Family Serranidae, SEA BASSES AND (GAG-GROUPER)
Description: brownish gray in color with dark worm-like markings on sides; strong serrated spur at bottom margin of preopercle, less noticeable in large specimens; fins dark, with anal and caudal having white margin. Often confused with black grouper; tail of gag is slightly concave, black is square; gag has white margin on anal and caudal fins, black does not; under 10 pounds, gag’s spur on preopercle is distinctive, where black is gently rounded.
2 per person per day 22″ min.
Family Rachycentridae, (COBIA OR LING)
Rachycentron canadum Both inshore and near-shore around pilings, buoys, and wrecks; along beaches during spring and early summer. Use trolling or casting lures, jigs or live pinfish.
LIMITS: 33″ MINIMUM TO FORK OF TAIL, ONE PER PERSON PER DAY
Family Centropomidae, (SNOOK)
Centropomus undecimalis (Seasonal) Inshore in coastal and brackish waters, along mangrove shorelines, seawalls, bridges, on reefs and pilings. Artificial bait or live pinfish and grunts. Prefer anything that moves on top of the water. Lies motionless in the shadows.
LIMITS: 33″ MINIMUM 37″ MAXIMUM OVERALL, ONE PER PERSON PER DAY
Family Sciaenidae, DRUMS (REDFISH)
Sciaenops ocellatus Inshore near grass beds, oyster bars, docks and pilings; deeper channels during warmest and coolest months. Use live shrimp or pinfish fished on bottom or free-lined, or soft bodied jigs bounced slowly along the bottom.
LIMITS: 18″ MINIMUM 27″ MAXIMUM OVERALL, ONE PER PERSON PER DAY
Family Sciaenidae, DRUMS (SPOTTER SEA TROUT)
Inshore and near-shore over grass, sand and mud bottoms. Deeper waters during the warmest and coolest months. Use live shrimp or baitfish fished near bottom by free lining or under a popping cork, or soft-bodied jigs or surface plugs cast while drifting.
LIMITS: 15″ MINIMUM OVERALL, 5 PER PERSON PER DAY, INCLUDING ONE OVER
Family Scombridae, (MACKERELS and TUNAS)
Inshore, near-shore and off-shore, especially over grass beds and reefs; absent from north Florida waters in winter. Free-lining live shrimp or cut bait. Or casting silver spoons or jigs worked in a fast motion.
LIMITS: 12″ MINIMUM TO FORK OF TAIL, 15 PER PERSON PER DAY
Family Bothidae, LEFTEYE (FLOUNDERS)
Inshore on sandy or mud bottoms, often ranging into tidal creeks; occasionally caught on near-shore rocky reefs. Working jigs or live bait near the bottom.
LIMITS: 12″ MINIMUM OVERALL, TEN PER PERSON PER DAY.
Family Lutjanidae, (FIRE MOUTH SNAPPERS)
Description: color dark brown or gray with reddish or orange spots in rows along the sides; dark horizontal band from snout through eye (young only); two conspicuous canine teeth at front of upper jaw; dorsal fins have dark or reddish borders; no dark spot on side underneath dorsal fin and a bright orange mouth.
The crevalle jack, Caranx hippos (also known as the common jack, black-tailed trevally, couvalli jack, black cavalli and yellow cavalli) is a common species of large marine fish classified within the jack family, Carangidae. The crevalle jack is distributed across the tropical and temperate waters of the Atlantic Ocean, ranging from Nova Scotia, Canada to Uruguay in the west Atlantic and Portugal to Angola in the east Atlantic, including the Mediterranean Sea. The crevalle jack is distinguishable from similar species by its deep body, fin colouration and a host of more detailed anatomical features including fin ray and lateral line scale counts. It is one of the largest fish in the genus Caranx, growing to a maximum known length of 124 cm and a weight of 32 kg, although is rare at lengths greater than 60 cm. The crevalle jack inhabits both inshore and offshore waters to depths of around 350 m, predominantly over reefs, bays, lagoons and occasionally estuaries. Young fish dispersed north by currents in the eastern Atlantic are known to migrate back to more tropical waters before the onset of winter; however if the fish fail to migrate, mass mortalities occur as the temperature falls below the species tolerance limits.
