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Name: Atlantic Croaker

Common Names: Croaker, Hardheads, Grumblers

Size: Common up to 20 inches.

Habitat:  Young found in bays and estuaries year round. Older fish inhabit offshore waters during the winter months to breed and then move into bays and estuaries during the spring, summer, and fall.

Range: Atlantic Coast from Florida to Massachusetts and all throughout the Gulf Coast.

Bait Quality: Excellent. This is a favorite baitfish for inshore and offshore fisherman alike. Very hardy in a live well or bucket. This is a favorite food of redfish, speckled trout, flounder, tarpon, redfish, black drum, cobia, grouper, and snapper. (any nearshore gamefish will readily eat a croaker)

Makin’ Bait Tips: Cast-netting deeper water near grass beds or around structure will typically have great results. Size #6 (or larger) sabiki rigs tipped with shrimp or squid work very well when fished near structure on the bottom.

Additional Information: Croakers are a member of the drum family and "croak" by vibrating their swim bladders with special muscles. Older fish will take on a yellow or bronze hue in the fall when spawning.