Cape Girardeau, Mo. – While bowfishing Saturday with friends, Sikeston resident David Warren ended up with an uncommon fish he shot in the diversion channel near Cape Girardeau.
“I’d never seen this kind of fish before,” Warren said. “Its fins were placed differently than anything I’d seen and its eyes were different, too.”
Dave Knuth, a Fisheries Management Biologist with the Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC), identified the fish as a striped mullet. Mullets are a wide ranging family of about 70 fish species that occur mostly in tropical and sub-tropical oceans. Knuth told Warren he’d seen the fish before, but only one other time.
“We sometimes get ocean fish that come up the Mississippi River from the Gulf of Mexico,” Knuth said. “That’s what makes fishing in the river and its tributaries so much fun; you never know what you’ll see.”
A striped mullet is a silvery, moderately stout fish with two widely separate dorsal fins, large eyes and a short, broad snout. Adults are commonly 12 to 24 inches in length according to the MDC’s reference, The Fishes of Missouri, by William L. Pflieger.
Mullets had not been recorded as north as Missouri until 1983, according to Pflieger. For more information about fishing in Missouri’s waters, go online to mdc.mo.gov.