- The Spanish hogfish (Bodianus rufus) is also sometimes known as “ladyfish”.
Elopidae is a family of ray-finned fish containing the single genus Elops. They are commonly known as ladyfishes, skipjacks, Jack-Rashes, or tenpounders.
The ladyfish are a coastal dwelling fish found throughout the tropical and sub-tropical regions. Spawning takes place at sea and the fish larvae migrate inland entering brackish waters. Their food is smaller fish and crustaceans (shrimp). Typically throughout the species the maximum size is 1 metre (3.3 ft) and the maximum weight 10 kilograms (22 lb). The body is fusiform (tapering spindle shape) and oval in cross-section; being slightly laterally compressed, the eyes are large and partially covered with fatty (adipose) eyelids.
Like those of eels, the larvae are leptocephalic – being highly compressed, ribbon-like and transparent. After initial growth they shrink and then metamorphise into the adult form.
This family is fished, but the body is bony and therefore not edible by humans. However, the fish may be ground down for fish meal.
The name comes from the Greek ellops – a kind of serpent.
The mangrove snapper, Lutjanus griseus, is a snapper in the family Lutjanidae. It is also known as the gray snapper, black snapper, mango snapper, or cabellerote.
Its color is typically greyish red, but it can change color from bright red to copper red. It has a dark stripe running through its eye if you look at it from the top when it is underwater. Its size ranges from 2–6 pounds (1–3 kg) but many biologists have now confirmed that a 29.5 pound (13.4 kg) mangrove snapper was speared off of the coast of Louisiana.
The mangrove snapper can be confused with the cubera snapper, Lutjanus cyanopterus. Mangrove snappers are typically much smaller than cubera, but when they are of similar size, the two species can only be distinguished by examining a patch of teeth (tooth patch) on the inside roof of the mouth. Many specimens caught in Florida, specifically Punta Gorda, are actually misidentified Dogtooth Snapper, a.k.a. Dog Snapper Lutjanus jocu. The best way to distinguish between the two species is that the Dogtooth Snapper has a lighter triangle of color with a blue band under the eye and large, sharp fangs in the front (canines), hence its common name. These fangs can deliver a painful bite, even in a small fish. The mangrove snapper feeds mostly on small fishes and crustaceans.
The mangrove snapper is one of, if not the most common species of snapper in warmer regions. It can be found in many areas from canals to grass flats as well as in open water. Most mangrove snapper in the open water are generally found near bottom structure or reefs. Mangrove snapper is a common target for anglers; and is highly prized for its light and flaky meat. Mangrove snapper can be caught on a variety of baits, but is typically caught with live or frozen shrimp, squid, minnows and occasionally on artificial lures or baits. Mangroves can be spearfished as well, but are sometimes a tough target as they tend to be more wary of divers, rather than curious. Mangroves are typically a wary fish, and the wariness of mangroves to eat baits tends to increase as the fish grow larger. Most mangrove snapper are caught on light to medium tackle, and typical catches range from eight inches to fourteen inches in shallow or in-shore waters, to up to 20″ in deeper waters. Larger fish are uncommon, but not rare.
The permit, Trachinotus falcatus, is a game fish of the western Atlantic ocean belonging to the Carangidae family. Adults feed on crabs, shrimp, and smaller fish. Twosubmarines of the United States Navy were named USS Permit in its honor, in keeping with the “denizens of the deep” theme of submarine names that prevailed before the 1971 naming of USS Los Angeles.
