A good fisherman knows the ins and outs of many types of fish, but there’s one fish that’s ubiquitous to fishermen across the world – the grunt fish. There are several different species of grunt fish that you can catch in almost any body of water, including saltwater grunts fish, so learning about them will help you catch bigger and bigger fish. Different types of grunt fish have different colors and features but one thing that’s common among them is the grunting noises they make by grinding teeth together. The sound is further magnified by their swim bladder.
Types of Grunt Fish Species
Here are some of the most common types and what you should know about them as a fisherman. Keep in mind that some of them are classified as endangered so make sure to check your state or local regulations before you go fishing for grunt fish.
The white grunt is a popular fish among anglers, as it’s easy to catch and tastes delicious. Also known as common grunt, sandpipers, and spotted seatrout, white grunts are known for their tendency to travel in schools.
They live primarily along beaches, but can also be found in lagoons and tidal flats. They even spend time offshore when not mating or spawning.
White grunts are usually found in continental shelf locations swimming around reefs. You can easily identify one by its silvery-gray hue with yellow stripes on the body and blue strips on the head.
White grunts are big and can grow up to 14 inches. Some grow up to 25 inches. They also weigh around 8 pounds. They usually swim in schools in the shadows, especially during the daytime.
Although many species of grunt fish are threatened or near-threatened, you won’t want to leave out the blue-striped grunt on your list. It’s an important fish to commercial fishing efforts in South America but can also be found easily in aquariums and pet stores across North America and Europe.
They grow to be around two feet long and have been described as fierce-looking with eyes that have a penetrating stare. Like other types of grunt fish, they use their sounds instead of sight for communication, which means that aquarium owners may need extra lighting for them if there isn’t enough ambient light in their tanks at night.
As one of the most popular Florida grunt fish, the blue-striped grunt is more prevalent in most fishing grounds stretching all the way from southern Florida to the Caribbean and West Indies as well as in the Gulf of Mexico and both south and Central America.
This type of grunt grows to a foot or even 18 inches in length. When it comes to blue-striped grunt size limit Florida has some of the largest. Its favorite habitat is around reefs and deep edges but always closer to the shore in 50 feet deep water.
Growing to only a foot in length, French grunt are one of the most popular types in Louisiana. Also known as speckled sea trout, French grunts have a light pink color on their bellies and bright orange-yellow spots on their backs. Their meat is white with a delicate buttery flavor that makes them an excellent choice for almost any kind of meal preparation.
The French grunt is found in diverse regions including the Caribbean, most parts of Florida, and the Bahamas. You can also catch them in the Gulf of Mexico, South Carolina, and in the waters around Brazil.
You can easily identify a French grunt by its white to yellowish or blue body with bright yellow stripes. The head has yellow spots at the bottom and the fins bright yellow. The fish can grow up to 10 inches long although some are known to grow up to 12 inches or more.
French grunts favor shallow water habitats near the shore as well as in coral reefs and rocky coastlines. They prefer to feed at night like other types of grunt fish and always swim in massive schools of up to 1000 fish or more. Their favorite food is crustaceans feeding near reefs or in grass beds.
Hogfish, or Lachnolaimus maximus, is a grunt fish that has black eyes with thin white lines and six or seven vertical bars on its sides. The pectoral fins are small.
They are often caught by anglers who use shrimp as bait. There are also several types of fishing lures that may be used to catch them. Hogfish live at depths of up to 400 feet, though they can also be found in waters shallower than 200 feet deep.
This species inhabits areas with rocky substrates and coral reefs, where they feed mostly on mollusks and crustaceans such as crabs and lobsters. They reach sizes up to 50 pounds; however, most don’t exceed 22 pounds.
Other Grunt Species
The Laughing Grunt, Brown’s Grunt, Cuban Redhead, Bay Blonde, and Eastern Lubber are just a few other species that fall under an even broader category known as grunt fish.
While these species aren’t officially grunts by nature, they are often referred to as such because they emit similar sounds with their mouths (i.e., grunt). The name grunt fish comes from a quirk in their breathing system that makes a grunting sound when oxygen passes through their gills.
This particular quirk isn’t exclusive to grunt fish either; plenty of other fish, including butterflyfish and parrotfish, make similar noises while they breathe too.
Many fish are called grunts. Most of these fish are mid-water swimmers, so they can’t be caught using a typical hook-and-line method. You’ll need to use your hands or specialized fishing tackle.
There are about five different types of grunt fish, including Australian grunter, spotted grunter, cobbler, and leopard grunt. Australian grunters aren’t particularly hard to catch if you bait them right and stick to shallow bodies of water during the summer months.
However, keep in mind that most types are quick to escape when they feel threatened, even if they are swimming in large schools. Never underestimate them. If you manage to grab one by its tail while it’s eating a crayfish, you’ll have yourself an excellent catch!