Game Fishing > Grunt Family, Haemulidae > Margate-fish


Margate-fishThe margate-fish, or margate grunt, is the largest of the family, growing to two feet or more in length and eight or ten pounds in weight, though usually it weighs from two to six pounds as taken to market. It was noticed by Catesby in his "History of the Carolinas," in 1742, and was wrongly identified from his description by Walbaum in 1792.

It received its present name from Cuvier and Valenciennes, in 1830, from West Indian specimens; they called it album, meaning " white," as it is the lightest in coloration of any of the grunts.

It is much esteemed as a food­fish at Key West. It is abundant from Key West to Brazil, being quite common about the Florida Keys, especially in the immediate vicinity of Key West, being usually found in deep water, except when it approaches the shallows to feed on crustaceans, etc. It is rather a warm-water fish.

The margate-fish is of much the same proportions, and of similar appearance, as the yellow grunt, but with a more elevated and arching back, and is more compressed. The teeth are in narrow bands, and are somewhat smaller than in the other grunts.

The adult fish is whitish, oliva­ceous on the back, with faint spots on the scales of back and sides. The inside of the mouth is orange; the lips and snout yellowish; the fins dusky greenish; a broad but indistinct band extends along the sides. Younger fish are bluish in coloration of body and fins, with dark parallel stripes below.

Somewhat larger hooks, say numbers 2-0, and a little heavier line, size F, are more suitable for this fish; otherwise the same tackle and baits can be employed as for the other grunts and channel fishes.