Atractoscion Nobilis

Sciaenidae

Perciformes

Offshore, Nearshore, Coral Reefs, Estuaries, Bays, Kelp Forests

7 - 88 pounds

28" - 65"

White Weakfish Game Fish Quality Excellent
White Weakfish Meal Quality Excellent
White Weakfish Fly Fishing Quality Decent

White Weakfish

White Weakfish
Also Known As: Seatrout  

White Weakfish (Atractoscion nobilis) Description

The White Weakfish is a large brackishwater game fish. Its body is elongated and slender. It has a pointy head with a big mouth with small teeth. It has a blue-grey color speckled with white and its belly is silvery-white and its fins have an olive hue except for the pectoral fin which is blue-grey. To separate the white weakfish from other croakers, check if the fish has a ridge along its belly, it’s a white weakfish if it has one.

 

White Weakfish Size and Diet 

The white weakfish is the largest croaker species. They can get an amazing size of 5.4 feet and weigh 88 lbs. On average they are still huge; 28 inches in length and weigh 7.5 lbs. The white weakfish are carnivores. They often eat smaller fish such as crayfish, anchovies, sardines, and mackerel. Their favorite meal is a mollusk, the squid.

 

Interesting Facts About the White Weakfish

  • Like other croaker species, the white weakfish can make sounds to communicate. They use 5 distinct sounds to communicate with other whitefish weakfish.
  • This big fish reaches sexual maturity fast. Females can breed at age four and males at age three.
  • The white weakfish is more commonly known as “white seabass”s, they are not part of the seabass family but rather of the croakers such as the Atlantic Croaker.
  • As a popular gamefish, the white seabass has a high market value as a food source and for recreational fishing. Their numbers drastically decline because of this demand, forcing the government to make strict limits on catching this fish.
  • To identify if the white weakfish is young, check if the body has vertical bars. The more pale these vertical bars are, the older they are.

 

Fishing Techniques: How to Fish the White Weakfish

According to anglers, the most effective way to catch a white weakfish is by using live baits. Take a boat and you can look for squid nests which is a good spot to catch them. They are said to be lazy and you often need to use chum buckets to catch their attention. Fly fishing a white weakfish is fun, despite their name weakfish, they are known as strong fighters. They generally swim between the bottom and the surface of the ocean. You will rarely get them at the demersal area. You need to set your fly rig presentation to suspend near the bottom and between the surface. If your fly reaches the bottom just reel it in and cast again. Just let it drift and wait for the fish to bite.

If you want to fly fish the white weakfish, use 9-weight fly rods of between 7 to 9 feet. Use 20-30 lbs monofilament test line with hook sizes ranging from #2 to 2/0. To get to your sweet spot, use egg weights of ¾ ounce up to 1 ounce.

The best lures to use are artificial squid, tube baits, and bone jigs. The best bait is the squid. You can also use anchovies, sardines, and mackerel.

 

Habitat and Distribution

The white weakfish swims near the surface down to 400 feet of the Eastern Pacific region. Their range is from Alaska down to Baja California. The white weakfish thrives in a subtropical climate with temperatures between 58 to 65°F. They are generally saltwater fish but juveniles can be found in estuaries and bays. The white weakfish are migratory species, they migrate northwards during summer, although their migration pattern is still being studied. Their spawning season is from March to September; the peak season is in late spring to early summer.

Anglers often catch them swimming in schools of offshore waters. They often find them where the squids are. Other angling habitats are estuaries, rocky reefs, bays, and kelp forests. The best spot to catch this fish is in Baja California. Other good fishing spots in California are San Francisco Bay, Catalina, Channel Islands, and San Clemente Island. In Alaska, you can check the waters of Juneau.