Common Inshore Saltwater Fishes Caught By Coastal Georgia Anglers
Atlantic Croaker | Atlantic Tripletail | Black Drum | Black Bass | Bluefish | Crevalle Jack | Red Drum | Sand Seatrout | SheepsheadSilver Perch | Silver Seatrout | Southern Flounder | Southern Whiting | Spotted Seatrout  | Weakfish
Atlantic Croaker (Micropogonias undulatus)
Description:  inferior mouth; 3 to 5 pairs of small barbels on chin; silver-gray or bronze body with dark oblique wavy bars or lines; iridescent especially on head; preopercle strongly serrated.

 

Atlantic Croaker
Where found:  young fish found in estuaries; older fish (2 to 3 years) inhabit deep OFFSHORE waters during the winter months and move into bays and estuaries during the spring, summer, and fall.

Size:   usually less than 2 pounds.

Remarks:  during spawning becomes bronze or yellow in color; spawning apparently occurs OFFSHORE in fall; longevity 2 to 4 years.

Atlantic Tripletail, Triple-tail or Blackfish (Lobotes surinamensis)
Description: The tripletail is a flat fish, best distinguished by the unusual arrangement of the back fins. The soft parts of the dorsal and anal fins are so snug with the caudal, that on the first look these there appear as a single, three lobed fin. Also, the flat bone forming the front part of the gill cover, the opercle, has a strongly serrated back edge, very evident as it coursed down across the mid region of the gill cover. The eye is very near the front of the jaw, resulting in a tiny snout region, making the entire head area appear small, and the head profile slightly concave.



Atlantic Tripletai
Where found:  both nearshore and in whitewater mid ocean regions, Sometimes their attraction to floating objects will cause them to collect around barges or anchored boats, and they especially like channel and range markers sprinkled throughout the Intercoastal Waterway. The young are more common nearshore. Remarks:  The excellent quality of the flesh, though meager quantity due to the flat body shape, has sometimes made the tripletail an unexpected bonus. Despite their slovenly habits, the tripletail si capable of amazing short bursts of speed and lighting attacks.

Black Drum (Pogonias cromis)
Description:  high arched back; 10 to 14 pairs of chin barbels; gray or black colored body in adults; young have 4 to 6 vertical bars; has cobblestone-like teeth capable of crushing oysters; scales large.

Similar fish: the vertical bars on juvenile black drum are somewhat similar to those on sheepshead.

Black Drum
Where found:  INSHORE fish common to bays and lagoons; bottom dweller often found around oyster beds; also OFFSHORE. Size: common to 30 pounds. Remarks:  largest member of the drum family; spawns NEARSHORE in winter and early spring; feeds on oysters, mussels, oysters, crabs, shrimp, and occasionally fish; longevity to 35 or more years.

Black Sea Bass (Centropristis striata)

Description: basic color dark brown or black; dorsal fin has rows and stripes of white on black; large males have iridescent blue and ebony markings, and fatty hump in front of dorsal fin; females may have indistinct vertical barrings; topmost ray of caudal fin much elongated in adults; caudal may be tri-lobed; sharp spine near posterior margin of gill cover.

Black Sea Bass

Where found: structure-loving fish, associated with reefs and rubble OFFSHORE; smaller specimens often found in INSHORE finger channels.
Size: common to 1.5 pounds (13 inches)
.

Remarks: spawns January through March; protogynous hermaphrodites, older females becoming breeding males; omnivorous bottom feeders, diet including small fish, crustaceans, and shellfish.


Bluefish (Pomatomus saltatrix)

Description: color blue or greenish blue on back, sides silvery; mouth large; teeth prominent, sharp, and compressed; dorsal and anal fins nearly the same size; scales small; lateral line almost straight.

Bluefish

Where found: young usually INSHORE spring and summer, moving OFFSHORE to join adults fall and winter

Remarks: travels in large schools, following schools of baitfish; cannibalistic; all members of a given school about the same size; spawning occurs OFFSHORE in spring and summer.


Crevalle Jack (Caranx hippos)

Also called a "JACKFISH" The Crevalle Jack make full use of Georgia coastal waters. Spawning occurs OFFSHORE from March through September, juveniles abound in the surf and smaller jacks run in schools near bridges and other structures. Jackfish feed on CRABS and other crustacions. Silvery, blunt-faced Crevalle Jack have one dark spot on each gill and a series of strong bony scutes, or modified scales, on their tales.

