Spadefish, Atlantic

(Chaetodipterus faber)

(Broussonet, 1782); EPHIPPIDAE FAMILY; also called paguala, enxada, sabaleta or disque portuguais

The spadefish is a wide-ranging species in the western Atlantic, know from New England, USA, to Brazil and throughout the Gulf of Mexico. It is abundant in shallow coastal waters in the warm-temperate parts of its range. Adult spadefish often occur in very large schools of up to 500 individuals in association with submerged objects such as wrecks. Juvenile spadefish are common in estuaries and often found in very shallow water swimming at an angle resembling dead leaves.

The Atlantic spadefish is a disk-shaped, silvery fish with about four or five black, irregular bands on the sides that fade with age. The spiny and soft parts of the dorsal fin are nearly separated and the soft front lobe of soft dorsal and anal fins are prolonged into filaments.

Spadefish are strong fighters, but tough to hook at times because of their small mouths and finicky nature. Chumming with frozen chopped clams in a weighted wire basket is an excellent way to draw spadefish to a boat. Once to the boat, the real secret of catching spadefish is selecting a hook with small enough dimensions to enable them to be hooked. Clam strips, which resemble one of their favorite food, jelly fish tentacles, make effective bait, but they can also be taken in the chum-line by presenting a fly. Experienced Spadefish anglers have discovered that, unlike many fish, they tend to bite best on a slack tide.

They are well suited for grilling with their firm white flesh and delicate slightly unusual taste

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Current All Tackle Record

14 lbs. 14 ounces.

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