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SEA CATFISH

Above is a 8 pound Gafftopsail
catfish we caught on Sarasota Bay.

Sea catfish are edible but very
strong tasting, not like fresh water
catfish.

Sea catfish also have very
painful, poisonous barbs and
are dangerous to handle.

Gafftopsail Catfish Bagre marinus

Common Name's: Bandera, Sailboat Cat, Gafftopsail Sea Catfish,
Gafftop Cat, Tourist Trout

Description: The Gafftopsail Catfish is bluish-gray overall with
silvery sides and a white belly. It has a robust body with a
depressed broad head featuring a few flattened barbels. The dorsal
and pectoral fins have greatly elongated spines. Similar Fish: Sea
Catfish Feeding

Habits: Gafftopsails prefer crabs, shrimp, and various small fish,
but like all catfish, they have broad dietary interests.

Range: These fish range along the western Atlantic coast from Cape
Cod to Panama and throughout the Gulf of Mexico, being abundant
along Louisiana and Texas. They are absent from most of the West
Indies and Caribbean Islands but are present in western Cuba, and
extend to Venezuela and possibly as far south as Brazil.

Habitat: Gafftopsails prefer deeper channels, particularly brackish
water in bays and estuaries with sandy bottoms of high organic
content. They prefer water temperatures between 68 to 95F. Typical
Size: The average size of the Gafftopsails is usually less than 1
pound to 1 pounds and up to 17 inches in length, but they can reach
up to 10 pounds and 36 inches.

World Record: 9 pounds, 10 ounces (IGFA)

Hardhead Catfish Arius felis

Common Name's: Hardheads, Sea Catfish, Tourist Trout

Description: Hardhead Catfish have three pairs of barbels,
lack scales, and can vary in color, from dark brown to dark blue.

Similar Fish: Gafftopsail Catfish Feeding Habits:

Hardhead Catfish eat crab, shrimp, and smaller fish.

Range: The Hardhead Catfish are found along the Atlantic coast,
from Massachusetts to southern Mexico.

Habitat: The Hardhead Catfish can be found in muddy and sandy bays
and shallow coastal waters.

Typical Size: The Hardhead Catfish can reach up to 16 inches long.

World Record: 3 pounds, 5 ounces (IGFA)