Weak fish get their name from the weak membranes in their mouths that are easily torn by hooks. These fish live along the east coast of the U.S. from Massachusetts down to Florida. They can be caught by jigging, trolling, surf casting, and chumming.


Region: Northeast, South
Habitat: Bay, Ocean

How to identify Weakfish

The weakfish looks similar to the spotted sea trout, except the weakfish has ctenoid scales on its dorsal and anal fins. These fish have a lower jaw that juts out from their upper jaw, where a pair of large canines sit. Some weakfish have a black margin on the tip of their tongue. They have several closely set black/green/bronze markings that run along their sides forming a wavelike pattern. They have no markings on their tails and second dorsal fins.

Where to catch Weakfish

These fish are found in the Atlantic with isolated populations in Nova Scotia, Massachusetts and down to Florida. In the summer, abundant concentrations can be found from New York to Delaware and in the winter from Florida to North Carolina. These fish school in winter in waters up to 330 feet deep and in summer they head inshore and gather near saltwater surfs, bays, and estuaries with sandy bottoms. Most weakfish are caught within 10 miles of the shoreline.

Range: Northeast, South
Weakfish Fishing Map

The following are habitats where you can catch Weakfish:

How to catch Weakfish

Weakfish get their name because hooks tear right through the membrane of their mouths. The best methods for catching this fish are trolling, surf-fishing, and jigging. Other effective methods include drifting or anchoring while chumming. Anglers use fly and spinning tackle when targeting weakfish. Those who don’t have a boat can catch them from piers, docks, and bridges. When they strike on light tackle, they will run long while jutting in random directions. For this reason, they are considered to be a good game fish.

The following are effective fishing methods and techniques for catching Weakfish:

Best Lures, Bait & Tackle to catch Weakfish

Weakfish respond well to baits, such as crustaceans, herring, menhaden, killifish, silversides, butterfish, squid strips and pieces of peeler crab. They can also be caught with flies and spinning lures. An effective artificial lure setup for catching weakfish is a bucktail tipped with a soft plastic worm.

The following are fishing lures, bait and tackle that can be used to catch Weakfish: