G. Brown (George Brown) Goode.

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killed for the oil. When they are here they feed upon any small fish, aud when menhaden were
here I have seen them drive the harbor full of them. I have seen the Horse-Mackerel swallow
dogfish whole weighing eight pounds. As fast as we got out the livers of the dogfish they would
catch them and eat them. There was a great deal of whiting here at that time. They have
almost totally disappeared. The Horse-Mackerel seems to be the enemy of all kinds of fish. There

1 <>! HUH* thymiut. According to Dr. Forlin, the Horse-Mackerel is quite abundant in the Onlf of Saint Law-
rence, especially in the bay of Chaleur and of Gasp<5, and also in tho Straits of Belle Isle and Blancs Sablou Bay. It
is taken in increasing numbers in the Gulf, partly by spearing and partly by baiting. For this latter purpose strong
steel hooks are used tied to solid lines and baited with herring. This (wiling is prosecuted more particularly in the
Hay of Chaleur and oil Caraqnette, where in 1863 over one hundred wen- r.iptun-d. The tishin^ in quite exciting,
although tiresome and requiring a good deal of skill, as in the efforts .. r the lishes to escape they pull with i such violence
:i* to endanger the lives of the fishermen by dragging them overboard. Canadian Fishery Heport for 1863, 62.

21 F


is nothing to trouble the Horse-Mackerel until the killer comes, and then they know it, I tell you.
Then the Horse-Mackerel will run! Some fishermen say that they have seen a killer poke his head
out of the water with a Horse-Mackerel in his mouth. I have known a Horse-Mackerel to yield
twenty-three gallons of oil. The average size is about eight feet in length." 1


This fish, Orcynus alliteratus, known in the Gulf of Mexico, where it is confounded by the fisher-
men with other similar species, as the "Bonito,"and in the Mediterranean by the names "Tounina'
(Trieste), " Carcane" (Venice), and "Tauna" (Nice), has a geographical range very similar to that of
the Bonito, except that it is found in the Pacific on the east coast of Japan, and in the Malay Archi-
pelago. It has also been recorded from Cuba, Brazil, and the Bermudas. This active species, which
attains the weight of from thirty to forty pounds, first made its appearance in our waters iu 1871,
when several large schools were observed by the Fish Commission in Buzzard's Bay and the Vineyard
Sound. Nearly every year since, they have been seen in greater or less numbers, but, as they are
of little value for food, no effort has been made to capture them, nor are they often brought to the
markets. This species, known at the Bermudas as the "Mackerel," is frequently seen in the
markets at Hamilton and Saint Georges.

In the Mediterranean its flesh is considered to be very excellent. My own experiments with
it are hardly confirmatory of this statement, but in Southern Europe all the fishes of this family
are very highly esteemed, and that it is not appreciated with us is perhaps due to the fact that
we do not know how to cook them. I find the following note by Professor Baird : " Flesh, when
cooked, dark brown all around the backbone, elsewhere quite dark, precisely like horse-mackerel.
Flesh very firm, compact, and sweet."

Stearns records its frequent occurrence in the Gulf of Mexico, where he has observed indi-
vidual specimens at Pensacola and Key West.

The habits of this fish have not been specially studied, but there is no reason to doubt that
they correspond closely with those of others of the same family.


The members of the family Carangicke, which is closely allied to the mackerel family, are dis-
tinguished chiefly by the form of the mouth, and by the fact that they have uniformly but twenty-
four vertebras, ten abdominal and fourteen caudal, while the mackerel have uniformly more, both
abdominal and caudal. They are carnivorous fishes, abounding everywhere in temperate and
tropical seas. On our own eastern coast there are at least twenty-five species, all of them eatable,
but none of them of much importance except the Pompanoes. On the California coast there are
two or three species of this family, of small commercial importance.


