Ladyfish (Elops saurus)
- Size 1 to 3lbs
- Food Value None
- Game Qualities Average
- Habitats Inshore, Flats, Backcountry
Ladyfish are recreational fishing underdogs, but surely among the most fun inshore species to target.
Ladyfish are of moderate size, with most catches ranging between 1 and 3lbs, and specimens of some of the species growing to 25lbs.
These slender fish are commonly found in coastal and estuarine environments, but have been caught in saltwater streams as well. There is a total of six species, spanning tropical and suptropical waters worldwide. In the USA, they are available in Southern California, throughout the Gulf of Mexico and south of North Carolina.
How to catch
They move in large schools and are voracious feeders, ready to strike any bait, as long as it's of appropriate size. Natural options include minnows, mullet and shrimp, but artificials such as spoons, jigs, plugs, grubs, any fly imitation of small shiny fish or any other lure for that matter, work great. These fish aren't fussy eaters.
Ladyfish put up a much stronger fight than their weight would suggest. They make violent runs, circle around the boat and leap into the air repeatedly, shaking their heads trying to throw the hook. They have notably been dubbed "the poor man's Tarpon" and, indeed, asides as looking like juvenile Silver Kings, they also fight like them and, often times, school very close to them.
Good to eat?
Ladyfish are rife with bones and aren't considered good table fare.
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