Atlantic Croaker

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.

Atlantic Croaker Illustration by Duane Raver, Jr.
Season 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 Abundant
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.
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.

Those that weigh 2 pounds or more are affectionately called horses.

The chin barbels ("whiskers") have taste buds that they use to detect bottom-dwelling food items.
Common 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 Length and Weight 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