Sand Seatrout


A member of the Sciaenidae family (drum and croaker), the sand seatrout is a small and frequently caught fish. Found primarily in the Gulf of Mexico, it supports a minor commercial and sportfishing industry. It is closely related to the weakfish of the Atlantic coast.

Identification

Its coloring is pale yellow on the back and silver to white below, without any real defined spots. A young sand seatrout has a cloudy back, sometimes forming crossbands. The inside of the mouth is yellow. There are 10 to 12 soft rays in the anal fin. It does not have any chin barbels and can be distinguished from the silver seatrout by the presence of 10 anal rays, the silver seatrout having only 8 or 9.

Size

The average fish is 10 to 12 inches in length and rarely weighs more than a pound. The all-tackle record is a 6-pound, 2-ounce fish caught in Alabama.

Spawning behavior

There is a prolonged spawning season inshore from spring through summer. Fish mature during their first or second year.

Food and feeding habits

The main food sources are shrimp and small fish.

Other Names

white trout, sand weakfish, white weakfish.

Distribution

The sand seatrout occurs mainly in the Gulf of Mexico from the west coast of Florida through Texas and into Mexico and as far south as the Gulf of Campeche. It also exists on the extreme southeastern Atlantic portion of Florida.

Habitat

The sand seatrout is predominantly an inshore fish found in bays and inlets. The young inhabit shallow bays, particularly in less saline areas. Adult fish move offshore in the winter.
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