Spot Fish Information
This page introduces the reader to a popular saltwater pan fish, called Norfolk spot or simply "spot".
Spot occur along the Atlantic coast in estuarine and coastal waters from the Gulf of Maine to Florida, although they are most abundant from Chesapeake Bay south to South Carolina.
In summer, anglers often catch spot in great numbers while fishing from piers, jetties and the surf. As the season goes on larger spot sometimes arrive. These jumbo spot are known for their bronze or yellow coloring.
How to Catch Spot
Spot are fun to catch and a great fish for anglers of all ages. Anglers use standard 2 hook rigs, using small hooks and small pieces of bait.
Popular baits include bloodworms, shrimp, clam and a synthetic product called "Fish Bites" that works very well.
Spot are also caught, sometimes in large numbers by anglers fishing in the surf. Baits include small pieces of bloodworms, squid, crab or artificial bait strips.
Larger fish for the table are best caught with the standard 2 hook rig, but sometimes fishermen in need of bait also use a sabiki rig to catch large numbers of small spot. The rig has multiple hooks, adorned to resemble small shrimp. Most anglers will tip the hooks with tiny bits of bloodworm, although the sabiki rigs will catch fish even unbaited. Sabiki rigs seem to work best if slowly jigged near fishing piers or other pilings.
When catching spot for live baits, anglers sometimes also use small mesh cast nets that are 6-12 feet in diameter with 1 to 1 1/2 lbs of lead per foot.
When to Catch Spot on Virginia Fishing Piers
Late summer and early fall is prime time for catching big spot from Virginia fishing piers. As summer heats up, spot school up and are caught in ever increasing numbers on most of Virginia's piers.
This fishing is easy and new comers will find spot to be rewarding fish to go after. Anglers need only a sensitive rod and reel in good condition, bottom rigs and baits such as bloodworms, squid strips, pieces of shrimp, cut peeler crab or any of the bait products such as fish bites.
By late July and early August, piers such as the Virginia Beach pier and the Seagull pier sometimes experience unbelievable catches of spot. As the season goes on, a larger class of spot arrive, known for their bronze or yellow coloring. Mixed in with the spot-croaker runs are Spanish mackeral, bluefish, pompano, pigfish and other species.
Spot fishing often gets better and better thru September. Many anglers prefer the fall as the summer crowds have left and the temperatures are cooler. During the fall runs, spot are joined by croaker, bluefish, sea trout, rockfish and others.
How To Clean and Cook Spot
Spot Fish Recipes - How to Clean Spot
How to Clean Spot Fish
Scale the fish with a manual or electric fish scaler. While holding the fish with one hand, use the tool to remove all scales. You must run the scaler from tail to head in order to get the scales off. The skin should be smooth when all scales are gone. Rinse well.
To clean spot whole:
Cut the fish's head off. make the cut at the back of the fish's gills. Cut through at this point.
Cut from the belly back to the vent, avoiding all organs. Remove all organs, saving the fish roe if any is found.
Cut off the tail and fins.
To fillet jumbo spot:
Cut behind the gill, from back down to flank.
Holding the fish firmly, slice forward from the tail fin to the vent (about 1-2 inches), making a clean cut down to the bone.
Working from the top, slice along the skeleton, connecting from head to tail. Follow downward, cutting the meat away from the ribs.
Rinse the fish and place on ice immediately.
Pan Fried Spot
8-12 fillets or 4-6 whole fish
1 large egg, beaten
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup flour
1/2 cup cooking oil
salt and pepper to taste
1. Rinse and drain fillets or whole spot.
2. Soak fish in a mixture of egg and milk.
3. Using a zipper bag, shake in flour, salt and pepper.
4. Fry in oil until golden brown. Drain on paper towels. Serve immediately.