Atlantic spadefish

The Atlantic Spadefish (Chaetodipterus faber) is a marine species in the western Atlantic that belongs to the family of Ephippidae, including Spadefish and batfish.

The Atlantic Spadefish can grow to an average size of 20 pounds and 36 inches in length and have an average lifespan of 10 years. They are typically found off the shore of the southeas


  • Compressed disk-shaped silver-colored body with 4 to 6 vertical black bars that may disappear gradually with age
  • Pointed nose and concave-shaped tail
  • First and second soft and spiny dorsal fins are nearly separated.
  • The second dorsal fins and anal fins elongate into filaments creating an edge and giving the appearance of an angel.
  • Dorsal and anal fins conspicuously flank the solid caudal fin. The overall body structure resembles the spade as seen in a standard deck of playing cards; hence, the name Spadefish.
  • Small mouth and teeth (no set of teeth on the roof of its mouth)
  • Ctenoid scales cover its head and fins.

Habitat and Lifestyle

Atlantic Spadefish inhabits tropical and sub-tropical brackish waters. They are inshore in summer and move offshore in temperate environments during winter.

Adults generally inhabit inshore, offshore, and nearshore near wrecks, reefs, and piles, while juveniles occupy estuaries until adulthood.

Atlantic Spadefish feed mainly on small invertebrates, including annelids, mollusks, cnidarians, crustaceans, and other marine creatures like jellyfish and algae. They also feed on baby shrimps, crabs, and sponges.

Finding and Catching

This fish can be caught from an inflatable boat or kayak.

The Atlantic Spadefish is commonly found in shallow waters near underwater structures. Adults can be seen inshore in deep waters around wrecks and reefs, while the young ones are located off the shore near debris and piers accessible from the beach.

You can catch the Atlantic Spadefish from the shore or a boat. To get a good quantity of catch, you possibly need an inflatable boat/ rigid boat to get you in the direction of this school of fish. Look for underwater wrecks or reefs to up your chances of catching this fish and cast your lines.

Search for piers off the shoreline at different depths for the young ones if you’re fishing from the shore.

Peak Season

May to September

Best Bait

  • Saltwater bait
  • Jellyfish
  • Crabs
  • Clams
  • Shrimps
  • Flies
  • Squids