Yellowfin Croaker, Umbrina roncador

The yellowfin croaker can be found in the Gulf of California and Mexico. It is commonly found in bays, channels, harbors, and other near shore waters that have sandy bottoms. It is abundantly found along beaches during the summer and move to deeper waters for the winter.

It has an arched back and an elliptical-elongated body with a blunt head. It is iridescent blue-grey in color with brassy reflections on the back with a silvery white belly. There are multiple dark wavy lines along its sides. Its fins are yellowish with a dark dorsal fin. Maturity is reached once the fish reaches 9 inches in length and weighs up to 4.5 pounds. Spawning happens during the summer months when they are along the sandy beaches. The yellowfin croaker eats mainly small fishes, crustaceans, worms, and mollusks.

They are commonly fished for along piers using 4 or 6 hooks baited with mussels, ghost shrimp, clams, sand crabs, bloodworms, and innkeeper worms. There is no size limit when fishing for them.

They are known for their mild-flavor, however there are warnings about eating croakers since they are bottom feeders and digest the pollution of the area. The best cooking method is baked or broiled on a rack so that their fatty oils can drop away from the meat.

Image Caption: Yellowfin croaker (Umbrina roncador ). Credit: California Dept. of Fish and Game/Wikipedia (public domain)