Texas coastal fish Identification

The Blacktip is one of the most commonly caught sharks in the Gulf of Mexico. It is also one of the best sharks for eating. They are a lot of fun to catch and will often put on a good aerial display when hooked.

The most distinctive feature of the Blacktip is that of which its name originates; the black tips on its fins. The posterior end of the pectoral fin is located just underneath the beginning of the dorsal fin. It can grow up to 8 feet long.

Atlantic Sharpnose Shark

The Sharpnose is another very commonly caught shark from the Texas coast. They are a fairly small species of shark. The largest ones reach only three and a half feet long.

One of the most distinctive marks on the Sharpnose is the white faint white spots that are commonly found on its sides. Another distinctive feature is the orientation of the second dorsal fin staggered behind the anal fin instead of directly above.

Bonnethead Shark

The bonnethead is the easiest shark of the three to identify. It is in the hammerhead family and is often mistakenly called a hammerhead shark. The main distinguishing feature is its shovel shaped head as opposed to the more flat head of the other hammerhead species. This bonnet or shovel shaped head is all you should need to be able to properly identify this fish.

The bonnet head will grow to about five feet compared to other species of hammerheads which can grow to nearly 20 feet.

Spinner Shark

The Spinner Shark is very commonly mistaken as a Blacktip Shark. It is similar in shape, color, markings, and size as a Blacktip. This can get people in a lot of trouble because the minimum length for a Blacktip is 24” while the minimum length for a Spinner 64”. People will often harvest an undersized Spinner thinking it is a Blacktip.

The easiest way to tell the difference between a spinner and a Blacktip is to look at the anal fins. A Blacktip shark does not usually have black on the tip of its anal fin, while a spinner almost always will. See the picture below.

Another way to tell the difference is by looking at the orientation of the pectoral fins in relation to the dorsal fin. The Spinner Shark’s pectoral fins are further forward than a Blacktips. The Spinner Shark’s pectoral fins will end before the dorsal fin begins, while the Blacktip’s pectoral fins will end underneath the dorsal fin. Check out the picture below for a comparison.


Johns Hopkins University Press A Field Guide to Coastal Fishes: From Maine to Texas
Book (Johns Hopkins University Press)

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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