Identify Your Catch

Graphic courtesy of WikipediaFish identification relies heavily on knowing the proper terms for the various body parts of the fish. 

Other information you will find useful to note is the fish's  length and girth, skin color and texture (smooth, scaly), and its overall shape (flat, oval, round etc.). 

Where you caught the fish (habitat) can provide important clues as well as the type of bait and time of day.

Search by Fish Image:  This is the primary search tool since 'one picture is worth a thousand words'.  It consists of multiple images grouped in  four sections (plates).  Once you have made a tentative identification click on the image to  review additional identifying characteristics and to learn more about its natural history including bait preferences and other important fishing information. 

Search by Fish Group: If you haven't found your fish in the image link above then check the links below to see what 'group' the fish in in.  It is possible your fish is not one which is commonly caught. Knowing the 'group' allows you to do a Google Image search for more examples.

Croakers | Flatfish | Rays | Rockfish | Sea Bass | Sharks | Surfperch | Tunas & MackerelsOther

Search by Fish Habitat: Commonly caught sport fishes grouped by habitat types.   Knowing what species are more likely to be present where you are fishing allows you to choose the most appropriate baits and angling styles. Goleta has species from each of the habitats below.

Shallow SandyShallow RockyDeep Sandy Deep RockyPelagicSurfBay

Search by Common or Scientific Name:  It is always helpful to know the correct scientific name for each species and this list allows you to cross reference from the common name to the scientific name. Using the scientific name in a Google search will help narrow your search considerably.

Credits:  The above links are to the California Department of Fish & Game's excellent online publication, Marine Sportfish Identification.

Goleta's Kelp Reef:  In addition to the resources above here are pictures and illustrations of 45 different species of fish caught while surveying the pipeline reef community which has established itself approximately 30 yards west of the pier. 
This study was conducted during the 2002-2003 season in order to document the status of the existing fish stocks prior to the initiation of seasonal rockfish closures the following year.

The data is also displayed in a statistical spreadsheet format with monthly and annual totals of species and individual fish caught.

The 114 daily  fishing logs from that survey are included  as well.

Still in doubt ...  email me with as much information as you have (pictures if possible) about your catch and I will submit it to the DFG for an authoritative identification.

Good Luck and remember - if you haven't identified your catch you should not be keeping it ... it might not be legal.  Fish responsibly.

Thank You.

Questions or comments? ... email Pierhead

Copyright © 2007 by Boyd Grant.  All Rights Reserved