Saddled Seabream - Oblada Melanura
Latin: Oblada Melanura
English: Saddled Seabream
French: Oblade Commun
Croatian: Ušata, oćada, crnorep
About: Saddled Seabream is fish from Sparidae family. It is quite common small school fish in the Mediterranean Sea and some parts of Atlantic Ocean (like Bay of Biscay, Madeira, Cape Verde, Canary Islands and from Strait of Gibraltar to Angola).
It has a oval shaped silverish body, with a black and white saddle near the tail. The maximum length is around 30 centimeters (12 inches) and weight 0.6 kg (1.3 pounds). Average specimen is around 0.1 kg (0.22 pounds). Mouth is relatively small, with lower jaw being little bit in front of the upper jaw.
Spawning occurs in June and July.
Habitat: Saddled Seabream can be found over various seagrass and rocky bottoms between 0 and 70m, but it is much more common between 5 and 20m. Very often it can be found right under the sea surface, lurking for small fish like small smelts, small mullets and similar.
Fishing period: In recreational fishing, it can be caught year long, but much better during warmer months. It will bite day or night, but much better during night - very wary fish during daylight.
Saddled Seabream - Oblada Melanura - on the fish market.
Photo by N.M.
Fishing rigs and tackle: Smaller specimens are often caught on rigs with floats used for mullets with baits like bread, bread/flour paste or fish guts.
Larger specimens are often hooked during trolling for Garfish or Sea Bass or similar species - although it is relatively small fish, when feeding, it can be very aggressive toward potential prey.
Also, it can be caught on small handline/rod rig near the bottom using various baits like live prawns, worms, fish meat etc. It is very often caught by fish traps baited with bread, mussels, sardines and similar. On the other hand, it is quite common to catch Sea Eal (Conger Conger) in fish trap and later to found 'freshly' eaten Saddled Seabream :)
Hint: When fishing for Sea Eals (Conger Conger), for example, using long lines, live Saddled Seabream is one of the best baits - also don't be surprised to hook Common Dentex (Dentex Dentex) on such rigs :o)
Cuisine: Meat is white, tender, soft and very tasty. Depending on the size, it can be grilled, fried, cooked ... Just add some olive oil, few drops of lemon, parsley/celery and garlic and enjoy your meal.
Due to low amount of fats, tender, protein rich flesh, boiled Saddled Seabream (and similar species) is highly recommended meal for people on Mediterranean Diet and anybody wanting an easy to digest, healthy meal.
Photo: Boiled Saddled Seabream with olive oil, parsley, garlic, lemon ... Delicacy! :)