Freshwater Fish ID question

Yesterday were fishing some canals in south west Palm Beach County. While fishing the north bank of the canal I saw a large fish, 30 inches or more, that looked like a small nurse shark or a cobia. We startled it so only got a quick look at it. It made such a splash that I wrote it off as a small gator because I could not believe my eyes.

A few moments later Nick and I drifted up to an open spillway where we both saw 2 of these fish swim under the boat. We could not believe our eyes. These were not the big black sucker fish we often see fishing canals. They were a tan color, a little lighter than a typical nurse shark. They were not Bowfin or Snakeheads. Has anyone ever seen these or know what they could be?


  • mandaferretmandaferret Posts: 932 Officer
    I would assume that gar is out of the question. The only other choices would be sturgeons (very, very rare) or if the canal is connected to saltwater bull sharks. Try to catch one/ get pictures.
  • TrafficTraffic Posts: 124 Officer
    The fish was not a gar and the nose was pointy. I thought sturgeon when I saw it but thought that was ridiculous. I thought sturgeon were more panhandle fish.

    We don't plan to go back any time soon but if we do I will mount a camera on the hull facing the bank to hopefully catch a shot of it. I think these canals may lead directly to Lake Okeechobee but I will have to trace them back on Google Earth to be sure.
  • mandaferretmandaferret Posts: 932 Officer
    I have never personally seen sturgeon this far south (I live in Martin County) but it is possible. I find this topic very interesting. In fresh, a 30" fish is big for most species. If it is possible, a drawing would be useful to identification. I have caught small bull sharks up rivers such as at Jonathan Dickinson on the Loxahatchee, but it is rare for one to get all the way where you have seen it.
  • TrafficTraffic Posts: 124 Officer
    I'm still at the office finishing a report but did do a quick Google search of south Florida sturgeon. The short nose sturgeon has the closest silhouette.

    I'm thinking they may have been released by someone or are escapees from an aquaculture project.

    The water was clear and they were not like anything I had ever seen before.
  • TrafficTraffic Posts: 124 Officer
  • Bass2bucksBass2bucks Posts: 653 Officer
    Maybe a big chain pickerel?
  • RemoteRedsTroutRemoteRedsTrout Posts: 408 Deckhand
    Doubtful, but maybe a grass carp? Probably not a tarpon either

  • capt louiecapt louie citrus countyPosts: 9,179 Moderator
    Snook ?
    "You'll get your weather"
  • TrafficTraffic Posts: 124 Officer
    It was not a snook.

    The grass carp is closest but the nose was pointy and the pectoral fins were well defined triangles that were extended out.

    It did not have the markings of a pickerel and the nose had a more defined point than a pickerel. It had a very even skin color.

    It was not hot and I had not consumed any alcoholic beverages ( just in case anyone is wondering) so i wasn't seeing things.

    Now I'm going to have to go back out there to look for it!!
  • FlashFlash Posts: 11,024 AG

    Never seem more learned than the people you are with. Wear your learning like a pocket watch and keep it hidden. Do not pull it out to count the hours, but give the time when you are asked. --- Lord Chesterfield
  • mandaferretmandaferret Posts: 932 Officer
    I thought of grass carp today but someone beat me too it. An amur is just the Russian name for a grass carp. Did you see any dorsal fin?
    I would suggest posting this to general fishing forum to get some more traffic.
  • RemoteRedsTroutRemoteRedsTrout Posts: 408 Deckhand
    Probably not a common carp either, doesnt quite match the description and we don't have any stocked around here


    The size and description would rule out ladyfish and mullet also
  • GrillaGGrillaG Posts: 1,259 Officer
    mullet ?
  • capt louiecapt louie citrus countyPosts: 9,179 Moderator
    Inquiring minds want to know ..
    "You'll get your weather"
  • TrafficTraffic Posts: 124 Officer
    Now I'm going to have to go back there and look for them.
  • mandaferretmandaferret Posts: 932 Officer
    Bring a cast net.
  • DaziggDazigg Posts: 206 Officer
    There's some crazy exotic catfish in these canals down here.
  • AustinRoseAustinRose Posts: 4 Greenhorn
    Maybe a big bull mullet?

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