Posted by: Cactus Yak | August 4, 2008

Ladyfish = Skipjack

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:

  2. Ladyfish – ELOPS SAURUS
  3. 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.



  1. Skipjack tuna is what I was refering to, much thicker (rounder). BTW – they are a fun fight for kids (so you’d love them, but if I catch trash, I prefer those 28″ gafftops that circle the yak when I almost have them in, then take off with the line trying to flip me out of the yak.

  2. Couldn’t there actually be 4 species of fish called “skipjack”? Isn’t there an additional species commonly called “shad skipjack”? I don’t think the “shad skipjack” is the same fish as the “ladyfish”?

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