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Petrale sole fish identification, Habitats, Fishing methods, fish characteristics

Petrale sole, Eopsetta jordani, is a flatfish of the family Pleuronectidae, Right-eyed flounders. It is a demersal fish that lives on sandy bottoms in 1,800 ft (550 m) deep water. Males can grow to 21 in (53 cm) in length, females to 28 in (70 cm), and weigh up to 8.2 lb (3.7 kg). Petrale sole is an important commercial foodfish because of its excellent quality and taste, caught all along the West Coast of the United States and Canada and into the Bering Sea, almost exclusively by trawler.
Petrale-Sole Petrale sole, Eopsetta jordani, also known as sole, round-nosed sole, Jordan's founder, California sole, brill, is a right-eyed flounder with an oval to round body, native in the Eastern Pacific from the coast of Baja California in the south to the Aleutian Islands in the Bering Sea in the north. They range from Cape St. Elias, Bering Sea coast of Alaska to Coronado Island, northern Baja California, Mexico, from Puget Sound to Point Concepcion, shallow water from Monterey northward.

Petrale sole has elongate, moderately slender and compressed oval to round body; depth of a length. The head is deep, 1/3rd - 1/4th of a length, and the eyes are large and on the right side. Interorbital space is narrow, blunt, scaly ridge. The mouth is large oblique, the jaws about even, the symphyseal knob but little projecting; gape curved, with two rows of small, arrow-shaped sharp teeth on the upper jaw and one row of teeth on the lower jaw. Maxillary is large, extends to below or slightly beyond middle of lower eye, reaching to behind pupil, 1/2nd in head. Posterior edge of lower jaw rounded. Teeth sharp, those of the lower jaw uniserial, the upper biserial. The inner series small and distant from the outer, which is considerably enlarged in front; lower jaw with a single series similar to the outer series in the upper jaw, but larger. Flounder Anatomy
Dorsal and ventral outline equally and regularly curved. Gill rakers roughish, strong, about 15 below angle, the longest about 1/2 as long as eye. Lower pharyngeals rather narrow, each with a single row of sharp teeth. Dorsal fin beginning above eye, the rays all simple; caudal fin with the middle rays longest and slightly indented near edges; anal preceded by a spine; pectoral fin is 1/2 length of head. No arch in lateral line over pectoral fin. Scales of colored side are small, even, firm, strongly ciliated, nearly uuiform over head and body; lower jaw and snout scaleless; scales on blind side smooth. Anal spine is strong. Snout is fairly sharp.
    Petrale sole are often confused with California halibut because of their similar color and large mouths. However, petrale sole have an even, brown coloration and do not have a high arch in the lateral line.

Key characters

Both eyes are on the right side. Body shape is oval to round. Mouth is very large with two rows of small, arrow-shaped teeth on their upper jaw and one row of teeth on the lower jaw. Dorsal fin is starting over middle part of eye. Caudal fin longest in middle, ending in a broad 'V'. Pectoral fins large, bluntly pointed. Tail fin squared.
  • 82-103 Dorsal soft rays
  • 62 80 Anal soft rays
  • 41 44 Vertebrae
  • 96 Scales
  • Max length: 27.5 in (53 cm), common 42.5 cm
  • Max weight: 37 kg
  • Max age: 25 years
  • Petrale-Sole Anatomy

    The color is uniform dark to light olive-brown with dusky blotches on the dorsal and anal fins on the eyed side, fringe most of body. Blind side is white, sometimes with pink traces.

    Petrale sole found at depths of 60 to 1,500 feet. They are common on the outer shelf on sand bottom, usually in deep water in depths between 330 and 500 feet. Eggs and larvae are found in surface waters of the ocean, and juveniles and adults live on sand and mud bottom. Adults migrate seasonally between deep-water winter spawning areas to shallower spring feeding grounds.
        The diet of the Petrale sole includes crabs, shrimps, epibenthos organisms and other fishes such as anchovies, herring, hake, small rockfish, pollock and other flatfish. Larvae eat plankton, preying on all stages of copepods (adults, eggs, and nauplii). Small juveniles eat mysids, sculpins, and other juvenile flatfish. Large juveniles eat shrimp and other decapod crustaceans, cumaceans, carideans and amphipods as well as euphausiids, pelagic fishes, ophiuroids, and juvenile petrale sole.

    Petrale sole begin maturing at age 3. Most males are mature by 7 years and about 1 foot in length, and most females are mature by 8 years and about 1 foot in length. Spawning takes place once per year from December to April and peaks in February through March. They spawn over the continental shelf and continental slope, generally between 900 and 1,500 feet. The Petrale sole is a broadcast spawner - both sperm and eggs are released into the water column and eggs are fertilized externally. Depending on their size, females can produce 400,000 to 1.5 million eggs. Eggs hatch in 6 to 13.5 days, depending on water temperature. Larvae spend their first 5 to 6 months up in the water column before they metamorphose to the adult form and settle to the bottom.

    Fishing Methods:
    Although this flatfish is not often sought by recreational anglers, its large size and excellent eating qualities make it a good sport fish. Probably the entire sport catch for this species is taken incidentally by anglers on rockfish trips aboard commercial passenger fishing vessels. These anglers fishing in waters from 100 to 300 feet deep catch petrale sole on the sand surrounding rocky reefs.
        Petrale sole is delectable fish embodies tender meat and is, conveniently, quite low in fat. It has an excellent, mild and delicate flavor and fine, medium firm texture with small flake. It is a soft, moist fish and vulnerable to mushiness if overcooked. Livers of large individuals are a rich source of vitamin A.
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