On a recent fishing trip to Dewberry Bay, Kris hooked and landed a ladyfish. He joked that it was a baby tarpon as he was reeling it in. As I was too busy fishing to watch him land it, I later asked him if indeed it was a baby tarpon He said “No. It was a ladyfish.” I replied… “Oh, a skipjack.” He then proceeded to tell me they were not one in the same. I didn’t agree having learned my fish identification from a trusted fishing guide, so I did some research.
The Florida Museum of Natural History has one of the best overviews on the species. Although the common name is “ladyfish”. Other names include “skipjack”.
As I was researching it, I started to understand Kris’ confusion on the topic. NOAA maintains a list of Atlantic and Gulf Coast fish names. There are actually 3 species of fish that are commonly called “skipjacks”. They are:
- Bluefish – POMATOMUS SALTATRIX
- Ladyfish - ELOPS SAURUS
- Skipjack Tuna - KATSUWONUS PELAMIS
Regardless of what you call it they are a lot of fun to catch. As Kris’ hinted while he was landing it, they are related to the tarpon. They dance on the water and put up one helluva fight.