Game Fishing > Grouper Family, Serranidae > Coney


ConeyThis beautiful fish is allied to the groupers, and belongs to the family Serranidae, previously described. It was described and named by Lace­pede from a drawing by Plumier, made from a specimen from Martinique. Lacepede recorded it in his "Natural History of Fishes," 1803, conferring on it the name cruentatus, meaning "dyed with blood," in allusion to its red spots.

It belongs to the West Indian fauna, with a range extending from the Florida Keys to Brazil; it is quite common about Key West, being seen in the markets every day.

The body has the somewhat elliptical outline of the other groupers, but is more oblong and deeper, its depth being more than a third of its length. The head is moderate in size, rather pointed, its length less than the depth of the body; the mouth is large, with the lower jaw pro­jecting but slightly; the teeth are in narrow bands, the inner series long, slender, and depress­ible; the canines small. Its ground color is reddish gray, a little paler below; the head and body are covered with bright vermilion spots, larger and brighter anteriorly.

It frequents rocky situations, like the coney of Holy Writ. It is highly esteemed as a food-fish, but is of smaller size than the groupers previously described, seldom growing beyond a foot in length or a pound in weight. It probably spawns in the spring. It is quite a gamy fish for its size on light tackle.

It is usually taken by the market fishermen on the same tackle as the grunts, snappers, porgies, etc., among the rocks of the channels, in rather deep water, with fish bait. It is well worth catch­ing, if only to admire its graceful shape and brill­iant coloration.

For the coney, black-bass rods, braided linen line, size F, with Sproat hooks, No. 2-0 or 3-0, on gimp snells, and sinker adapted to the strength of the tide, with the smallest fish for bait, will answer admirably. The little whirligig mullet, or spiny crawfish, or even cut-fish bait, are all good baits to use as occasion may demand.