PIGFISH (Orthopristis chrysoptera) OTHER NAMES: Grunt, Orange Grunt, Piggy
RANGE: All Florida coasts and the Bahamas.
HABITAT: Unlike most Grunts, the Pigfish doesn’t mind murky water or soft bottom, and makes itself at home in a variety of shallow-water habitats throughout the state. Although most are taken over grassy flats, they are also plentiful around bars and along channel edges.
DESCRIPTION: Light brown or gray, with numerous small orange and blue markings and a small mouth.
SIZE: Common between 3 and 6 inches; may reach 10 or 12 inches.
FOOD VALUE: Larger ones make tasty panfish.
GAME QUALITIES: Pretty good puller, if hooked on light gear.
TACKLE AND BAITS: Small Pigfish are preferred live baits for Seatrout and other species – the thought being that their grunting attracts the predators from a goodly distance away. If you’re seekingPigfish for bait, use canepole or light spinning gear with small hooks and bits of cut bait or shrimp. Most Pigfish are caught, however, on tackle used for Seatrout on the grass flats. They are also popular potluck catches from docks and bridges, especially on the Gulf Coast. They will take shrimp, of course, and just about any size strip bait. They may hit jigs and small plugs.
FISHING SYSTEMS: Drifting; Still Fishing.(Orthopristis chrysoptera)