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Fishes in the Fresh Waters of Florida

Everyone likes to read new books about fish, especially specieshunters!  There is a new identification book available now that helps identify all of the freshwater fish in the state of Florida in the USA (and some saltwater fish too).  Whether you fish in Florida regularly or have a trip planned in the near future, you should consider adding this new hardcover book to your library:

Fishes in the Fresh Waters of Florida, by Robins, Page, Williams, Randall and Sheehy.
Book review by Tom Berg:

The University of Florida Press has published a great new fish identification book, titled: Fishes in the Fresh Waters of Florida, by Robert Robins, Lawrence Page, James Williams, Zachary Randall and Griffin Sheehy.  Serious specieshunters who are interested in learning more about the many different species of fish swimming around in Florida waters should put this book on their wish list.

This comprehensive identification guide includes each of the 222 fish species present in Florida today, from species familiar to many anglers like Largemouth Bass, Redear Sunfish, Bluegill and Black Crappie to more unusual fish like the Seminole Killifish, the Okefenokee Pygmy Sunfish and the Cypress Darter, just to name a few.  It also describes odd fish species that are alien invaders from other countries – even other continents.  Some of those include the Bullseye Snakehead (native to tropical Asia), Midas Cichlids (native to Nicaragua and Costa Rica), Peacock Bass (native to northern South America), African Jewelfish (native to Africa, from the Ivory Coast to Ethiopia) and armored catfish like the Sailfin Catfish(native to South America) – again, just to name a few!  Some were accidentally released into Florida waters and others were intentionally released.  In any case, most are here to stay.

Besides some of the more glamorous and well-known fish mentioned above, the book also details the more obscure fish, the often overlooked minnow-sized species of fish that most ordinary anglers never even think about.  These are the minnows, darters, shiners and chubs.  Of course, specieshunters are always interested in those unusual fish.  The sheer numbers and colors of some of the minnows swimming in Florida waters is amazing, and they are all described quite beautifully in this book.  For example, the Bluenose Shiner really does have a bright blue snout.  The male Speckled Darter has bright red-orange and blue bands on its dorsal fin. The list goes on and on.

African Jewelfish (Hemichromis letourneuxi), caught and photographed by Tom Berg in Florida waters during 2018.

Fishes in the Fresh Waters of Florida also describes marine species that sometimes enter Florida’s fresh waters and might be caught by anglers.  Tarpon, Southern Flounder, Violet Goby, Snook and Mangrove Snappers are just a few of those species that are described in the book.

Of course, the beautiful full-color photos of the fish are one of the biggest attractions in this book, and there is often more than one photo of each species (adult views, juvenile views, males, females, spawning colors, etc).  The text details identification of species, discusses similar species, habitat and interesting comments.

Among the most useful things in this book for traveling anglers and specieshunters are the detailed range maps which are printed for each species.  These maps help rule-out similar looking species based on location, which can be very helpful in the field.  There is a lot to learn, and the 468 pages of this book will definitely educate you!

This is an excellent identification book for the serious specieshunter or life list angler, but it is also a great reference for both the beginner and the experienced freshwater fisherman.  It is currently for sale for $60 US at (ISBN-13:  978-1-68340-033-2).  See an example on the following page.

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# name spcs
1 242
2 191
3 172
show entire list
all times:
# name spcs
1 826
2 749
3 646
show entire list
unique species:
# name spcs
1 108
2 102
3 80
show entire list
caught on fly:
# name spcs
1 131
2 111
3 108
show entire list
# name spcs
1 49
2 36
3 36
show entire list
334 registered species hunters.
3352  species.
27 non recognized species.
20 hybrids.
424  fly caught.
647 species on target lists.
186 pictures of zwoonzels.