Common Seabream: Characteristics, reproduction, habitat and more…

The common seabream, red porgy or Pagrus Pagrus in scientific terms, is a fish belonging to the Sparidae family. There are at least six known species of them.


This edible and delicious fish, inhabits the Atlantic from the British Islands to the south of Argentina, preferring the low and medium depth subtropical regions.


Phylum: Chordata  Class: Actinopterygii (ray-finned fish)  Order: Perciformes Family: Sparidae  Genus: Pagrus

The Common Seabream’s Main Characteristics

The Common Seabreams have an elongated, high-backed and laterally compressed body. Their color ranges from silver to pink, so their scaling can be easily recognized by the different brightness of their coloration. Moreover, they have two types of teeth: 4 Canines up and 6 down on the front, and three rows of larger molar teeth towards the inside of their mouth.

Their body has a single dorsal fin made up by 12 spins and 8 to 11 soft rays.  In addition, they have a bifurcated caudal fin; a small anal one proceeded by three spines and big pectoral fins long over the beginning of the anal fin. The ventral fins start below the pectoral ones and are shorter than them. In terms of size, the Pagrus Pagrus reaches 75 cm in length and weighs up to 17 kg.

Common Seabream’s Habitat and Distribution

They inhabit the coast on sandy and stony bottoms, at depths ranging from 20 to 40 meters. However, in winter they often move away to deeper waters.  As for as their distribution areas, it´s worth mentioning that the common seabreams are widely distributed in the Mediterranean and on the eastern and western shores of the Atlantic Ocean, as well as along the coasts of Buenos Aires, Argentina, between 10 and 50 meters deep.

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Common SeaBream Reproduction

Males of this species reach their sexual maturity when they measure around 20-30 cm in length. In the case of females, sexual maturity occurs when they reach 37 cm in lenght. Spawning occurs in different seasons of the year according to their location, although there are scientists who point out that they can also do it throughout the whole year.

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What Do Common Seabreams Eat?

Red Porgys are carnivorous fish, whose diet is based on shrimps , all kinds of crustaceans, crabs , barnacles, and fry, among others.

common seabream: different types of crabs

Fishing Common Seabream

Besides being a fish of high culinary value, the common seabream is also  highly valued in sport fishing. Depending on the area where they inhabit, they can also be known as Rubiel, Bocinegro or just sea breams. In addition they are highly valued in the worldwide gastronomy, since they have a very good taste and can be prepared in very different ways.

How to fish the Common Seabream?

In the first place depth is important, since the biggest specimens are commonly located between 80 and 500 meters depth.  However, you´ll need a very powerful fishing gear to reach them.  The most convenient time to search for them is during the counter- tide seasons’ sunsets, when their appetite forces them to look for food.

Fishing Rods

The Light or medium action fishing rods (15-30lb) are the best option for this practice preferably having a height between 1.60 and 1.70 meters long.  It´s also highly recommended that they be carbon- made for more resistance.

Fishing reels for Common seabreams jigging

You won´t need a very powerful or big fishing reel, unless you want to venture to a depth greater than 150-200 mts. However, it should be a model that is highly resistant to salinity and is fairly light weight.

Fishing Threads for Common Seabreams Jigging

The mother line must be thicker than 25 mm and must be highly abrasion resistant since they swim at high speeds.

Fishing Hooks

The Common Seabreams’ mouth is quite strong, so you’ll need a very resistant and sharp- edged hook, preferably chemically carbon-sharpened.  The size depends on the depth and the specimens; if not very deep, n ° 3 will work very well.


Now, let´s learn about the most important point for the common sea breams jigging: the lures.  Keep in mind that your chances can be very wide or very large depending on the experience you have in such a practice, as well as your budget to try different models. In short, you’ll need a realistic-look lure, which works well at low speed, and reaches a good depth quickly.

Discard Soft Jigs

Although at first glance they can look very natural and tempt the low speeded fish they aren´t suitable for depths. Their leaded-head is not heavy enough to sink quickly, and the vinyl tails are very resistant to water flows.

Short and striking tail hard lures are the best choice

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Other species of Seabreams

Red snapper or Pensacola red Snapper(Lutjanus Campechanus,)

The Red snapper has a somewhat elongated body with a base coloration between silver and pinkish. Its snout is a little pronounced, its lips prominent and its forehead inclined but of considerable height.

During adulthood they reach more than 60 cm in length, although specimens of up to 1 m have been reported. Their average weight oscillates around 60 kg and their life expectancy up to 57 years old. Juvenile specimens have brands that disappear as they reach adulthood.

Habitat and distribution

Lutjanus Campechanus is mainly distributed in the Gulf of Mexico, hence it´s also known as Mexican red snapper. It´s also present on the eastern coast of the United States, but in low proportions.

It´s common to find red snapper in coral reefs at depths ranging from 10 to 190 meters. The adult specimens frequent rocky areas, while the juveniles usually dwell on muddy or sandy and shallow areas. They tend to stay in groups.

Redbanded Seabream (Pagrus Auriga)

This species is also known as semolina snapper.  It´s similar to the common snapper, but with a more protruding head, and a slightly shorter and compressed body.  Moreover, they have 4 or 5 transverse bands, being the central one wider, and of different coloration according to the area and size of the specimen, but mainly red. In terms of diet, it´s based on mollusks, crustaceans and small fishes that they catch with their powerful incisors.

Bluespotted Seabream (Pagrus caeruleostictus).

This species is pink in color with vertical red stripes and scales and small eyes. It lives around 200 meters from the coast, feeding on crabs, crayfish  and other animals that they break employing their strong mouth.

Denton (Dentex Dentex) or Common dentex

They owe their name to their big teeth. The juvenile Common dentex have a greyish-green coloration, while the adult specimens have reddish- grey one with bright bluish spots and sometimes a dark to transverse stripe.

Moreover, they have a long and unique dorsal fin with thorny radii that they can fold and hide into a furrow. This species has four strong fangs that they employ to catch their prey.

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The Cymothoa Exigua: What is it?

This is a very small parasite with a rather strange appearance and ease to adhere to the fish tongue (especially in the red Snapper Fish), specifically in the gills. The Cymothoa Exigua clings to them employing its hook-like tweezers, resting on its three pairs of legs, to be able to suck blood from the fish tongue’s main artery.

As the parasite grows, the fish’s tongue  atrophies by lack of blood, the parasite being who replaces it with its own body. Then the fish employs the parasite as if it was its own tongue, but both of them must share food.

It´s thought that the red snapper’s type of meat and flavor, are the reasons that lead Cymothoa Exigua to attack them. Another cause could be the rocky bottoms and the reefs where snappers commonly inhabit, In the Gulf of Mexico and California.

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