Demersal fish Identification

skates and rays, the sting rayExcluding the plankton-eating Basking Shark, there are five types of sharks likely to be targeted by sport fishermen around the shores of the UK and Western Europe.
As shown here, they're the Mako Shark, Porbeagle Shark, Blue Shark, Hammerhead Shark and Thresher Shark.
Read more about the various types of sharks...

Artwork courtesy of Osprey Publishing Ltd

Skates and Rays

So what's the difference between skates and rays?
A 'Mermaid's Purse'One defining difference is that rays give birth to live young and skate give birth to their young in egg-cases - the 'mermaids purses' or 'devil's purses' - that are often found washed up on our shores.
skeleton of a bony fish esser-spotted dogfish for one, also use this approach to protect their young from hungry predators.
Sting RayAnother is that the ray's tail is relatively slender, even whip-like in some cases like the stingray shown here, and usually comes equipped with a saw-edged stinging spine midway along its length.
A skate's tail is more stocky than that of a ray and doesn't have a stinging spine.
Read more about skates and rays...

Artwork courtesy of Gyldendal Norsk Forlag

Incidentally, For several years now I've relied on this excellent paperback for saltwater fish identification.
There's more than 1, 000 different species described, including including information on range and habitat such as depths, bottom types, water temperatures, and salinity.All valuable information for those of us who seek to catch them!
The almost 1, 100 illustrations use the Peterson Saltwater Fish Identification System for quick, accurate field identification.

saltwater fish identification, pollockBony Fish

The other main group of saltwater fishes are classed as bony fishes, which are built around a traditional skeleton which supports the other parts of a fish.
Skeleton of a Bony FishFor example, all round fish (that aren't sharks, rays or skates) and flatfish are classed as bony fish, as are other bottom feeding demersal fish like cod, haddock whiting and ling, along with the highly-prized saltwater gamefish and the baitfish we use to catch them with.

Round Fish

Other round fish not mentioned in the previous paragraph include the sea bass, mackerel, bream, mullet, wrasse, coalfish and pollock. Pollock and coalfish are pictured here. They're clearly very similar, each sporting three dorsal fins and two anal fins.
(also pollack)Many anglers find it difficult to tell the difference between pollack and coalfish, but the clue to their correct identification is in the lateral line.
The pollock's lateral line is dark and has a pronounced curve over the pectoral fin.
(also saithe)That of the coalfish is much lighter, almost white, and runs in a straighter line from head to tail.
saltwater fish identification, plaice saltwater fish identification, flounder
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Catching WHITES -2

2004-12-18 13:02:57 by WHites

Lake whitefish generally spawn in the late autumn just prior to freeze-up in shallow water (often less than 25 feet), usually over a hard or stony bottom, but sometimes over sand. Spawning can occur under the ice in some lakes, however. What does this tell you? Well, like most fish, spent adults are hungry following the spawning season. Often the best lake whitefish catches are shortly after they spawn in the month of December, just when the ice is safe to travel on. Use caution on ice and always test the conditions. Never walk on ice that is less than four inches thick and don't drive on ice that is less than 12 inches thick

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