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The Red Porgy fish identification, habitats, characteristics, Fishing methods

The Red porgy, Pagrus pagrus, is one of the most popular sparid fish species in the Mediterranean region and the Atlantic coast, characterised by high price value, a highly appreciated flesh and good market perspectives.
The Red Porgy Fishing The Red porgy (Pagrus pagrus), also known as Guerito, Pinky, Pink Porgy, Rose Porgy, Strawberry Porgy is a species of fish in the Sparidae family. Although found in a wide variety of locations that range from Europe to the Caribbean, from New York to Argentina including the Gulf of Mexico, from the British Isles to the north and the Straits of Gibraltar. This includes the Madeira and Canary Islands and Mediterranean Sea. Also they are found in the offshore depths of Florida and the Bahamas.

Red porgy are medium-sized, humpbacked fish with compact, stocky bodies. The red porgy has a shimmering silvery-white underside and rows of small blue spots pattern the upper body. It has a large head, with a distinctive sloping forehead, rather large eyes, and prominent teeth. Two blue streaks, one above and one below the eye, highlight the head, while the tail is edged in black and has white tips. This is the only American porgy with a round nostril (not slit-like). The dorsal fins have 12 spines and 1 soft ray. The anal fin has 3 spines and 8 soft rays.
They are red with a silver tinge on the body and head. The tail and fins are more of a pinkish color. Small blue spots cover the entire body. This commercially important fish is named for the rosy tint to its fins and upperparts. Males are much larger than females. The Red Porgy averages 2 to 10 pounds, but may reach 20 or more. They live for up to 18 years.

Red porgy inhabit natural reefs, mainly in depths from 120-200 ft with the live and hard bottom. Primarily living near reefs and the deeper part of continental shelves, red porgy tend to travel in schools. They are migratory, seldom staying in the same location for any period. Young red porgy are typically found closer to the shore in shallower waters at a depth around 60 feet and are usually found in grass beds. As they mature, the red porgy prefer deeper water between 200 and 600 feet. Spawning occurs in winter at shelf-edge reefs.
Red porgy are carnivorous bottom feeders. They tend to feed in schools and migrate looking for food. Their typical diet is made up of crustaceans, mollusk and small fish, a variety of marine animals found on the ocean floor. Young red porgy tend to eat plankton and worms and concentrate more on small baitfish as they mature. Adults with their strong teeth eat snails, crabs and sea urchins and worms.

These fish are protogynous hermaphrodites, which mean that they start life as female and change to male with maturity. Most female red porgy mature in approximately 1 year, and then they change into males approximately 5 years later. Female red porgy begin to transform into males at 22 cm fork length when the red porgy is a juvenile or, more commonly, after the age of 3 years, but could be up to 6. Red porgy spawn between late winter and early spring. Eggs are laid and scattered on the ocean floor where they are externally fertilized.
In the western Atlantic, the red porgy spawns during winter and early spring, while in the Mediterranean, spawning takes place from spring until summer. The optimum water temperature for spawning is 16 to 22 C. Females reproduce eggs throughout the spawning season, releasing around 55 batches of eggs into the surrounding waters each year. The eggs hatch after 28 to 38 hours after fertilization by the male's sperm. The resulting larvae are transported by ocean currents for 30 days or more, before settling on the sea bottom. The red porgy develops at a rather fast rate for the first 4 years of life, with the growth rate slowing significantly as they reach sexual maturity.

Fishing Methods include Drifting or Still Fishing with light spinning and baitcasting tackle and multiplying reel, with live or dead shrimp and various cut baits. Red porgy can be fished for in both shallow and deep water. The best locations are generally over sand or rock bottoms and around underwater structures. Typically, the larger fish are caught from a boat near relatively deep offshore reefs, where the more mature fish live. Anglers often catch red porgy while bottom fishing for grouper and other fish. Additionally, they are migratory fish, so the best time to catch them in northern climes is in spring and summer.
Although they are hard fighting fish, light tackle is often preferred due to the red porgy size. Light- to medium-action spinning rods and reels with 8-to 10-pound line are standard. Worms, shrimp, clams and squid are popular natural baits. Red porgy will often nibble and steal bait, but anglers can avoid having their bait stolen by using the smallest pieces possible on the hook. Drifting is a good method using heavy bottom rigs with electric reels. Cut baits are a very good choice.
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