That was not a yellowfin tuna

Published 4:18 pm Friday, July 31, 2015

“I caught a yellowfin tuna!”
A caller to my radio show “Moore Outdoors” excitedly called in and described catching a large silver/gray fish with a yellow tail and trim.
They were new to saltwater fishing and were astounded how hard this “tuna” fought them.
I hated to break it to them but it was not a tuna. It was a jack crevalle.
Although they have somewhat of a tuna body shape along with similar coloring along with the ability to fight hard like yellowfin, jack crevalle are definitely not tuna.
“Whatever you do, please don’t eat it,” I pleaded.
Well, we released it. I wasn’t sure about the size limit,” the caller said.
Jacks are one of several species that show up in our local waters that can easily fool people not familiar with them.
Mangrove snapper are another unfamiliar species that shows up from time to time.
Over the years they have migrated up the coast from South Texas to the Sabine area. These excellent tasting snapper have been caught everywhere from the Sabine Jetties to Bessie Heights Marsh.
Occasionally when the water gets really salty Atlantic spadefish will show up around the Entergy intake canal bridge in Bridge City. Some have called them “angelfish’ and while they do have a similar body and stripe pattern, the fish that show up here are not the angelfish of the ocean (or aquarium) but the spadefish.
They are by the way in my opinion one of the better tasting fish and if you can catch some big enough to eat, by all means fry some up.
Many times over the years, we have went to the short rigs specifically looking for them.
Probably half a dozen times in the last 15 years, I have written about local anglers catching “Pacu” in the Sabine River and also in the drainage canal system in Port Arthur.
These vegetarian piranha cousins grow to impressive sizes and were probably the result of released aquarium fish at some point. The last one I heard about was in 2014 in the Sabine River near Deweyville.
A number of local ponds had all kinds of saltwater fish deposited in them after Hurricane Ike.
Immediately after the storm, speckled trout were common reports in some of them but long-term mullet seem to have lasted.
I have personally seen big mullet in two ponds in Orange County since Ike and there have been numerous reports in other ones as well.
Mullet can grow to impressive sizes in freshwater ponds and will also take worms and shrimp when fished under a cork. They fight like a tarpon and are lots of fun on light tackle.
One of the exciting things about fishing is that you never know what you’re going to catch. And with the confluence of salt and freshwater in our region, the possibilities are enormous.
(To contact Chester Moore, e-mail him at You can hear him on “Moore Outdoors” Fridays from 6-7 p.m. on Newstalk AM 560 KLVI.)

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