Creature Feature


This monster was speared by Jerry Fabacher, visible on the extreme left by the tail of the fish, and entered in the 1960 Grand Isle Tarpon Rodeo. Are goliath groupers fish or footballs?
4345 Views - Posted: April 04 at 9:00 am

The glamour boy of the grouper family, the 800-pound Atlantic goliath grouper, is becoming the Gulf of Mexico’s latest fisheries management football, to be passed and punted back and forth between recreational fishermen, commercial fishermen, environmentalists and fisheries biologists.

Many think all kingfish, aka mullet, are the same, but there actually are three distinct species that can be distinguished by their coloration. When a mullet is king
4050 Views - Posted: March 03 at 9:00 am

Biologists like writing about cool fish — odd fish, fish that are a swimming riddle. This month’s guy (or more properly “guys”) is that.

Cownose rays are common off the Louisiana coast, and they’re hated by shrimpers. Hey, ray, what you say?
3246 Views - Posted: February 01 at 7:00 am

At least that is what some shrimpers say they hear. The animal that they have nicknamed “choo-choo” for the whoofing sound that it makes after it hits the deck of a shrimp boat is known by scientists as a cownose ray, Rhinoptera bonasus. 

The scientific name is entirely derived from Greek. The genus name comes from rhinos, which means “nose” and pteron, which means “wing.” The species name comes from bonasos, which means “bison.”

Eel smoked Dutch-style, as May Usannaz demonstrates below, resembled rich-tasting pork with seafood overtones. The case of the slippery eel
5224 Views - Posted: January 03 at 9:00 am

Nothing could be worse for a freshwater natural-bait fisherman. Something obviously huge had grabbed the worm or crawfish on his hook and was fighting furiously. He could almost imagine the broad head of a big catfish emerging from the water.

The scientific name for ladyfish translates into “serpent reptile,” and they do resemble a reptile  — particularly in the head. Yes, we have no bananas today
4737 Views - Posted: December 04, 2013 at 9:00 am

“Yes, We Have No bananas Today” is the nonsensical title of a novelty song composed by Frank Silver and Irving Cohn for Broadway in 1923. Like the song, the little fish that Louisiana coastal anglers call “banana fish” is self-contradictory. 

Lane snappers are always made incidentally to fishing for other snapper species. Lane snappers are candy
4069 Views - Posted: November 01, 2013 at 7:00 am

If red and mangrove snappers are the meat and potatoes of the snapper fishing world, then lane snappers are the dessert. Maybe that’s why one of their common names is candy snappers, although it’s probably because they are striped, like a candy cane. 

Painted devil crawfish are colorful creatures and have massive claws. Is there a devil in your ditch?
11491 Views - Posted: October 01, 2013 at 7:00 am

Crawfish are almost our totem animal in Louisiana. A big, red crawfish held aloft in a clenched fist is the symbol of Cajun Power.

About 1.1 billion pounds of menhaden, aka pogies, are taken from the Gulf of Mexico every year. Everybody eats pogies
6817 Views - Posted: September 04, 2013 at 9:00 am

Yes, everybody eats pogies; They just don’t know it.

Triggerfish aren’t flashy, and they’re often curiosities when caught. No one can call a triggerfish cute
4112 Views - Posted: August 05, 2013 at 9:00 am

Drab, mottled gray, buck-toothed, big-headed and pig-eyed — a gray triggerfish wouldn’t fit anyone’s definition of cute or beautiful. Inexperienced offshore fishermen who reel in one of these charmers at an offshore oil platform will usually stare at their catch clueless as to what it is.

Many anglers love submerged aquatic vegetation because they catch a lot of fish around grass mats, but too much vegetation can be a real negative. Bass fishing: Going to the weeds
2644 Views - Posted: July 01, 2013 at 7:00 am
Bass anglers have a love-hate relationship with submerged plants. Called submerged aquatic vegetation (SAV) by biologists, they are a constant factor in freshwater fishing in Louisiana.

Blue crabs are interesting creatures — and tasty to boot. ABC means ‘all about crabs’
4747 Views - Posted: June 03, 2013 at 9:00 am
The blue crab is one of the most-fascinating creatures in coastal marshes. This is one creature whose scientific name (Callinectes sapidus) completely describes it.

Red snapper were the kings of the Gulf in the 1950s and ’60s, but restrictive regulations have resulted in a new angler focus on gray snapper (aka mangroves). Hail the new snapper king
2978 Views - Posted: May 03, 2013 at 9:00 am
Let’s face it: The red snapper is no longer the king.

Once, he ruled the Gulf of Mexico. During the 1950s and 1960s, when recreational fishermen forayed offshore it was for the red snapper. Oh sure, a small clique of big-game anglers trolled for billfish (some of which — yikes — were even eaten in those days) and tuna.

Gar have been referred to as “wolves of the water.” Has ‘Destructo’ been rehabilitated?
3150 Views - Posted: April 04, 2013 at 9:00 am
In the Autumn 1939, Louisiana Conservation Review (the predecessor of the Louisiana Conservationist magazine), James Nelson Gowanloch, the chief biologist of the Bureau of Scientific Research and Statistics for the Louisiana Department of Conservation, wrote an article titled “Gars, Killers of Game and Food Fish.”

The lowly cocahoe isn’t very flashy, but its durability makes it a great bait choice for anglers. Cocahoe is another name for ‘bait’
5214 Views - Posted: March 01, 2013 at 7:00 am
I’m not sure why fishermen in the other Gulf coast states call them bull minnows and we call them cocahoes, and I don’t have a clue what the origin of our name is — but you can bet it has something to do with our Cajun heritage.

Ling are a favorite offshore target because they’re not only great table fare but they’re also easy to catch. Cobia: The curious fish
4002 Views - Posted: February 01, 2013 at 7:00 am
Cobia, often called ling or lemonfish in Louisiana, are not bashful feeders. Although they can be stubborn at times, especially if a piece of hardwood or rubber is thrown at them to eat, they will usually grab almost any bait that is offered — often right next to the boat.

Josh McCall (left) displays a bigmouth buffalo, while his grandfather Seahon McCall (right) shows off a smallmouth buffalo. Yes, buffalo are fish
13578 Views - Posted: January 01, 2013 at 7:00 am
Actually, buffalo are three species of fish rather than one. No one knows from where the odd name for the creatures is derived. But their scientific names are almost certainly taken from their common name.