Weakfish (Cynoscion regalis)

Weakfish (Cynoscion regalis)

Weakfish,Gray Trout, Yellowfin Trout, Squeteague, Tiderunner delaware state fish, sea trout,

Also known as … Gray Trout, Yellowfin Trout, Squeteague, Tiderunner

Description …

Weakfish are Delaware’s state fish (July 7, 1981 ) and back in the day were very abundant.  They are a member of the drum family, Sciaenidae.  Their names come from their weak mouths when fishing for them the hooks can easily tear free and the fish escapes.  Only recently have they started to make a comeback in Delaware having all but disappeared in the larger sizes for decades.  They were known then to reach weights averaging fifteen pounds and reach sizes to three feet in length.  Small one to two year weakfish are known as spike trout.  They have a silvery body as well as the sides, and with a darker olive shading on the top.  The back and sides have numerous dark blotches that appear to align forming wavy lines.  Their fins are a solid dusky color with a yellowish margin.  They are long and slender in shape, like most traditional trout shapes, however they are not a trout.  They have two large canine teeth on the upper jaw that are very prominent.  They are good to eat and a lot of fun to catch.  Weakfish are prolific spawners ((90% by age 1, 100% by age 2) and begin spawning in the first year (6 1/2 inches) and spawn almost daily for months. 

trout, sea trout in delaware, Cynoscion regalis, dsf, delaware surf fishing,, weakfish, broadkill beach, Gray Trout, Yellowfin Trout, Squeteague, Tiderunner
Shawn S. with 6lb Sea Trout …

They live all along the east coast and are known to eat crustaceans and small fish.  They can be caught on spoons, chunk bait, small plugs, swim shads and other soft plastics such as jig heads with electric chicken soft plastics.  They are great to eat but do not freeze well and make a better fresh fish meal so to speak.  Weakfish will run with the tides, hence the name tide runners, and will crash the waters much like a striped bass or bluefish blitz.  You can hear them coming especially at night.  They are fun to catch and as long as you have the drag set a little lower you will not rip the hook out of its mouth.  Adults migrate north and south, onshore to offshore seasonally up and down the Atlantic coast.  When the coastal waters in the spring warm up it triggers the migration from the wintering grounds to inshore bays, sounds, and estuaries.  They live in schools when migrating from these wintering grounds located on the continental shelf from the Chesapeake bay to Cape Lookout, NC.  Some fish will take up residency inshore in North Carolina and further south.

Delaware Creel limit …


All year

13 inches


Kevin Golden Jr catching weakfish at Broadkill Beach










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