Crevalle Jack

Where found: common in both INSHORE waters and the open sea.
Size: usually 3 to 5 pounds.

Remarks: If you're Lucky enough to hook a Jackfish...expect to reel back a LOT of line because this is a strong and hard running fish when hooked. Many fishermen have lost their Rods to Jackfish due to setting their drag too tight.


Croakers

Croakers live their short lives to the fullest. They feast on small fish, worms, crabs, shrimp and other shellfish on the bottoms of bays. Then they migrate to the Gulf of Mexico to spawn.

Larger Croakers make good Table Fare

USING CROAKER AS BAIT
If you plan on using a croaker that is 6 inches long or larger as bait, you will need a 5/0 or larger hook. Run the hook up through the croaker's open mouth, This will keep your bait alive and croaking much longer.

Croaker

Red Drum a.k.a. Redfish (Sciaenops ocellatus)
Description:  chin without barbels; copper-bronze body, lighter shade in clear waters; one to many spots at base of tail (rarely no spots); mouth horizontal and opening downward; scales large.

 

Red Drum
Where found:  juveniles are an INSHORE fish, migrating out of the estuaries at about 30 inches (4 years) and joining the spawning population OFFSHORE.

Size:  one of 27 inches weighs about 8 pounds.

Remarks:  First three years of their lives, red drum prefer the shallow water (1-4 feet deep) in the bays, preferring submerged vegetation and soft mud. Adults migrate from the bays to the Gulf where they remain the rest of their lives. These fish feed heads-down, tails-up, when you see this fenomenon its called "TAILING" because you can see their tails sticking up out of the shallow water while they are searching the bottom for crabs or shrimp, marine worms and small fish. But this strange feeding style doesn't slow their growth any - red drum may weigh in at 50 pounds!

Sand Seatrout (Cynoscion arenarius)
Description:  pale body color; yellow above, silver to white below; one or two prominent canine teeth usually at the tip of upper jaw; inside of mouth yellow; no well-defined black spots on back; 10 to 12 soft rays in anal fin; no chin barbels.

 

Sand Seatrout
Where found:  a Gulf species, that may occur in the Atlantic waters of extreme south-eastern Florida; adults predominantly found INSHORE residing in bays and inlets, but may move OFFSHORE during winter months; young occur INSHORE in shallow bays.

Size:  usually less than 1 pound (10 to 12 inches).

Remarks:  matures during first or second year; prolonged INSHORE spawning season extends through spring and summer; feeds mainly on small fish and shrimp.

Sheepshead (Archorsargus probatocephalus)

Description: As a member of the Porgy family the Sheepshead has the same large body as other Porgies, Unlike other fish of the same shape and coloring this fish doesn't have a deep forked tail and its tail is rounded at the tips. It looks like a Juvenile Black Drum. It gets its name from the Sheeplike teeth in its mouth, besides the buckteeth, It has several rows of blunt teeth on the roof and bottom of its mouth, The fish is silvery white with 7 Broad black or grey stipes down its sides.

Sheephead

Where found: Sheepshead are creatures of Habbit, They tend to stay in the same spot every day. They grow large on their diet of barnacles, fiddler crabs and other hard-shelled animals such as hermit crabs. They especially like Pilings of Piers, Boat docks and Jetties. It uses its teeth to bite Anenomies and Barnicles off the Pilings of Piers or right off the Jetty Rocks.

Remarks: Sheepshead are fantastic bait stealers, So you'd better pay close attention to your rod tip, the tiniest tap could have been a 3 Pound Sheepshead carefully snapping your bait right off your hook.
Size: INSHORE, 1 to 2 pounds; OFFSHORE, common to 8 pounds.



Silver Perch a.k.a. Yellowtail (Bairdiella chrysoura)
Description:  color silvery with yellowish fins; no spots; no chin barbels; no prominent canine teeth at tip of upperjaw; preopercle finely serrated; 5 to 6 chin pores; mouth terminal.

 

Silver Perch
Where found:  INSHORE in seagrass beds, tidal creeks and rivers, and marshes.