This fish, known on some parts of the coast as the " Horse-fish," in North Carolina as the
i' Mooufish " or " Sunfish," and in Cuba by the name " Jorobado," was called by DeKay "Blunt-nosed
Shiner," and since this name, sometimes varied to "Pug-nosed Shiner,'' is in common use in the
New York market and in Narragansett Bay, while the other names are shared by other species,

1 HORSE-MACKEREL. One weighing three hundred pounds was harpooned at Minot's Ledge August 10, 1859, by
a seaman on the United States steamer "Granite." Another, nine feet in length and weighing six hundred and four-
teen pounds, in Murblehead Bay about the same time.


similar anil dissimilar, it seems the most suitable for general adoption. The fish is found every-
where throughout the West Indies, an well as in Northern Brazil and iu the Gulf of Guinea, the
Gulf of Mexico, the Gulf of California, and southward along the coast to Panama, but has not
been found in Europe. In Eastern Florida it is not very unusual, being frequently taken in the
Lower Saint John's, and sometimes driven up as far as Jacksonville by easterly storms. Here and
in the Indian River it is known as the "Moonflsh." It is a frequent summer visitor all along the
coa-st as far north as Wood's Holl, Massachusetts, where it has n peculiar name, the people there
calling it the "Hump-backed Butterfish." The species attains the length of ten or twelve inches,
and is esteemed an excellent article of food. Considerable numbers are brought yearly to New
York, but elsewhere it rarely appears in the markets. Young from three inches in length
upwards are found, but we have no definite knowledge as to its breeding habits.


This species is almost certain to be confused by fishermen with the one last described, which
it resembles and is often spoken of under the same names. It occurs abundantly on our coast as
far north as Wood's Holl, and is found in the West Indies, in Brazil, and in the Gulf of Mexico,
as well as in the Pacific, from the Gulf of California to Panama.

The young of the Silver Moon-fish is abundant iu onr waters, and has been frequently taken
in Massachusetts Bay, and, in one or two instances, as far north as Halifax, Nova Scotia. Their
bodies are so thin that they can be dried iu the sun without the use of any preservatives, without
loss of form and color. They are, consequently, of no importance for food. In the Chesapeake
this fish is often called by the names "Horse-head" and "Look -down."


The Cavally of the Gulf of Mexico and Eastern Florida the " Horse Creyall6" of South Caro-
lina occurs abundantly on our Southern coast, and has been recorded by Professor Poey from
Cuba and by Cope from St. Christopher and St. Croix. It is generally distributed throughout the
West Indies, and is found along the Pacific coast from the Gulf of California to Panama. The
species was originally described from specimens sent from South Carolina by Garden to Linmeus.
The name of this fish is usually written and printed " Crevalhy' but the form in common use among
the fishermen of the South, "Cavally," is nearer to the Spanish and Portuguese names, Carallia
and Caballa, meaning " horse." The name as used in South Carolina is a curious reduplication,
being a combination of the English and Spanish names for " horse." It should be carefully remem-
bered that in South Carolina the name Crevalle" is most generally applied to quite another fish, the

The Cavally, as it seems most appropriate to call Caranx hippos, though in individual cases
occurring as far north as Cape Cod, and even, in one instance, at Lynn, Massachusetts, is not
commonly known in the United States north of Florida. Storer remarks: "This fish is so-
seldom seen in the waters of South Carolina that we are unacquainted with its habits." I
observed a specimen in the Jacksonville market in April, 1874. Concerning the Cavally of
Southern Florida, which is either this or a closely allied species, Mr. H. 8. Williams writes:

"In the Indian lliver this is one of the best of the larger varieties. Its season is from the 1st
of May to November. It ranges in weight from three to twenty pounds, being larger and more
numerous to the southward toward the Mosquito Inlet. The south end of Merritt's Island and
the inlets opposite old Fort Capron seem to be a sort of headquarters for the Cavalli. When iu


pursuit of prey they are very ravenous and move with the rapidity of lightning. They readily
take a troll either with bait or rag. The favorite mode of capturing them, as well as all other
large fish that feed in shallow water or near the shore, is with a rifle. The high, rocky shores
afford an excellent opportunity for this sport, though the rapid movements of the fish render
them very difficult targets."

