Atlantic Spadefish

The Atlantic Spadefish is silvery in color with 4 to 6 black vertical bands (stripes) on each side of the body. These bands sometimes fade or become obscure in larger fish.

Atlantic Spadefish Illustration by Duane Raver, Jr.
Season Open Year Round
Size Limit No Size Limit
Daily Limit / Person No Limit
Delaware Range Atlantic Ocean
Abundance in Delaware Waters Uncommon - this species is more common south of Delaware.
General Habitat and Food Preferences Atlantic Spadefish are a schooling fish that prefers bottom structure and are most often found near artificial reefs and wrecks.

They feed on small crabs, shrimps, marine worms, and sponges.
Did You Know? In an attempt to camouflage themselves, darkly colored juvenile Atlantic Spadefish will often drift like a leaf in the water column.
Common Lures and Baits Atlantic Spadefish do not take to artificial lures well.

The bait of choice is pieces of clam fished on small hooks.

Chumming with ground clams will help bring the fish to the boat.
Typical Sizes Caught In general, Atlantic Spadefish are caught by anglers in the range of 12 to 18 inches in length.
Citation Minimum Length and Weight Atlantic Spadefish are not currently eligible for a Delaware Sport Fishing Tournament or Live Release award, but a large specimen may qualify for an “Unusual Species” award.
Delaware State Record Atlantic Spadefish are not currently eligible for an individual Delaware record.