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Atlantic Croaker

Duane Raver, Jr.
Open Year-Round
Size Limit
8 inch minimum (total length)
Daily Limit / Person
No Limit
Delaware Range
Atlantic Ocean, Delaware Bay and Inland Bays
Abundance in Delaware Waters
General Habitat and Food Preferences
Atlantic Croakers are found in estuarine and nearshore coastal waters.

They prefer mud, sand, and shell bottoms where they feed on marine worms, squids, shrimps, and small fishes.
General Description
Atlantic Croakers have three to five pairs of small barbels or "whiskers" on their chin.

Adults are silver with a pinkish cast, while young are silvery and iridescent.

Older fish are brassy in color with brown vertical stripes on their sides.
Did You Know?
Atlantic Croakers get their name from the sound they often make when caught by an angler. The drumming or croaking sound is made by vibrating their swim bladder using special muscles.

The chin barbels ("whiskers") have taste buds that they use to detect bottom-dwelling food items.
Common Fishing Lures and Baits
Atlantic Croakers are most often caught bottom fishing with bloodworms, squid strips, or pieces of peeler crab on bottom rigs.

Larger Atlantic Croakers are usually caught in nearshore waters of the Atlantic Ocean.
Typical Sizes Caught
Atlantic Croakers are commonly caught in the range of 5 to 12 inches in length by Delaware anglers.
Citation Minimum Lengths/Weights
Live Release Award
Adult: 19 inches minimum
Youth (age 15 and under): 16 inches minimum

Sport Fishing Tournament Award
Adult: 3 pounds minimum
Youth (age 15 and under): 2 pounds minimum
Delaware State Record
5 pounds 3.5 ounces
Catherine Simpson