Mr. Stearns writes: "The Crevalle" is common on the Gulf coast. In West Florida it appears
in May and remains until late in the fall, and is equally abundant in the bays and at sea. In the
bays it is noticeable from the manner in which it preys upon fish smaller than itself, the Gulf
menhaden and mullet being the most common victims. On arrival it contains spawn which it
probably deposits in the salt-water bayous, for in the fall schools of young are seen coining out of
those places on their way to the sea. These young are then of about one pound weight, appearing
to the casual observer like pompano, and I am told that they equal it for edible purposes. They
are caught accidentally by seines and trolling-lines. Large ones are not considered choice food, the
flesh being dark and almost tasteless. The average weight is twelve pounds; occasionally they
attain the size of twenty pounds."

Professor Jordan found this species abundant in Lake Pouchartrain.


This fish, called in the Bermudas, where it is of some importance as a food-fish, the "Goggler,"
or " Goggle-eyed Jack," and in Cuba the "Cicharra," occurs in the West Indies and along the
Atlantic coast of the United States north to the Vineyard Sound. It is also found at Panama and
in the Gulf of California, and in the Indian Ocean, the Red Sea, and off the coast of Guinea, while,
as has been remarked, it is abundant in the Bermudas. Its large, protruding eyes are very notice-
able features, and the Bermuda name seems appropriate for adoption, since the fish has with us
never received a distinctive name. In form it somewhat resembles the species last discussed, with
which it is probably often confused.

Stearns speaks of a fish, common at Key West, which is known as the "Horse-eyed Jack," and
this may prove to be the same species.


TUis fish, known about Pensacola as the "Jurel," "Cojinna," and "Hard-tail"; along the
Florida coast as "Jack-fish" and "Skipjack"; in the Bermudas as the "Jack" or "Buffalo Jack";
in South Carolina as the "Horse Crevalle""; at Fort Macon as the "Horse-Mackerel"; about New
York and on the coast of New Jersey as the "Yellow Mackerel," is found in the Western Atlantic
from Brazil, Cuba, and Hayti to Halifax, Nova Scotia, where specimens were secured by the United
States Fish Commission in 1877. It is one of the commonest summer visitants of the West Indian
fauna along the whole coast of Southern New England and the Middle States, being especially
abundant in the Gulf of Mexico, and one of the commonest fishes in the Bermudas. This fish is
occasionally brought to the New York market, but is of no special importance as an article of food
north of the Gulf of Mexico. Concerning its habits in those waters, Mr. Stearns has contributed
A very interesting series of notes. They are especially entertaining, since nothing has previously
ibeen known of its life-history :

"It is extremely abundant everywhere on the Gulf coast of Florida, Alabama, and Mississippi.
At Pensacola it is one of the important fishes of trade, and is highly prized for food. It is one of
the class of migratory fishes of this coast, like the pompano, mullet, Spanish mackerel, and red-
dish, having certain seasons for appearing and disappearing on the coast, and also has habits during
these seasons that are peculiar to themselves or their class. It appears on the coast in April, in


.small schools that swim iu shoal water near the beach during pleasant weather, when there is little
or no surf, in eight or ten feet of water, and iu stormy weather some little distance from the break-
ers. Their movement is from I lie eastward to the westward. As they seldom swim at the surface,
(heir movements can be watched only when iu shoal water. The schools 'running' iu April and
first of May are usually smaller than those of a few weeks later, but the individuals of the ilrst aw
>i>mewhat larger. The mass, or largest 'run,' comes in May, and it is on the arrival of these that
schools are first seen coming in the inlets.

" A noticeable peculiarity of the Hard-tail compared with some other common migratory fishes
is that the first schools do not stay about the mouths of an inlet and along the beach weeks before
coming inside as those of the latter do, but continue their westward movement, without seeming
to stop to feed or play, until the time has come for a general movement towards the bays. In this
way they must be distributed along the coast, with no unequal accumulation at any one point.
When once inside, the numerous schools break up into smaller ones of a dozen or two fish, which
are found in all parts of the Cay during the summer. On their arrival the larger fish contain
spawn, which in July and August becomes quite full, after which none are seen but the young fish
of about ten inches in length, until there is a general movement towards the sea. It is believed
that the adult fish spawn in the bays, but the only evidence to support that belief is that they come
inside with spawn, go away without it, and that very young fish are found there. In October and
November small Hard-tails are caught in Santa Rosa Sound, measuring five and six inches in

