Saltwater Fish - Croaker

 

Croaker

Micropogonias undulatus

AKA:  Atlantic croaker

Distinguishing Markings:

Chin with 3-5 pairs of small barbells and 5 pores.  Caudal fins are double concave.  Body is elongate and somewhat compressed with a deeply notched dorsal finwith 10 spines in the anterior portion and 1 spine and 26-30 soft rays in the posterior portion.  The upper dorsal side has numerous brassy spots that from wavy bars, but are less distinct in large individuals.

 

Size: 

Usually less than 2 pounds.

 

Distribution:

Western Atlantic from Massachusetts to Florida and throughout the Gulf of Mexico, but uncommon north of New Jersey

 

Habitat:

Adults are found on mud, sand and shell bottoms of coastal estuaries during spring and back toward the ocean in fall.  Juveniles are found in estuarine and coastal waters from shallow shoals to moderate depths.

 

Food Preference:

Bottom feeders that consume polychaete worms, mollusks, a variety of small crustaceans, and occasionally small fishes.

 

Spawning:

First spawning occurs at age 2-3 in continental shelf waters from July through February, with peak spawning from August through October in the Chesapeake Bay area.  Spawning also occurs off Beaufort, North Carolina near the Outer Banks.

 

Fishing Tips:

Croaker are most commonly caught bottom fishing with bloodworms, squid strips, peeler crab or soft crab.

 

See Also: