OTHER NAMES: Porgy,
Mossbunker, Bunker, Alewife, LY, Fatback, Shad.
RANGE: All Florida coasts.
HABITAT: All the Menhaden's range
widely in open water of the Gulf and Atlantic, but are most often sought
by anglers fairly close to the beaches, or around shoals and wrecks.
DESCRIPTION: Three species of
Menhaden are common in Florida, but all are similar in size and
appearance, and interchangeable in their bait appeal. The Atlantic Menhaden, shown here, is slightly larger than its Gulf side
counterparts, the Gulf Menhaden, and the Yellowfin Menhaden. The latter
two can be distinguished by their spots, a lone prominent spot behind
the gill cover of the Yellowfin, as opposed to a large spot and a series
of smaller ones on the Gulf Menhaden. The Atlantic variety also has
numerous spots. All three have dark greenish backs, yellowish fins and
dull silver or brassy sides.
SIZE: To about 12 inches. The
average is about 8 inches.
FOOD VALUE: Very oily. Best used for
bait and for sliced or ground chum.
GAME QUALITIES: The Menhaden's are
very strong and active for their size, which makes them ideal as bait
for fast-swimming game fish. They fight well on very light spinning
TACKLE AND BAITS: Most are cast
needed, but many are caught on spinning tackle with Sabiki Rigs.
FISHING SYSTEMS: Drifting; Still