Pompanos (English pronunciation: /ˈpɒmpənəʊ/) are marine fishes in the Trachinotus genus of the Carangidae family (better known as “jacks”). Pompano may also refer to various other, similarly shaped members of Carangidae, or the order Perciformes. Their appearance is deep bodied and mackerel-like, typically silver and toothless with a forked tail and narrow base. There are twenty described species and most are valued as food. Some species are considered prize delicacies and game fish. A similar species is known as the permit, and two United States Navy submarines are named after it.
The Florida pompano, T.carolinus, reaches about 45 centimeters (18 in) and 1.5 kilograms (3 lb), while the permit, Trachinotus falcatus reaches about 90 centimeters (35 in) and more than 14 kilograms (31 lb).
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 prey.
There are two species of Megalops, commonly known as the tarpon, one native to the Atlantic, and the other to the Indo-Pacific oceans. They are the only members of the family Megalopidae and genus Megalops.
There are two species of Megalops, the Megalops atlanticus and the Megalops cyprinoides. The Megalops atlanticus is found on the western Atlantic coast from Virginia to Brazil, throughout the coast of the Gulf of Mexico, throughout the Caribbean. It is also found along the eastern Atlantic coast from Senegal to Angola.Megalops cyprinoides is found along the eastern African coast, throughout southeast Asia, Japan, Tahiti, and Australia. Both species are found in both salt and freshwater habitats usually ascending rivers to access freshwater marshes. They are able to survive in brackish water, waters of varying pH, as well as habitats with low dissolved O2 content due to their swim bladders which they use primarily to breathe with.The habitat of the Megalops varies greatly with the developmental stage they are in. Stage one larvae are usually found in clear, warm, oceanic waters relatively close to the surface. Stage two and three larvae are found in salt marshes, tidal pools, creeks, and rivers. The habitats are characteristically warm, shallow, dark bodies of water with sandy mud bottoms. It is quite common for Megalops to ascend rivers into freshwater. As they progress from the juvenile stage to adulthood, they move back to the open waters of the ocean, though many remain in freshwater habitats.
TIGER SHARK – Galeocerdo cuvier
Identification: Another unmistakable submarine presence, tiger sharks are thought attain 7m/21f in length, however sightings in South Africa are almost invariably of female sharks under 4m. The robust body bears dark vertical bars along the upper-mid-back, particularly evident in juveniles and fading with age. The snout is blunt and squared when viewed from above. The caudal fin (tail) is distinctively elongated on the upper lobe and is suited to slow cruising and only short, sudden bursts of speed. The first dorsal is prominent and linked to the much smaller second dorsal by an inter-dorsal ridge that also extends forward to the back of the head. Broad, serrated, cockscomb teeth are widely set in both upper and lower jaws.
Biology: Tiger sharks attain sexual maturity at around 3m and give birth to between 10 and 80 live young, measuring 50 to 90cm. Tiger sharks are relatively slow moving and like the ragged tooth shark are able to remain motionless for long periods by regulating water flow over the gills by means of active respiration.
Behavior: Widespread throughout temperate and tropical seas, tiger sharks are known to enter shallow coastal waters in the vicinity of large river mouths and harbors. A voracious and opportunistic predator, tiger sharks will feed on bony fish, smaller sharks, marine mammals and even birds. Tin cans, plastic bags and livestock have also been found in their stomachs – implying a tendency to scavenge. Studys indicate that tiger sharks range extensively, covering large areas daily, often using a bouncing swim pattern of rapid ascents and descents through the water column to detect both benthic and pelagic activity as well as oils from floating or submerged carcasses. In july 2007 we witnessed approximately 15 individual tiger sharks feeding on the carcass of a dead whale – See full report. Periodically seen in the more tropical waters off South Africa, tiger sharks rarely investigate divers, tending rather to cruise past or shy away. Tiger sharks do however, respond well to baiting and can be encouraged to stay around divers in a baited environment.
|HAMMERHEAD SHARK – Sp. Sphyrna
GREAT HAMMERHEAD – Sphyrna mokarran. The body is olive-brown above and lighter below, attaining up to 5.5m. The head is almost rectangular and notched front and center. The first dorsal is very long, elongated and prominent.