"The smallest of the spring run are nine or ten inches long. Adult fish measure twelve, four-
teen, and fifteen inches in length, very rarely more than the last. During the months of October
and November Hard -tails leave the bays, formed in small schools and swimming below the surface
iu deep water. The only time that they can then be seen is when they cross the 'bars' at the inlet
or sandy shoals in the bay. A few stragglers remain in Peusacola Bay and Santa Rosa Sound
all winter, which are taken now and then with hook and Hue. 1 have found them in abun-
dance in winter on the South Florida coast, where, owing to less variable conditions of the water,
their habits are decidedly different. The Hard -tail is a most voracious fish, waging active war
upon the schools of small fish. Its movements are rapid, and sometimes iu its eagerness it will
jump high out of the water. It has its enemies also, for I have seen whole schools driven ashore
by sharks and porpoises; a great many are destroyed in this way. Hard-tails are caught for the
market in seines."


The occurrence of this species on our coast was first announced by a drawing made by Mr. J.
H. Richard of a fish taken iu South Carolina. Upon this drawing Holbrook founded his species,.
G. Bichardii. Caranx fallax occurs abundantly throughout the West Indies and along the Gulf
coast of the United States, and it is by no means impossible that stragglers should have
found their way to Charleston. According to Professor Foey, this fish has been prohibited from
sale in Cuba from time immemorial, and with good reason, since many disastrous cases of sickness
have followed its use as food. This species occurs, according to Jordan, from the Gulf of California
to Panama, and also in the East Indies.


The Round Robin, or, as it is called at Pensacola, the " Cigar-fish," occurs in the Bermudas,
where it is an important food-fish ; it occurs also in the West Indies and along the coast of the
United States north as far as Wood's Holl.


A closely related species, Decapterus ntacarellus, is found also in the "West Indies and along
the eastern coast of the United States. According to Stearns, individuals of this species are rather
rare in the northern part of the Gulf, but more common along the South Florida coast. They live
in shallow water and in harbors, usually moving about in small schools. At Key West they are
caught in seines, and are eaten.


The Scads, known in England as the " Horse-Mackerels," appear to occur in all temperate
and tropical waters. The distribution is given by Giinther as follows : "From the coasts of the
temperate parts of Europe, along the coasts of Africa, round the Cape of Good Hope into the
East Indian seas, to the coasts of New Zealand and West America." As has been shown by
Liitken, Steindachner, and Jordan and Gilbert, three distinct species are confounded by Giinther
under the name Trachunis trachurus.

In Europe our Scad ranges north to the Trondhjem Fjord, latitude 65, and is said to occur
as far south as Portugal. On the coast of Holland it is known as the " Marse Banker," or "Hors."
It is interesting to American ichthyologists, since the similarity of its habits to those of the men-
haden, so important in our waters, caused the latter fish to be called among the early Dutch colon-
ists of New York by the same name. European writers describe the Scads as occurring upon those
coasts in schools of immense numbers, and it would seem that although their manner of swimming
resembles that of the menhaden, in their other habits they more closely resemble our own blueflsh.
They are considered to be food-fishes of fair quality, and attain the length of about twelve inches.
They are supposed to spawn about the same time as the mackerel. Only three specimens of this
species have ever been taken in the United States, one by the Fish Commission in Southern New
England in 1878, and subsequently two others by Jordan and Stearns, at Pensacola. In Califor-
nia, according to Jordan, the allied species T. picturatus occurs and is known as the " Horse-
Mackerel." He continues : "It reaches a length of about a foot and a weight of less than a pound.
It ranges from Monterey southward to Chili, appearing in California in the summer, remaining in
the spawning season, and disappearing before December. It arrives at Santa Barbara in July, and
at Monterey in August. In late summer it is exceedingly abundant. It forms part of the food of
larger fishes, and great numbers are salted for bait. As a food-fish it is held in low esteem, but
whether this is due entirely to its small size we do not know. It is identical with the well-known
Mediterranean species."


This fish, also known as the " Shoemaker-fish," is found along our coast from Cape Cod to the
Caribbean Sea, as also on the Pacific coast of tropical America. It possesses no importance in
our Atlantic waters, but on account of its strange shape and the long thread-like appendages to
its fins, which float behind it to the distance of five or six times its own length, it is often brought
to the markets as a curiosity. "It is not found in California," writes Jordan, "but in Western
Mexico it attains the length of two or three feet, and is brought to tho markets for food."