Size:  small, not exceeding 9 inches.

Remarks:  spawning takes place in shallow, saline portions of bays and other INSHORE areas, peaking between May and September; matures by second or third year (by 6 inches); adults eat crustaceans and small fishes; may live to 6 years.

Silver Seatrout (Cynoscion nothus)
Description:  pale straw colored above, silvery sides and white below; no distinctive pigmentation, although faint diagonal lines may be present on upper body; 8 to 9 rays in the anal fin; large eyes; short snout; one to two prominent canine teeth usually present at the tip of upper jaw; lower half of tail longer than upper half.

 

Silver Sea Trout
Where found: most common over sand or sandy mud bottoms OFFSHORE along both the Gulf and the Atlantic coasts of Florida; migrates into bays during cold months.

Size:  usually no more than 1/2 pound (less than 10 inches),

Remarks:  smallest seatrout; spawns OFFSHORE in deep water during spring, summer, and fall; feeds on small fish and shrimp.

Spotted Seatrout (Cynoscion nebulosus)
Description:  dark gray or green above, with sky-blue tinges shading to silvery and white below; numerous distinct round black spots on back, extending to the dorsal fins and tail; black margin on posterior of tail; no barbels; no scales on the soft dorsal fin; one or two prominent canine teeth usually present at tip of upper jaw.

Similar fish:  other seatrout.

Spotted Sea Trout
Where found:  INSHORE and/or NEARSHORE over grass, sand, and sandy mud bottoms; move into slow-moving or still, deep waters in cold weather. Size:   common to 4 pounds on west coast, larger on east coast. Remarks: matures during first or second year and spawns INSHORE from March through November, often in association with seagrass beds; lives mainly in estuaries and moves only short distances; adults feed mainly on shrimp and small fish; prefers water temperatures between 58 and 81 degrees Fahrenheit, and may be killed if trapped in shallow water during cold weather; longevity 8 to 10 years.

Southern Flounder (Paralichthys lethostigma)

Description: SOUTHERN FLOUNDER-is capable of changing its color to match the bottom, it has both eyes on one side of its body and hides in the sand waiting for unsuspecting prey.
Fishing:The choice baits are live finger mullet, mud minnows or small pinfish fished on a sliding sinker rig worked slowly across the bottom.. Slack tide usually brings the better catches and flounder like sandy bottoms.

Southern Flounder

Habbits / Habitat: Winter months are best for the bigger fish. They can be caught at the Port and jetty inlets.

Remarks: hatches into usual fish form, but right eye migrates over to left side early in life; a bottom dweller; thought to spawn offshore; feeds on crustaceans and small fishes.


Southern Kingfish Whiting, Southern Whiting (lenticirrhus americanus)

Description: Southern Whiting range from silver-gray to copper colored with darker markings on the sides. This makes them harder to see in the sandy surf areas where they live.
Habitat/Habit: They are found in abundance in the surf area along the beach and their range extends to Chesapeake Bay on the Atlantic coast.

Southern Whiting

Fishing:Fishing tips: The best bait is peeled shrimp bits fished on the bottom using the tiniest hook you can find. Try a #10 minnow hook.

HOOKING A WHITING AS BAIT   If you plan on using a whiting that is 6 inches long or larger as bait, you will need a 5/0 or larger hook. Run the hook up through the whiting's open mouth, This will keep your bait alive much longer..


Weakfish (Cynoscion regalis)
Description:  dark olive or blue-green back; sides covered in tones of blue, purple, lavender, gold, and copper; irregular diagonal rows of vaguely-defined dark spots appear above the lateral line; 1 to 2 prominent canine teeth usually present at tip of upper jaw; black margin on tip of the tongue; pelvic and anal fins yellow; pectoral fins olive on outside, yellow underneath; mouth yellow inside.

 

Weakfish
Where found:  an Atlantic coast fish, possibly found in the extreme southeastern Gulf; adults move INSHORE and north during warm months inhabiting the surf, inlets, bays, channels, and estuaries; adults move OFFSHORE and south during cold month; juveniles inhabit estuaries which serve as nurseries. Remarks:  may mature as early as age 1; spawns in NEARSHORE or estuarine areas between April and October; schooling fish; feeds primarily on shrimp and fish.