OK, the Names of Fish Can Be Unsexy

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OK, the Names of Fish Can Be Unsexy

By Kelly Dean

If you cater to the tourist crowd, you want to put your best foot forward – and you don’t want that foot in your mouth. Such is the case with naming things in Florida. People, who want other people to visit or move to Florida, use names referencing the sun, the ocean breeze, the wildlife and so on. They also reference Native American names due to their uniqueness and history.

But when it comes to fish names, it’s hard to shake the old names old fishermen have been calling them for years and it’s hard to shake the regional-ness as well. Here are a few:


Redfish are often call red drum or just “reds,” but you seldom see it printed this way in brochures. Reds are a staple of inshore fishing and most fishermen are pleased to catch them, unless they are going for …


Who thought of this name? This prized fish has a following but its name sounds like something you might find in your nose.


Is this fish named because it hangs out with other fish of the same species? I think not. In fact, the prized goliath grouper is quite solitary. If it hung out in groups so well, it might be easier to catch. We won’t discuss the gag grouper, for Pete’s sake, this fish needs a publicist.


I actually like this name, but I don’t know how it applies to anything. Certainly, I wish it snapped up my bait more frequently, but it must really reference it being a “snappy dresser” as it’s a very nice looking fish, indeed.


Talk about a bad name. This fish is quite cool-looking. Who named it and why? Never mind, every time you ask such a question you get 50 different answers … all guesses.

Red Porgy

Sounds like the name of a 40s jazz musician.


This is an appropriately named fish as I often scream its very name when I catch it, “Wa-hoo!” Earnest Hemingway must have named this fish.


This fish made so many restaurant visitors upset they had to adopt “mahi-mahi” to avoid, “Oh, my. We’re not eating those sweet dolphins are we?”


I’m sorry. I never got the name. We raised a lamb on our farm as a kid, named Burt Lambcaster, and he did not look like this. I know, sheepshead can smile at you (and it can hurt when they do), but Lambcaster never smiled, not even when he was tickled.


Obviously, this fish is named because everything in Florida requires you to buy a permit of some kind. It looks like a silver dollar too.


This is an appropriate name for this unsexy fish but does not describe how great it tastes. Maybe it tries to avoid this subject. I would.


This “I-can’t-believe-they-consider-me-just-baitfish” species has a bone to pick with humans. Not only is it a pejorative nickname for seasonal invaders, but it’s also a nickname for the GREATEST HAIRSTYLE OF ALL TIME. You know it. It’s not fair. Well, I think so. I looked great in it.

These are just a few of the unsexy names given to fish. Of course, if they all named themselves, they’d all be called “Elvis.”

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