Other Names: Piggy, Piggy Perch, Grunt. Pigfish are characterized by irregular barring on the cheeks, a mottled appearance, or indistinct, irregular vertical bars. Often mistaken for pinfish, its dorsal spines are smaller, the eye is smaller and the distance from eye to mouth is greater. Pigfish are abundant and rarely reach more than 8 inches in length. Adults spawn in the Gulf and the young grow up in the bays, living in grassy areas or on shoals. They feed primarily on small crustaceans and mollusks, but also will take small fragments of other food. Adults live primarily in bays in grassy areas or on slopes of channels. Pigfish are found throughout the Gulf and will take small live bait or cut bait, especially along the slopes of channels using cut bait on bottom rigs. Pigfish can be caught around docks and piers using peeled shrimp. Although the flesh is edible, most pigfish are used as excellent live bait for larger fish such as sea trout.
Illustration: © Diane Rome Peebles