Game Fish Identification Reference Guides

(Dentex dentex)
(Linnaeus, 1758); SPARIDAE FAMILY; also called dentice, denton, or dente)
Occurs in the Mediterranean and Atlantic Ocean from the Bay of Biscay to West Africa north off Cape Blanc and Madeira. Occasionally, dentex are found as far north as the British Isles and as far south as Senegal.
While inhabiting hard bottoms (rock or rubble) down to 200 m (656 ft), dentex are more commonly found between 15 and 50 m (50 and 165 ft). Adults are generally solitary, the young gregarious. They are active predatory fish that feed on fish, mollusks, and cephalopods (octopus, cuttlefish, and squid). In the summer they approach the shore, but in winter migrate to deeper water.
The dentex have oval shaped rather deep bodies with a massive, smoothly rounded head in adults. Very large individuals have a profile with a slight frontal hump. Both jaws have well-developed canine like teeth plus several rows of smaller teeth of similar shape. The dorsal fin has 11 spines and 11 or 12 soft rays, the spines increasing in length from the first to the fourth or fifth then subequal. The lateral line has 62 68 scales. Color is variable but young dentex are grayish, spotted with black on the back and upper sides, becoming pinkish with sexual maturity. Older individuals are bluish gray with spots becoming more or less diffuse with age. Some have a yellow tinge behind the mouth and on the gill cover.
They can be distinguished from other similar species by the dark spots, which are always present and the several rows of canine like teeth. Other species have more than one type of teeth or incisor like teeth.
Fishing methods include trolling with dead bait, live bait like mackerel, garfish, boga and squid or artificials such as rapalas in 10 to 50 m (33 to 165 ft). Bottom fishing in deeper waters with both live and dead bait such as anchovies, sardines, octopus or squid is also productive. They are very clever fish, needing small hooks and light leaders. A very popular game fish and esteemed table fish, they reportedly reach a weight of around 15 kg (33 lb)

Current All Tackle Record

31 lbs 6oz ( 14.25 kg)

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