Game Fishing > Grunt Family, Haemulidae > Sailors choice

Sailors choice

Sailors choiceThis grunt is sometimes called bastard margaret by the Key West fisherman. The name sailor's choice is often wrongly applied to the pin­fish (Lagodon rhomboides) and the pig-fish (Orthopristis chrysopterus). The sailor's choice was first described by Desmarest, in 1823, from Havana; he named it parra in honor of the Cuban naturalist, Parra.

It is a good pan-fish, eight or ten inches long, usually, but sometimes growing to a foot in length. It is abundant from Key West to Brazil. I have taken it from the line of keys southwest of Cape Florida, and along the mainland from Biscayne Bay to Marco and Lemon Bay on the Gulf coast.

Its body is of about the same proportions, and of the same general appearance, as that of the yellow grunt, and it grows to about the same size. The radial formula of its fins and size of scales are also much the same. The mouth is smaller, but the teeth are of about the same character.

Its color is dull pearly gray, belly grayish, each scale of the body with a distinct olive-brown spot, forming interrupted, oblique, and wavy streaks; fins dusky. The inside of the mouth is not so red as in the other grunts. There is a distinct black spot on the lower edge of the cheek-bone.