There are four species of Pompano in the Western Atlantic, very similar to each other in
general appearance, but easily distinguished by differences in proportion and in the number of

The commonest and by far the most important species, the Carolina Pompauo, Trachynotus
carolinu*, has the height of the body contained two to two and two-thirds times in the total length;
the length of the head five to five and one-third times; one of the caudal lobes four times. It has


twenty-four to twenty-five rays in the second dorsal, while the anterior rnys of the dorsal and
anal tins, it' laid backward, reach to the middle of the fin.

The Itound Pompano ( T. oratun) has the height of the body contained two to two and one-third
thins in the total length; the length of the head five to five and one-fourth times; one of the
caudal lobes three and a half to four times. In the second dorsal are from eighteen to twenty -one
rays, in the second anal from sixteen to nineteen, while in the Carolina Pompano there are twenty-
one to twenty two.

Tin- African Poinpauo ( T. goreen*in) resembles in general form the Round Pompano, though
somewhat more elongate, while the head is larger, being contained four and a half times in the
total length. The anterior rays of the dorsal and anal extend beyond the middle of the fin, if laid
backward. In the number of the tin-rays it corresponds most closely with the Bound Pompauo.

The Banner Pompano (T. glaucus) has a somewhat elongate body and a small head. It is
much thinner than either of the other species. Its silvery sides are marked with four blackish
vertical streaks; the best distinguishing mark is in the length of the first rays of the dorsal and
anal, which extend back nearly to the tip of the caudal fin. The name Pompano, applied in this
country to all of these fishes, is a Spanish word, one of the meanings of which is "grape-leaf."
This name is applied in Western Europe to a very different fish.


The Common Pompano or Carolina Pompano occurs in both the Atlantic and Pacific waters
of the United States. On our eastern coast it ranges north to Cape Cod, south to Jamaica, east
to the Bermudas, and west in the Gulf of Mexico, at least as far as the mouth of the Mississippi
River. In the Pacific it is rare, and as yet known only from the Gulf of California, where it has
recently been observed bj Mr. C. H. Gilbert.

In our New England and Middle States it is a summer visitor, appearing in June and July,
ami departing in September. Although it is at present impossible to ascertain the lower limit of
its temperature range, it is probable that it corresponds very nearly to that indicated by a harbor
temperature of 60 to 65 Fahrenheit.

This species was described at an early day by Linnasus from South Carolina, and never had
been observed in any numbers north of Cape Hatteras until the summer of 1854, when Professor
Baird discovered them near Great Egg Harbor. In his "Report on the Fishes of New Jersey" he
states that he had seen them taken by thousands in the sandy coves on the outer beach of Beas-
ley's Point. These, however, were young fish, few of them weighing more than half a pound.
In 1803 he obtained both species in Southern Massachusetts, where in subsequent years they
have been frequently captured.

"My first acquaintance with the Pompauo in New England," writes Professor Baird, "was in
18C3, during a residence at Wood's Holl, where I not unfrequently caught young ones of a few
inches in length. I was more fortunate in the summer of 1871, which I also spent at Wood's Holl;
then the Pompauo was taken occasionally, especially in Captain Spindle's pound, and I received
at different times as many as twenty or thirty, weighing about one and one-half or two pounds
each. Quite a number were caught in Buzzard's Bay and Vineyard Sound in 1872."

It is a fair question whether the Poinpauo has recently found its way into northern waters, or
whether its presence was unknown because nobody had found the way to capture it. When
Mitchill wrote on the fishes of New York in 1842 he had access to a single specimen which had
been taken off Sandy Hook about the year 1820.

The spawning times and breeding grounds of these fishes are not well known. Mr. S. C.


Clarke states that in the Indian River they spawn in March, in the open sea near New Smyrna,
Florida. It is supposed that those visiting our northern coasts breed at a distance from the shore.
The eggs, like those of the mackerel, being lighter than the water, float at or near the surface.

Online LibraryG. Brown (George Brown) GoodeThe fisheries and fishery industries of the United States (Volume 1:1) → online text (page 57 of 146)