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Author:Vic Dunaway
Publisher:PRIMEDIA OUTDOORS, Mar 1998
Item #:24174


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Covers just about any species of fish that an angler might catch or use for bait in Florida with tips, hints and biological info. 231 illus; 256 pgs.

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The good, the bad, the ugly--for the very first time, they're all here together in a book of their own, a book that illustrates and describes virtually every kind of fish an angler in Florida--or the Bahamas or Caribbean Islands--could expect to find on the end of a line.

In this book you'll find the scoop on every hook-and-line species from the mightiest Marlin to the lowliest Lizardfish, along with advice on how to catch each one and how good it is to eat.

Because it's designed as a practical guide for fishermen, every effort has been made to keep biological jargon at bay. However, there is one nod to the world of science that is unavoidable--the inclusion of scientific names so that each of the species can be definitely pinpointed. Without scientific names, confusion would reign, because most species are known by more than one common name and, in many cases, two or more different species share the same common name.

It would have been nice to sort the species by their preferred environment--offshore, inshore, reef, flats or whatever. But as fishermen realize all too well, fish have tails and can swim where they please. The same kind of fish you catch on a flat today and in a bridge channel tomorrow may well strike your bait out on the deep reef next weekend. The constant element of surprise is one of the most appealing aspects of angling in this great area.

Alphabetical and strictly scientific classifications would have other drawbacks, so it was decided to use a mixed system that lets the species fall into whatever groupings would be natural. Most of the chapters cover a particular family of fishes. Some, however, deal with species that are not related but have certain habits or attributes in common. All are listed in a complete index at the end of the book.

A great many kinds of fish are protected by conservation laws that may include licenses, daily bag limits, possession limits, minimum and maximum size limits, permitting and other legal requirements. Many different jurisdictions and agencies are involved in managing the fisheries--at least a half-dozen in Florida alone, to say nothing of other countries-and their regulations sometimes conflict.

In Florida, information is available from such sources as Florida Sportsman Magazine, county courthouses and many tackle shops. Visitors to Florida or the Islands usually are able to get the needed information from their travel agents, resorts, fishing camps or charter captains.

Ciguatera is a type of poison carried by certain individual fish in tropical waters. Although only a minute number of fish are affected, people sometimes acquire the toxin, mostly by eating very big specimens of predatory types, such as the Great Barracuda, Amberjack, and even some larger varieties of Grouper and Snapper. The resulting illness can be serious and lingering, but is rarely fatal.

Ciguatera seems to be more common in some species than in others, but its occurrence is rarely predictable. In a given area, a few fish of a particular species may be carriers of the toxin while the majority of individuals of that same species are perfectly safe to eat.

The toxin comes from microscopic organisms called dinoflagellates that attach themselves to marine algae. Grazing fishes acquire the toxin by eating the algae. Predators acquire it by eating the grazers; however, it must accumulate in the muscle tissue of the predator for a considerable amount of time before reaching levels that are dangerous to human beings. It is always wise to let the big predators go and eat the smaller ones.

A second kind of marine fish illness--Puffer poisoning--is more serious--often fatal, in fact. But it is also far more easily avoided. All you have to do is refrain from eating any of the Puffers.

In fresh water, the roe of Gars is also known to be poisonous.

Fortunately, toxic fish are relatively rare. Our waters offer a tremendous variety of delicious species for all to enjoy. Edited by Eric P. Wickstrom.

"What's the name of this fish anyway?" "Is it good to eat?"

Those are two big questions that many thousands of fishermen constantly ask as they encounter the huge variety of fish in Florida's inshore and offshore waters.

Until now, there has been no complete, easy-to-use identification guide. Sport Fish of Florida fills that need. All the fish you're likely to catch are shown on these pages. Well over 200 of them. No more guesswork.

I.D. information, edibility ratings and other important information are provided by none other than Vic Dunaway, founding editor of Florida Sportsman Magazine. A legend, who really is just that, Vic knows his sport fish like no one else.

Sport Fish of Florida also features all original illustrations by Floridian Kevin R. Brant, who carefully produced the images exclusively for this long-awaited book.

At Florida Sportsman, we've talked periodically for 20 years about the need for a really helpful guidebook that would show all the key fish and give the salient facts about them for the typical angler. Lo and behold, here it is!

We trust that you'll find Sport Fish of Florida to be a helpful companion for your angling days in state and neighboring waters, where the fish are both diverse and delectable." --Karl Wickstrom, Publisher, Florida Sportsman Magazine


If you had to choose one person who knows his Florida fish and how to catch them better than any other angler of our time, it would have to be Vic Dunaway.

Vic's seen virtually all of them, up close, on the end of his fishing line.

Moreover, Vic hase culinary value of seemingly every finny thing that swims.

In this Sport Fish of Florida book, Vic shares with you his half-century of experience, telling you how to I.D. a fish, how to catch it, where it resides and whether it's good to eat. (You may find that you've been discarding some fish that are actually excellent table fare.)

Vic is no snob when it comes to finding good food. We can all benefit from his hard-earned knowledge.

As founding editor of Florida Sportsman Magazine, author of best-selling books, contributor to national magazines, and TV personality, Vic is widely acclaimed as the dean of Florida outdoor writers, an expert who plies quiet streams for bluegill one day and searches the seas for marlin the next.

His work is illustrated with paintings, especially commissioned for this book, by Kevin R. Brant, a fast-rising artist who also has spent many a year on the Florida waters building a firsthand relationship with the characters he paints.

The result is a long-awaited reference book you'll use for all your fishing days.

Chapter 1 -- The Croakers
Chapter 2 -- The Snooks
Chapter 3 -- The Flounders
Chapter 4 -- Favorites Without Families
Chapter 5 -- The Jacks
Chapter 6 -- The Snappers
Chapter 7 -- The Groupers
Chapter 8 -- The Porgies
Chapter 9 -- The Grunts
Chapter 10 -- Miscellaneous Reef Fishes
Chapter 11 -- The Billfishes
Chapter 12 -- Mackerels and Tunas
Chapter 13 -- The Sharks
Chapter 14 -- The Rays
Chapter 15 -- Mullets and Mojarras
Chapter 16 -- The Tooth and Spine Bunch
Chapter 17 -- Hitchhikers, Blowhards and 'Whatzits'
Chapter 18 -- Baitfishes
Chapter 19 -- The Black Basses
Chapter 20 -- The Bream and "Perch"
Chapter 21 -- Basses With Stripes
Chapter 22 -- The Catfishes
Chapter 23 -- The Shads
Chapter 24 -- The Cichlids
Chapter 25 -- The Gars
Chapter 26 -- Miscellaneous Freshwater Species
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