Home Can You Eat? Weakfish: Can You Eat & How to Catch

Weakfish: Can You Eat & How to Catch

The Weakfish is also referred to as a Sea Trout and there are about six species that inhabit the coastal regions of North America. It is a marine sport fish that is less than two feet. Their name refers to their delicate mouths, which can easily be torn by a fishhook. This is why the fish can manage to escape capture. Yes, you can eat weakfish and they can be grilled, baked, and fried. They are a great source of omega-3s and selenium. A weakfish has a unique taste. It has a nice briny tag with a medium flavor. The meat will flake delicately

Catching a Weakfish

When you fish for weakfish, you need to remember that finesse outweighs the fight. Because of their paper-thin mouths, they have the tendency to easily come unhooked. They start to filter into the Northeast bays in April. The weakfish will readily attack many different artificial lures. Some of the lures to use to catch a weakfish include:

  • Small bucktails
  • Soft-plastic swim shads
  • Deadly Dick spoons
  • Diamond jigs
  • Fluke-style plastics
  • Berkley Gulp
  • Epoxy jigs
  • Z-Man swimbaits
  • Jelly worms

When choosing your lure, base it on the weather conditions, depth of the water, and speed of the current. When you are fishing in fast-moving water, use a lure that will get down to the holes where you will find the weakfish. For example, in water that is moving slowly, use the three-inch swimbait on a jig head that is a lightweight quarter-ounce. If you decide that you want to use something natural you can tip your jigs with a strip of squid. On a high-low rig, you can use sandworms. With the high-low rig, you can use two natural baits at the same time with one above the other. Use a heavy sinker to keep it on the bottom.

Best Spots to Catch Weakfish

The weakfish like to stay in shallow water. It can be as shallow as six feet and some of these spots are right alongside the beach. Make sure that the area you choose to fish them is near grass banks or sod, which is where they will be in abundance. The larger ones should be hunting for minnows and crabs. When fishing for weakfish, you cannot make a sound as you will scare them away. Look for an inlet where the tide is the strongest to cast your line. They do move from spot to spot so if you find a good catch one day, they most likely will not be there the next day. The reason is due to the wind condition and weather. For example, you will find the weakfish on the south side of the wind is blowing in from the north.

Best Time to Catch Weakfish

The best time to fish for weakfish is an hour after sunset and an hour before sunrise; dusk and pre-dawn. Unless the bay waters are calm and the sun is down, they do not feed in the bay. You can generally find these fish in abundance if you fish at night. During the spawning season, you can find them in estuaries in the spring. In early summer they will move closer to shore so during that time you can use a boat to catch them around structures that hard bottoms, piers, and shoals. The weakfish will swim away from the back bay area when there is heavy rainfall but when it is dry they will move back.

After Catching a Weakfish

Once you have caught your limit of weakfish, you need to bleed them as soon as you reel it in by running a sharp knife along their gill plate. Always make sure you put them in your icebox immediately and as soon as you get home, you need to fillet it and put it in the refrigerator. It should be good for a few days but with the delicious flavor, you will want to cook them right away. 

Cooking Weakfish

When cooking your weakfish, there are many ways in which you can do this.

  • Baking: Preheat your oven to 325 degrees. Remove the scales and then rub it with butter before you sprinkle on pepper and salt on both sides. Put the fish in a foil-lined baking pan. Bake for 30 minutes and baste it frequently. If you want, you can sprinkle some chopped green peppers and chopped thyme and parsley on top before baking or some sautéed onions in butter.
  • Grilled: You will need four fillets with the skin on. Wash them and put them on some heavy-duty foil, enough to make four packets. Sprinkle each with some Old Bay Seasoning, a squirt of lemon juice, salt, pepper, some minced onion and garlic to taste, and one-cup white wine (optional) and a teaspoon of butter. Make each one into a tightly sealed packet and put on the grill for about 10-15 minutes. It is done when you can use a fork to flake the fish. Make sure that you do not overcook the fish. You can serve it with grilled vegetables of your choice.
  • Deep-Fried: Rinse the fillets and pat dry and dip in milk, then roll them in flour. Fry in hot oil until they are done. Serve with tartar sauce and French fries.
  • Grilled Weakfish 2: With this one, they are laid directly on the grill on either a grill mat or on the grates that have been brushed with olive oil. Before you put them on the grill, brush them with olive oil and season with pepper and salt. Cook the fillets skin side up for five to seven minutes and then flip them over and cook another eight to 10 minutes longer until they are cooked through. Once on the platter, mix some vinegar, chopped basil, and olive oil, and then drizzle it over the fish.


  • The weakfish is the state fish of Delaware.
  • They can reach 18 inches and weigh up to 18 pounds.
  • Weakfish can be baked, sautéed, deep-fried, or grilled.

Continue reading: How to Catch a Dogtooth Tuna

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Growing up on the south shore of Long Island, Chum Charlie has always had a passion for fishing. His favorite fish to catch is a striped bass and his favorite bait to use is bunker. Off the water, he enjoys blogging and sharing his favorite fishing tips & tricks that he has learned over the years.