Latin: Dentex Dentex
English: Common Dentex
German: Die Zahnbrasse
French: Le Denti, Denté Commun
Spanish: El Dentón Común
Croatian: Zubatac, Zubatak, Zubatić
About: Common Dentex is a fish of Sparidae family. It has strong, robust body, with slightly flattened sides. Tail fin is strong and well built - sign of a good swimmer and deadly predator.
Jaws are strong with four big teeth (canines) used for killing it's prey - in many languages and cultures, fish is named after these teeth. It is an active predator, feeding on other fish, molluscs, cephalopods etc.
Warning - when caught, live Common Dentex can bite someone or something even on the boat or on the shore. But don't worry too much, under water, it avoids people as much as it can.
Maximum recorded (more or less verified) length is around 1m and maximum weight around 16kg. There are some stories about Common Dentex with length of ~1.60m and weight of ~40kg, but those are not verified.
Back is blue-gray-reddish, with transition to silver-reddish color toward stomach. Frontal area of the head is somewhat darker.
On average, it has around 1kg.
Adults live solitary and gather in small groups only during spawning season. It spawns in late Spring and early Summer, but this is somewhat location dependent.
Habitat: It is commonly found in the Mediterranean Sea, but is also present in the Eastern Atlantic Ocean on rocky or sandy, gently sloped bottoms covered with some vegetation where it can find prey.
It ranges from shallows to the depths up to 200m, but it is most common between 5 and 50m. Often, it can be found several meters above seabed - especially during spawning season, when in groups gathers in shallower waters.
Fishing period: All year long, especially during Summer and Autumn. It is very prized game fish, but in many countries, it must be released during spawning season, regardless of it's size. Best results are achieved early in the morning or late in the afternoon till early dark.
Common Dentex in its natural habitat - speargun anyone? :)
Photo with permission by Miro Andric, Hrvatsko Podmorje - Croatia's Undersea World
Fishing rigs and tackle: Fishing tackle must be properly sized - this is very strong fish and great fighter.
It can be caught on longline, in traps and in nets. Recreational fishermen should use strong rods and reels and fish on the bottom (or just above it) from boats and/or from shores, or it can be caught during trolling.
For trolling use lures that mimic sardines, mullets, squids or garfish. But, nothing beats live bait when trolling for Common Dentex - if possible, use live garfish, then squids and then mullets and other small fishes.
Also, when trolling from shore using live prawns as bait, it is often caught during summer when it comes closer to the shore.
For any spearfishermen, Common Dentex is great prize fish since it avoids people and have very good memory (believe or not) - in the areas where divers are rare, it quickly 'learns' to avoid them - been there, seen that :o)
Depending on trolling location, generally one can catch near the coast fishes like European Sea Bass, then somewhat further fishes like Common Dentex and then away from coast, fishes like Amber Jacks and similar. This, of course, depends on location, bottom configuration, period of year, day, weather etc.
Cuisine: Common Dentex is often referred as Tsar fish - it is great game fish with fantastic taste and aroma. It is delicacy regardless of the way it is prepared - but, it is best barbequed with some olive oil, lemon, garlic, parsley and celery and in fish stew with other fish.