- 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.
Small fish that are eaten by many predators, pinfish are commonly used as baitfish by anglers. They have a compressed body that is very similar in shape to freshwater sunfish such as bluegill and pumpkinseed. Coloration is silvery or silver-blue overall with blue and yellow horizontal stripes across the side. All the fins are yellowish. Pinfish have a long dorsal fin that has many sharp points, from which the species get their name. The head and mouth are small and they have incisor-like teeth with deeply notched edges. The tail is moderately forked.
Pinfish are omnivorous, feeding on minnows, crustaceans, worms and mollusks as well as seaweed and organic debris. They are aggressive nibblers, a fact that makes them a nuisance for many fishermen.
These fish are found in the western Atlantic from Massachusetts to Yucatan, Mexico. Pinfish occur in the waters of Bermuda, the Florida Keys, the northern part of the Gulf of Mexico and on the northern coast of Cuba, but absent from the rest of the Antilles and the Bahamas.
Pinfish are a highly schooling fish that have been observed grouping by the thousands. They are mainly an inshore species commonly found in grass flats and around piers, jetties and wharfs. Adults inhabit deeper waters than young pinfish, inhabiting depths from 40 to 180 feet in bays, passes and over reefs, while young often stay in the more shallow water of estuaries. Pinfish are associated with vegetated bottoms, but can on occasion be found over rocky bottoms. They are adaptable concerning salinity levels, allowing them to occupy brackish and even fresh water at times.
- Because of the combination of their metallic silver colors and immense schooling sizes, on a sunny day, a body of water filled with pinfish shimmers in every direction.
- Pinfish are hardy fish that will outlast almost all other baitfish stored in a livewell.