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This book is a given for recreational and commercial fishermen as well as anyone who loves the outdoors! Since most anglers identify their fish by reviewing illustrations rather than using scientific keys, the authors have succeeded in making fishing easier by providing superb illustrations and detailed diagnostics for fish identification. A valuable, one-stop reference tool for everyday anglers, fisheries experts, biologists, and outdoors writers, this guide includes intensively researched information on 207 species of saltwater fish, essential data on each speciesí habitat, identification, typical size, and food value. By Jerald Horst & Mike Lane, illustrated by Duane Raver. 207 species.

Eel, American
Anguilla rostrata

Illustrations by: Duane Raver     Click image for large version.
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Family:  Freshwater Eels  (Anguillidae)
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Other Names :Freshwater Eel, Congo Eel, American Eel
Range & Habitat :All the rivers, bays, lakes and estuaries of the Gulf of Mexico. Adults migrate through the Gulf to spawn, but do not feed during migration and are not caught. Male eels spend their lives in brackish or saline estuaries and females ascend rivers, sometimes for great distances. They often enter lakes and reservoirs by climbing wet walls of dams or squirming overland through wet grass. Eels are most commonly associated with mud bottoms, but can be found in any habitat, including cold, rocky freshwater trout streams.
Identification & Biology :American eels are snake-like in appearance with one continuous fin extending the length of the back and much of the belly. They are round in cross-section, unlike moray eels, which are flattened side-to-side. American eels are olive-green above and yellowish-white beneath. Eels making their spawning run to the mid-Atlantic area known as the Sargasso Sea, develop a silvery color. American eels are catadromous, meaning that they live in freshwater and spawn in saltwater.

Scientists speculate that American eels can change sexes, becoming males in crowded areas where competition for food is strong, and females in areas of low population and low food competition. Females may live in freshwater 5 to 20 years, although about 7 years is average, before making their only spawning run. They will eat virtually anything small enough for them to swallow, living or dead. They feed primarily at night, spending the day in hiding. Eels are terrific fighters and many a fisherman has been disgusted by his trophy turning out to be an eel sliming his line.
Size :Females will reach almost 4 feet long and 6 pounds. Males are much smaller, always under 16 inches.
Food Value :Excellent as a smoked product. They are extremely oily and are mediocre prepared any other way. They are excellent bait, however. Large ones are used as cut-bait and stay on the hook well. Smaller eels may be used alive.
Description by: Jerald Horst, Associate Professor, Fisheries - LSU AgCenter

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