Species #97 — Atlantic Croaker

Species #97 — Atlantic Croaker

Put shoulders on a small Red Drum, and you get Atlantic Croaker. These were the hardest-fighting fish of my first Florida experience.

Species: Atlantic Croaker (Micropogonias undulatus)
Location: Graffiti Bridge, Pensacola, FL
Date: August 1, 2017

Here’s the unsung hero of my Pensacola trip. These things fought like crazy, and I could always tell I’d hooked another Atlantic Croaker if it fought like crazy and made my imagination run wild.

All of the Atlantic Croaker I caught were less than 14 inches long and none weighed more than a pound and a half, but they were bright spots between the Pinfish.

I’ve only caught one since that first day in Pensacola, and it, too, hit a shrimp-tipped No. 8 Sabiki that was mostly only being considered by Pinfish in the waters of Corpus Christi, Texas.

They don’t get much bigger than five pounds, but you can bet I’d be over-the-moon to catch a five-pounder even though that’s almost four pounds shy of the 8 pound, 11-ounce All-Tackle World Record.

How that fish must’ve fought on light tackle…

#SpeciesQuest // #CaughtOvgard

Read the next entry in #SpeciesQuest here: Species #98 — Frillfin Goby.


Species #95 — Red Drum

You don’t think of foot-long specimens caught on ultralight gear when you think of Red Drum (Redfish), but if you’ve come to expect glamorous stories from me, I’m sorry I’ve disappointed you for so long.

Species: Red Drum (Sciaenops ocellatus)
Location: Graffiti Bridge, Pensacola, FL
Date: August 1, 2017

Everyone should go fish the Gulf at some point in their life for Redfish or Red Drum. At least, that’s what fishing culture has told us. I have fished in Corpus Christi and parts of Florida where they could be found, but I’ve never landed a “Bull Red” that we all yearn for.

That said, I did manage to get a “Calf Red” if we’re sticking with the bovine terminology while fishing the rocky lagoon for anything and everything that would bite. I was using a No. 8 Sabiki cut in half (three hooks are much easier to manage than six) and tip each with shrimp. I typically use pieces of pre-cooked cocktail shrimp because it’s easy to find anywhere you are, but it’s worth a shot.

The Red Drum didn’t fight as well as other Drums and Croakers I’ve caught since, but it still fought well for a foot-long, one-pound fish. I was especially pleased because it had a few tail spots (two on one side, one on the other) for which the species is so renowned.

***

I fished for them again in Corpus Christi and in a freshwater lake near San Antonio this summer (yes, really), and I caught other fish but no big Redfish.

This is one species I will continue to chase even though I’ve now caught my “lifer” and registered it here.

#SpeciesQuest // #CaughtOvgard

Read the next entry in #SpeciesQuest here: Species #96 — Hardhead Catfish.


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