Family Sciaenidae, DRUMS Cynoscion nebulosus.
General: A common southern representative of the weakfish. Although the fish is frequently referred to as spotted sea trout, it is not a trout but a typical croaker. Its sport-angling qualities coupled with its general excellence as a table fish place it among the most important marine sport fish in the eastern United States.
Description: dark gray or green above, with sky blue tinges shading to silvery and white below; numerous distinct round black spots on back, extending to the dorsal fins and tail; black margin on posterior of tail; no barbels; no scales on the soft dorsal fin; one or two prominent canine teeth usually present at tip of upper jaw.
Similar Fish: other seatrout.
Size: common to 4 pounds on west coast, larger on east coast.
Florida Record: 15 lbs., 6 oz.
Where found: INSHORE and/or NEAR SHORE over grass, sand and sandy bottoms; move into slow-moving or still, deep waters in cold weather.
Remarks: matures during first or second year and spawns INSHORE from March through November; often in association with sea grass beds; lives mainly in estuaries and moves only short distances; adults feed mainly on shrimp and small fish; prefers water temperatures between 58 and 81 degrees F and may be killed if trapped in shallow water during cold weather; longevity 8 to 10 years.