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Family Clupeidae, HERRINGS
Description: color of back green or greenish blue with silvery sides, white underneath (colors darken when fish enters fresh water to spawn); belly with scutes forming distinct keel; one or more dark spots in a row behind operculum; lower jaw with pointed tip that fits into v-shaped notch in upper jaw.
Similar Fish: other species of Alosa (shad and herring) and Brevoortia (menhaden). Menhaden, which are often referred to as "shad," have a rounder lower jaw tip. American shad is an east coast species replaced on the Panhandle coast by Alabama shad.
Where found: OFFSHORE except during late winter spawning run into east coast rivers, notably the St. Johns River.
Size: most catches 2 to 3 pounds; common to 5 pounds.