The surprising variety of finned friends is one of the reasons people get hooked on scuba diving. To identify some of the most common and interesting reef fish in the Caribbean, Florida, and the Western Atlantic, look for their distinctive characteristics. Grunts are so-named because they make a grunting sound by grinding their teeth together and amplifying the noise with their air bladders. The key to identifying a French grunt is to look at the stripes along the side of its body. The first few rows of stripes run lengthwise down the fish's body, but the lower stripes are diagonal.
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This fish is a member of the croaker family and is related to the Atlantic croaker, red drum, and spotted seatrout. A characteristic of this family of fish is the ability to produce croaking or drumming sounds with the air bladder, which is the reason for the common names croaker and drum. This ability is most developed in the black drum and anglers can sometime hear sounds from schools passing near their boats. Small fish, under a pound in weight, are sometimes called "butterfly drum" while those of larger size, 30 pounds and more, are called "bull drum", although the large specimens can be either male or female.
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The striped bass Morone saxatilis , also called Atlantic striped bass , striper , linesider , rock or rockfish , is an anadromous Perciforme fish of the family Moronidae found primarily along the Atlantic coast of North America. It has also been widely introduced into inland recreational fisheries across the United States. Striped bass found in the Gulf of Mexico are a separate strain referred to as Gulf Coast striped bass. The history of the striped bass fishery in North America dates back to the Colonial period. Many written accounts by some of the first European settlers describe the immense abundance of striped bass, along with alewives , traveling and spawning up most rivers in the coastal Northeast.
Black Drum Fish have a mild, sweet flavor with firm flesh and large, moist flakes. It is comparable to Red Snapper. Very fresh Red Drum Fish have an emerald green tint to the raw flesh, while larger fresh Red Drum Fish have a red tint.