The silver perch is a member of the Sciaenidae family (drum and croaker). It is one of the most common and abundant Atlantic drum, harvested by commercial netters but seldom prominent in the angler’s catch. This small panfishlike species is good to eat, but it is more likely to be used by anglers as live bait for larger predators.
The closely related bairdiella, or gulf croaker (Bairdiella icistius), is one of a number of marine species introduced successfully to the Salton Sea from the Gulf of California. It grows to 12 inches there and is an important forage ﬁsh.
IdentificationThe body of the silver perch is high and compressed. As with others in the drum family, its dorsal ﬁns are separated by a deep notch. There are ﬁve to six pores on the chin and no barbels. Its mouth is terminal and has ﬁnely serrated teeth. Its coloring is silvery, with yellowish ﬁns and a whitish belly. It commonly has no spots.
The silver perch can be distinguished from the unrelated white perch by the dark stripes that line the sides. It can also be distinguished from the sand seatrout by its lack of prominent canine teeth and by its chin pores.