Sargo (Anisotremus davidsonii)

The sargo is the largest of the Pacific grunts and is commonly caught incidentally by anglers fishing for other species, primarily during the summer.


The body of the adult sargo is a compressed oval shape, and the back is elevated. The head has a steep, straight upper profile and a small mouth. The sargo’s coloring is a metallic silver, with a grayish tinge on the back. It is silvery below, and there is a distinguishing dark vertical bar running across the body from the dorsal fin to the base of the pectoral fin. Occasionally, sargo are entirely bright yellow, orange, or pure white.

A young sargo, up to 4 inches, has several dark horizontal stripes. The vertical bar begins to appear when the fish is 2 to 3 inches long.


These fish can reach a maximum length of 22 inches. Life history/Behavior. Sargo swim close to the bottom in loose schools. The fish spawn in the late spring and the early summer. Spawning first occurs when the fish are about 7 inches long and 2 years old.

Food and feeding habits

Sargo are bottom feeders that primarily forage on small shrimp, crabs, clams, and snails.

Other Names

China croaker, blue bass, black croaker, grunt, xantic sargo; Spanish: burro piedrero.


Sargo occur in the eastern central Pacific from Magdalena Bay in Baja California, Mexico, to Santa Cruz, California.


Sargo are found inshore and in bays over rocky and rock-sand bottoms, often near kelp beds, and around pilings or submerged structures. Although they can dwell in up to 130 feet of water, they are most common in water between 8 and 25 feet deep.