- Although the flesh of the almaco jack is considered quality table fare, the species has been associated with ciguatera poisoning, a seldom fatal stomach irritation.
- The almaco jack is susceptible to tapeworm parasites in the caudal peduncle area, but the meat can be eaten safely if affected portions are cut away.
The weakfish is a streamlined fish with a shape similar to seatrout and freshwater trout, even though it technically is a member of the drum family (as are seatrout). It has a dark olive to greenish-blue coloration on its back with its sides covered in shades of pale blue, purple, lavender, gold and copper. From the varied colors on the sides, the weakfish turns to a silvery white underneath. Like the spotted seatrout, the top of the weakfish is covered in black spots, which may form into a pattern of wavy diagonal lines. The lower jaw of the weakfish extends past the upper jaw, which has one or two visible canine teeth. Its mouth is yellow on the inside and sports a tongue with a black margin on the tip. The weakfish spot pattern distinguishes it from the spotted seatrout, because the weakfish's spots do not appear on the tail or second dorsal fins.
Weakfish are omnivorous and feed on shrimp and other crustaceans, crabs, mollusks and small baitfish. Due to their diverse diet, weakfish can adapt to the available food conditions and will forage at different water levels, going deep if necessary.
Although located mainly in the western Atlantic from Massachusetts to Florida, the weakfish are also seen, upon occasion, as far north as Nova Scotia. They are more abundant from North Carolina to Florida in colder months and Delaware to New York as temperatures rise. This led to one of its common names, summer trout, because anglers in the populated Northeast would only catch them during the summer months.
Found in loose schools, primarily inshore, weakfish prefer sandy or grassy bottoms along the surf and in bays, estuaries, inlets and lagoons. In colder months, weakfish may move offshore to depths up to 300 feet. But overall, weakfish tend to move wherever their ideal temperature range and habitat meet.
- The name weakfish derives from the fish's tender mouth that allows hooks to be easily ripped away from it.
- The white meat of the weakfish is considered to be very delicious and is fished commercially as well as for sport.