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.
Most common in deep waters of 500 to 1,200 feet on the edge of the continental shelf and on the continental slope off of Louisiana and Texas. Also found elsewhere in the Gulf of Mexico in similar habitats, but nowhere in as great numbers as off of Louisiana and Texas. Tilefish prefer a firm mud bottom in which to construct their burrows and on which to forage.
Identification & Biology :
Tilefish are one of the most beautiful fish in the Gulf of Mexico. Their backs and upper sides are aqua-blue with green highlights. This blends into a pinkish band down each side which in turn blends into a silvery-yellow belly. The tail fin is golden with blue-green stripes and the entire fish is covered with bright golden spots.
Tilefish have a most unusual lifestyle, living in vertical burrows in mud bottoms. Human divers in the northeastern U.S. (where tilefish live in shallower waters) have noted that tilefish spend the day moving slowly around bottom obstructions. Tilefish feed only during daylight hours, even though light penetration to the depths at which they live is very low. Tilefish feed most heavily between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. and feeding is done within 10 feet of the bottom. The main food items are crabs and lobster-like crustaceans, although clams, snails, starfish, and finfish are also eaten. Large tilefish eat more finfish and will even eat small tilefish when they get the chance. It appears tilefish will also scavenge, as garbage items from vessels, such as lamb chop bones and potato peelings, have been found in their stomachs.
When night falls, tilefish retreat to their burrows. Divers have observed a smaller fish, assumed to be a female, enter the burrow and a larger fish, thought to be a male, settle across the mouth of the burrow for the night. Tilefish do not seem to school as some other fish do, but rather live in groups or clusters. Fishermen fishing on tilefish grounds catch few other species mixed with them. In the Gulf of Mexico, the most common fish caught with tilefish is probably the snowy grouper, which lives in deeper water than other groupers. Five other smaller species of tilefish occur in the Gulf of Mexico.
Very common at 10-25 pounds, and occasionally to 40 pounds.
Food Value :
Excellent; similar to grouper, but with a finer texture
Description by: Jerald Horst, Associate Professor, Fisheries - LSU AgCenter