If you’ve ever mistaken one fish for another, you’re in good company. Plenty of local anglers have proudly brought a jack crevalle to the fillet table, thinking it’s a pompano. If you take a look online, you’ll see many gag misidentified as black grouper. I’ve seen charter captains — guys who spend 200-plus days a year on the water — disagree over how to tell a small kingfish from a big Spanish mackerel. If the professionals can’t tell, what chance have you got?
Fortunately, if you’re paying attention, there are always ways to tell similar species apart without resorting to DNA testing (actually, that’s not true — but it will do for our purposes. Knowing the identifying characteristics is the key. Let’s start with the easiest ones first. Stick with me, because there’s a lot to go through.
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