Silver Perch

The silver perch (Bairdiella chrysura) is a member of the drum family, croaker clan. It is a very silvery fish with a darker back. It only grows to about eight inches and favors mud bottoms. There are differing opinions about the popularity of it as a panfish, but it is a good bait fish. One author I read said " they are the joy of midwestern visitors to Florida, who catch them by the bucketful. Most often referred to as butterfish." Another author and biologist said they fail to have much of a following and are uncommon in large numbers. Well, If you happen to catch any, put them in the bait well because a big grouper or snapper will follow them right to the fish box.

Cigar minnows, cigarfish, or hard tails are all "Round Scad", Decapterus punctatus. They grow commonly to 6 inches but can be as large as 12 inches. As the name belies, they are cigar shaped and have a line of enlarged scaled running the length of the body on the sides and a tiny finlet behind the dorsal fin and behind the anal fin. You can catch them in a cast net or with gold hook rigs in the same areas that you find sardines or threadfin. They are also sold frozen and are an excellent cut or whole bait for almost everything. For live bait fishing, hook them in the cartilage in the nose and troll away. They are a hardy fish in the well and on the hook, and like the blue runner, can out swim the boat if you are not careful.

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