How to Catch an Atlantic Croaker

How to Catch an Atlantic Croaker

Where does the Atlantic Croaker live?

The Atlantic Croaker is a fish that lives and migrates within the warm waters of the Gulf of Mexico and central Florida. But this fish can also be found off the coasts of New Jersey and the state of Massachusetts. They have migration patterns that follow the entire Gulf of Mexico, from Mexico to the tip of Florida and all the way to Massachusetts. Occasionally they can be seen around the northern part of the Caribbean Sea.

They also have parts of South America as their home. The Atlantic croaker is a common fish around the southern tip of Brazil and Argentina.

This fish enjoys swimming in shallow eaters and water that is sandy or muddy. The Atlantic croaker likes to eat food at the bottom of bays and tide pools. They eat other small fish, crustaceans, and worms.

Characteristics of an Atlantic Croaker

The Atlantic Croaker is on the smaller side when it comes to ocean fish. They don’t weigh more than 1lb until they are about three years old. It is around this age that they can finally reach up to 5 lb. The average weight of an Atlantic Croaker is three lbs, but they can grow to five pounds if they plenty of food along their swimming routes. Despite their small size, these fish can live to be eight years old.

They can grow to be about a foot in length. Although there are few types of Atlantic Croakers, each with different coloring, they tend to have yellow scales on the top and middle sections of their bodies and fins. Their underbelly could be white or silver. Some croakers have extremely silver scales, and their head is a yellowy silver. They have two fins on the top of their body and three fins at the bottom.

What is the Atlantic Croaker’s Favorite Food?

The Atlantic Croaker likes to eat a variety of small fish and crustaceans that live in sandbars and tide pools. There are a few animals that the Atlantic Croaker find irresistible to eat. These animals are perfect to use as bait. Using animals that they enjoy can improve your chances of catching them. 

Striped bass, sea trout, and small fish are favorites of the Atlantic Croaker. It may be easier to catch the Croaker by using fillets of these fish than to try and catch it with fake plastic bait. You can fillet and section off tiny bite-sized pieces of the suggested fish and then place the fillets on the hook. Hooking on whole small fish and use them as bait like that will work as well.

Along with these fish, many pitchers who have had a lot of success in catching the Atlantic Croaker suggest using shrimp. You can purchase shrimp from the grocery store, but fresh, unfrozen shrimp is always best.

How to Catch Atlantic Croaker

What type of rod do you need?

Even though these fish lives and travels along the coast, they are not strong fish. A fisher only needs to use a light or medium rod. 

Because their prey lives in shallow water, you might find them in sandbars and tide pools during high tide. The Atlantic Croaker is not small enough to swim in shallow water during low tide. 

Be prepared to lose a few pieces of bait to a school of Croakers. Because they are small fish, they gather together in large schools for added safety. When you identify a Croaker school, you can try catching them by placing your bait on the outer area and look for a straggler who is not keeping up with the group.

When you have a bite and can successfully pull a croaker out of the water, take a look at their size. Adult Croakers grow to be a foot in line. If you have a croaker fish that is smaller than this, then they are not adults. It is always a good idea to throw back young fish so they can continue to grow and then create or fertilized eggs.

What to do after catching an Atlantic Coaker

Whenever you go fishing, always carry a bucket of water with you so you can place your catch in the bucket and continue to fish. When you’re ready, thoroughly guts the Croaker and remove its organs. You can also use this time to fillet it into uniform pieces. Home ec

Storing your catch

Their flesh is very delicate and light, so it is not recommended that you freeze them. The freezer could damage the texture coloring of the Croaker. Other Fishers say that when they thaw out the meat, they quickly turn to mush, and they are unable to cook it. If they are thawed out, then it will not taste like much, and the texture of the meat is now grainy.

How Does the Atlantic Croaker Fish Taste?

Their meat is very light, flavorless, and slightly pink. It is not like the thick and buttery flesh like salmon or tuna. Because this fish does not have a distinct flavor, they can be seasoned well, and it will not be overpowering. Many people even choose to roast this fish in a sauce. Or if you are camping, they can be cooked over an open flame, bbq-style.

Pan-frying this fish will result in a quick and easy dinner, but it can be baked in the oven or broiler for ten to fifteen minutes.


The Atlantic Croaker is a small but popular fish that lives around Florida, the Gulf of Mexico, and certain areas of Massachusetts and New Jersey. They drove to be about a foot long, and their max weight is around five pounds. The Croaker becomes a full-fledged adult when they turn three years old, and they live to be about eight if they are not eaten or fished first. Atlantic Croaker meat is very delicate and does not do well in frozen temperatures or being sought out after frozen. The best bait for catching Atlantic Croaker is other shrimp, bass, or sea trout. You can leave whole fish on the hook, or you can play into small pieces.

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