SCALLOPED HAMMERHEAD – Sphyrna lewini. The body is greyish above and paler below, attaining up to 4m. The front edge of the head being more noticeably scalloped in shape. The first dorsal is less prominent than that of the great hammerhead.
SMOOTH HAMMERHEAD – Sphyrna zygaena. The body is greyish above and paler below, attaining up to 4m. The front edge of the head being more smoothly convex in shape, lacking the central indentation found in both the scalloped and great hammerheads. The first dorsal is less prominent than that of the great hammerhead and more rounded than on either the scalloped or great hammerhead sharks.
BLACKTIP SHARK – Carcharhinus limbatus
Identification: . Blacktip sharks are dark brown-bronze in colour with a lighter underbelly and a distinctive light band on the flanks. The body is stout, with a high dorsal fin and a pointed snout. Fin tips are usually black on pectorals, second dorsal, ventral caudal lobe, and the trailing edge of the first dorsal. The anal fin has no black tip unlike that of the spinner shark (Carcharhinus brevipinna) with which it is often misidentified. Teeth are narrow and cusped on the upper jaw. Blacktip sharks have no ridge between dorsal fins and can attain 2.6m in length.
Biology: Blacktip sharks may bear 1-10 pups (usually 4-7) born live in inshore nursery grounds after 10 to 12 month gestation in alternate years.
Behavior: Blacktips can be found in east coast estuaries and open ocean up as far as the tropics. Preferring to feed on large pelagic bony fish they are very active, fast swimmers, considered a pest by fishermen as they will readily steal fish off the line. Blacktips will also feed on smaller sharks, rays, cuttlefish, lobster and bottom fish. Blacktips seem to respond well to sound and divers may maintain shark interest with repetitive clicking sounds. Often found in larger groups they are easily attracted with fish chum and blood and are often a highlight on baited dive
Carcharhinus leucas (Bull Sharks)
Bull shark are the most dangerous sharks in the world, according to many experts. This is because they’re an aggressive species of shark, and they tend to hunt in waters where people often swim: along tropical shorelines.
Bull sharks live throughout the world, in shallow, warm ocean & gulf waters. They’re even known to swim up into freshwater rivers and springs.
Humans are not part of a bull shark’s normal prey. Scientists think that when a bull shark goes after a person it’s because the big fish is just curious what humans taste like.
Bull sharks will eat almost anything, but their diet consists mainly of fish. They also sometimes eat dolphins and sea turtles. Bull sharks even eat other sharks. They hunt during the day and at night.
Before it attacks its prey, a bull shark head-butts the animal. This head-butting habit, along with its short, blunt snout and grumpy personality, led to its name of “bull” shark.
Bull sharks are unusual among sharks in their ability to survive in freshwater. These sharks have been spotted thousands of miles up the Amazon River in South America—far from the ocean. Bull sharks have also been found swimming in the Mississippi River as far north as Illinois as well as upstream in many other rivers like the crystal river & homosassa river in florida.
Sharks must keep salt in their bodies to survive, and most can live only in salt water. But bull sharks have developed special adaptations—the way their kidneys function and special glands near their tails—that help them keep salt in their bodies even when they—re in freshwater. Scientists are still studying these sharks to figure out why they developed this unusual ability.
The scientific name of the bull shark is Carcharhinus leucas.
In the wild, a bull shark generally lives to be about 16 years old.
Bull sharks can grow from 7 to 11.5 feet (2.1 to 3.4 meters) in length.
Bull sharks can weigh between 200 and 500 pounds (90 and 230 kilograms).
A group of sharks is known as a school or a shoal.
When it’s warm, some bull sharks swim as far north as Massachusetts.
The bull shark is known by several other names, including Zambezi shark, Van Rooyen’s shark, the Ganges shark, and the Nicaragua shark.
There are about 375 species of sharks. The three kinds of sharks that are most likely to attack humans are the bull shark, the great white shark, and the tiger shark.