Gafftopsail catfish

[gaf-top-seyl, -suhl]

The gafftopsail catfish, Bagre marinus, is found in the waters of the western central Atlantic Ocean, as well as the Gulf of Mexico and the Caribbean Sea. It has long venomous spines which can cause painful wounds. It feeds on crustaceans and other fish. The male of the species fertilizes the eggs of the female, and broods them in his mouth until they hatch. Unlike many other catfishes which are primarily bottom feeders, the gafftopsail feeds throughout the water column. This fish is a common catch in the Southwestern US, although it is commonly found as far north as New York. They are caught with lures like plugs, spoons, spinners, as well as soft plastics like rubber shrimp, worms, and shad. They are attracted to the sound of a struggling fish, like a popping cork creates. They are generally thought of as a garbage fish, however they are good eating and also strong fighters. They are taken from piers, jetties, reefs, and the surf, as well as bottom fishing or flats fishing.


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