- Has a long body with a curved, large head and a very blunt snout.
- Silvery-gray coloration with bluish coloration on top, and white coloration on belly.
- Dark wavy lines on the sides; large distinctive black spot at base of pectoral (side) fin (hence its name), dark tail and dorsal (top) fins.
- Largest spotfin croaker ever recorded was 14 pounds, and the longest was 27 inches.
- “Golden croakers” are large male spotfins in breeding colors
- Point Conception, California to Mazatlan, Mexico.
- Gulf of California, Mexico.
- Most common south of Los Angeles Harbor.
- Live in bays and beaches.
- Prefer coarse sand and heavy mud.
- Found at depths of 4-50 feet.
- Males mature and spawn at 2 years old and 9 inches long.
- Females mature and spawn at 3 years old and 12.5 inches long.
- Spawning season is June-September and takes place offshore.
- One-inch juveniles appear in the surf in the fall.
- Fat innkeeper worms, ghost shrimp, burrowing pencil clams, mussels, bloodworms, sandworms, small crustaceans.
- Often caught by fishers.
- Spotfin croakers travel extensively. Fish tagged in Los Angeles Harbor were caught in Oceanside.
- Spotfin croakers often congregate in depressions called croaker holes; fishers that find these can return again and again to the same spot to fish them.
Hear a Spotfin Croaker’s call
Hear a Spotfin Croaker’s chorus
Sources: California Department of Fish and Wildlife; liveabout.com; kenjonesfishing.com; Surfside, Sunset and Newport Beach, Orange County: Environmental Impact; University of California
Photo: Ken Jones