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Male sharks fertilize female sharks by using elongated extensions of their pelvic fins called claspers.

Meet the cute hammerhead

Hammerhead sharks, with their grossly misshapen noggins, have always inspired a sense of ominous dread and awe in humans.

They are just scary-looking. Thus they have to be dangerous. 

But not all of them are. 

January 01 at 7:00am
Blackfin shiners are certainly the most common shiner in the state and can be found in virtually any moderate- to fast-flowing creek, bayou, or river.

It’s a tough little world for shiners

Most freshwater fishermen don’t give a lot of thought to the little fish in their bait bucket. They’re just shiners. Or to the glittery little fish flashing in the creek, river or lake — they’re just minnows. 

December 04, 2016 at 9:00am
Besides their metallic silver color, cutlassfish are noted for their large mouths filled with fang-like teeth.

Cutlassfish are common everywhere

We don’t call them cutlassfish. 

Most Louisiana sport fishermen call them ribbonfish. Commercial shrimpers dub them silver eels, and consider them a minor nuisance for their habit of getting halfway through the meshes of their trawls’ bags and dying there.

November 04, 2016 at 8:00am
Speckled hinds, like this state-record fish held by Blake Matherne, are easy to identify because their entire bodies are covered by small white speckles.

This kind of hind is speckled

Offshore bottom fishermen love groupers, mostly because they are so good to eat.

They are generally attractive, too, but they often leave anglers scratching their heads because there are so many species.

October 04, 2016 at 9:00am
The skin of diamondback terrapins is marked with prominent black dots and wiggly marks.

Terrapins are more than just soup

Marsh fishermen share waters with a beautiful little creature that is usually out of sight out of mind unless one pops its head up next to their boat.

September 01, 2016 at 11:28am
A colony of magnificent bryozoans is a strange sight.

It looks like a brain!

“Ugh; It looks like a brain, man,” my fishing partner said, peering into the swampy water and gingerly poking a gelatinous-looking blob with a boat paddle.

It dawned on me earlier that, while he was an expert speckled trout fisherman, he had virtually no experience in freshwater fishing.

August 01, 2016 at 7:00am
Yellowfin grouper display more intense yellow pigment around their mouths, as well as near the eye and in their fins. Their body color usually is more evenly brown compared to the scamp, which has darker dots and splotches on a lighter background.

Yellow is a good color offshore

The grouper family has a lot of fish trimmed in yellow, and all of them are good to eat.

The yellowfin and yellowedge groupers both have fin edges trimmed with wide canary-yellow bands. This is especially noticeable in their pectoral (side) fins.

July 01, 2016 at 7:00am
This colorful hybrid was produced by a bluegill and a dollar sunfish.

Some bream are bad eggs

Hybridization, the result of cross-breeding between two species, is rare in nature. Humans can manipulate the mating of animals to produce hybrids, but Mother Nature doesn’t like that kind of fooling around.

June 04, 2016 at 9:00am
A trawl dragged for bait before daylight will often yield large catches of spot, shown here mixed with pinfish and croakers.

It’s easy to overlook spots

Spot are easy to overlook, even though they are a member of the drum family — the same family that gives us speckled trout and redfish.

The most remarkable thing about this unremarkable fish is that they likely have the shortest name of any fish that swims in the Gulf.

May 01, 2016 at 7:00am
Thumbprint-like white spots on the sides of the body clearly identify the Atlantic sharpnose.

Take this guy to dinner - Atlantic sharpnose shark ID is easy

Sharks have never been real popular with Louisiana fishermen — even in the days before shark harvest was regulated.

Most people simply got them off their hook as quickly as possible and went back to fishing for more-glamorous species.

April 01, 2016 at 7:00am
Spotted gar, here identifiable by the spots on the snout, are Louisiana’s most common gar species. <br />

We got gar - Louisiana has four species

In a state laced with streams, rivers, bayous, lakes and marshes, pretty well anyone who spends time outdoors knows that Louisiana has a lot of gars.

March 03, 2016 at 2:20pm
More anglers today value croakers as a bait species for speckled trout, redfish and mangrove snapper than as a target species.<br />

Why are croakers croaking?

The story of the Atlantic croaker is the story of a fish that has somehow never managed to fulfill its predicted potential. They are truly one of the most abundant fish in the sea. 

February 03, 2016 at 6:47pm
The bright-yellow fin margins on yellowedge groupers (bottom) make them easy to distinguish from snowy groupers, even when the latter’s white spots have faded or disappear with age.

Grouper fishing: It’s hard to beat a brownie

Everybody, and I mean everybody who fishes, offshore loves groupers. They are attractive fish, resembling overgrown and (usually) more colorful largemouth bass. They are brutal fighters when hooked on tackle that isn’t too heavy.

Best of all they are great to eat.

January 01, 2016 at 7:00am
Swamp and marsh bass fishing can be hot when fish are not stressed by low-oxygen conditions.

Stressed bass: Run or hide

Largemouth bass can be finicky, temperamental creatures under the best of circumstances. When the effects of environmental stressors are added, catching them can seem nearly impossible.

December 04, 2015 at 9:00am