scutes.

Similar Fish: Other Seriola.

Where found: Wide-ranging in offshore waters, not a common catch; young are associated with Sargassum.

Size: Usually less than 20 pounds.

Remarks: Spawns offshore, apparently during spring, summer, and fall.

Description: fish less than 11 inches long have dark band from eye to first dorsal fin and six prominent bars on body; larger fish are bluish, greenish, or brown; soft dorsal base about twice the length of the anal fin; tail-lobe white tipped.

Similar Fish: other Seriola.

Where found: near shore and off shore over hard bottom, generally in shallower water than other amberjacks; young associated with weed lines or floating debris and may follow sharks and other large fish.

Size: usually less than 10 pounds.

Remarks: adults feed on fish and shrimp; spawns off shore most of year.

Description: Color light olive to bluish green above; silvery gray to golden below; frequently black spot on operculum; readily distinguished from crevalle jack by lack of black blotch on pectoral fin; tail tips blackish.

Similar Fish: Bluefish, Pomatomus saltarix, other Caranx.

Where found: Juveniles found off shore; adults near shore in schools, but sometimes ranging in shore as well.

Size: Usually less than 1 pound (11 inches).

Remarks: Matures by 9 to 10 inches; spawns off shore from January through August; young form schools associated with floating objects, and have been observed living inside the bell of jellyfish; adults feed on fish, shrimp, and squid.

Description: 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.

Similar Fish: other Caranx.

Where found: common in both INSHORE waters and the open sea.

Size: usually 3 to 5 pounds.

Remarks: tolerates a wide range of salinities; schools corner a school of baitfish at the surface and feed with commotion that can be seen at great distances; feeds mainly on small fish; peak spawning occurs OFFSHORE from March through September.

Description: Dark stripe (variably present) extends from nose to in front of dorsal fin and "lights up" when fish is in feeding mode; no scutes; soft dorsal base less than twice the length of the anal fin base.

Similar Fish: other Seriola.

Where found: Offshore species associated with rocky reefs, debris, and wrecks, typically in 60 - 240 feet of water; sometimes caught near shore in south Florida; juveniles associated with floating objects and may occur in water less than 30 feet deep.

Size: Common to 40 pounds.

Remarks: Largest of the jacks; thought to spawn off shore throughout most of the year; feeds on squid, fish, and crustaceans.

Description: Olive green or brownish black and silver sides; dark band (variably present) extends upward from eye; juveniles have split or wavy bars on sides; proportionately larger eye and deeper body than greater amberjack.

Similar Fish: Other Seriola.

Where found: Near shore and offshore, apparently living deeper than other Seriola (commonly 180 - 410 feet deep).

Size: Usually under 10 pounds.

Remarks: Smallest of the amberjacks; believed to spawn offshore; adults eat fish and squid.

Description: Grayish-blue-green on top of head and along the back; bright silvery sides; yellow on breast; elongated dorsal and anal fins; dusky or black with bluish edges; deep body, with four narrow bars high on the sides, and traces of a fifth fin nearer the tail; no scutes.

Similar Fish: Pompano, T. carolinus; permit, T. falcatus.

Where found: In clear water along sandy beaches and bays, occasionally found over reefs; most common in south Florida.

Size: Rarely over 1 pound, reported to 3 pounds.

Remarks: Thought to spawn offshore in spring, summer, and fall; has shown rapid growth in mariculture experiments; readily strikes small artificial lures.

Description: color gray, dark or iridescent blue above, shading to silvery sides, in dark waters showing golden tints around breast; small permit have teeth on tongue (none on pompano); no scutes; dorsal fin insertion directly above that of the anal fin; 17 to 21 soft anal rays.

Similar Fish: pompano, T. carolinus. The permit is deeper bodied; dorsal body profile forms angle at insertion of second dorsal fin; pompano rarely grow larger than 6 pounds, permit common to 40 pounds.

Where found: OFFSHORE on wrecks and debris, INSHORE on grass flats, sand flats, and in channels; most abundant in south Florida, with smaller specimens from every coastal county.

Size: common to 25 pounds.

Remarks: feeds mainly on bottom-dwelling crabs, shrimp, small clams, and small fish.

Description: greenish gray on back, shading to silvery sides; fish in dark waters showing gold on throat, pelvic, and anal fins; deep flattened body with small mouth; no scutes; 22 to 27 soft dorsal rays; 20 to 23 soft anal rays; origin of anal fin slightly behind origin of second dorsal.

Similar Fish: permit, T. falcatus, palometa, T. goodei. The permit is deeper bodied; dorsal body profile not strongly angled at insertion of second dorsal fin; pompano rarely grow larger than 6 pounds, permit common to 40 pounds.

Where found: INSHORE and NEARSHORE waters, especially along sandy beaches, along oyster banks, and over grassbeds, often in turbid water; may be found in water as deep as 130 feet.

Size: usually less than 3 pounds.

Remarks: spawns OFFSHORE between March and September; feeds on mollusks and crustaceans, especially sand fleas; local movements are influenced by the tide, and seasonal movements are influenced by temperature.


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