Fishing charters around Mosquito Lagoon explain the types of fins commonly found on a fish and their function

Fins are by far the most readily identifiable part of a fish’s body. If you were shown a fin and nothing else, chances are you will know that you’re looking at one of a fish’s most valuable body parts.

While fins are easily recognizable, their function for the fish is not that well known even among the most experienced anglers.

As we’ll show below though, taking the fins off of a fish would be like taking the nose off of a bloodhound – they just won’t be the same. The fish’s fins serve a vital purpose for helping it move, navigate, stop or remain stationary. They can still swim without them, but the fins help the fish maintain stability and direction.

Fins on a fish are either single (stand-alone) or paired, meaning there are 2 separate fins that are on each side of the fish’s body – like a mirror. The single fins are generally found along the fish’s centerline while the paired ones are found in the chest and pelvic areas.

Unlike a human’s appendages, a fish’s fins are not connected to any bones. Some fins like a front dorsal will have spines that feel like bones though.

We invite you to continue reading to learn more about the different fins generally found on fish in Mosquito Lagoon and other bodies of water. These fins are placed in order from front to back.

  • Dorsal fin(s) – Located on the fish’s back, this fin is one of the most noticeable, especially if a fish is swimming in really shallow water. The dorsal fin helps the fish stay upright and helps control the direction it is swimming. The dorsal fin can be compared to the keel of a ship. Some fish though use their dorsal fin(s) for additional purpose. For example, some species will use the dorsal fin for propulsion while others have pointy spines that help protect the fish from predators.
  • Pectoral fins – These paired fins are located toward the front of the fish just below its shoulder and behind the gills. Generally speaking, the pectoral fins help the fish steer and maintain balance. In some species though, the pectoral fins also help fish either maintain their depth or even fly out of the water. If you spot a Mullet jumping out of the water for example, he’s using his pectoral fins.
  • Pelvic fins – Moving back to the fish’s belly, we find their pelvic or ventral fins, which are another type of “paired” fin. Some species like a Cod will have their pelvic fins in front of their pectoral fins, but this is the exception rather than the rule. The pelvic or ventral fins also play a vital role in helping the fish stop, go up and down or turn sharply.
  • Anal fin – This fin is also located on the underside of a fish between its anus and tail and is a stand-alone fin. The anal fin serves a similar function to the dorsal fin(s) in that it helps the fish maintain its upright position and not roll over onto its side.
  • Caudal (tail) fin – Arriving at the back of the fish, we encounter the caudal or tail fin, which is also the largest and most powerful of all of the fins on a fish’s body. It’s also the only fin that actually moves, which makes sense considering the tail fin is actually what propels the fish through the water. Tail fins can come in a variety of shapes, including rounded, truncated, forked, emarginated and lunate.
Mosquito Lagoon fishing - fins diagram
Image courtesy of Florida Sportsman Magazine

Knowing all of these fins isn’t necessary for you to have a successful day aboard fishing charters in Mosquito Lagoon and throughout Florida. However, it can be interesting to identify the type of tail fin a fish has or understand how the fins help a Mullet jump out of the water.

Captain Mark Wright has been fishing the waters of Mosquito Lagoon both recreationally and as a charter captain for many years. He has an extensive understanding of the fish inhabiting the area, including how they use their fins. Click here to learn more about Mosquito Lagoon fishing charters or to schedule your trip today!

Featured image courtesy of W.A. Djatmiko via Wikipedia