Pacific Porgy, Calamus brachysomus
The Pacific Porgy, Calamus brachysomus, whose common Spanish name is Pluma Marotilla and local name is Mojarra is a member of the Porgy or Sparidae Family, known collectively as “Plumas” in Mexico.
The Pacific Porgy is characterized by the distinct, steep straight profile of its large forehead, large silvery lips, long broad snout, and a deep compressed body. It is silvery brown, with irregular brown blotches with five obscure bars on its sides (which are highly visible upon collection but fade quickly). They are reported to have a barred or blotched color pattern when hiding which fades when they swim into the open. The mouth is small with the lower jaw having two rows of conical enlarged teeth, canines at the front and molar like in the rear. The anal fin has three spines and ten rays, the caudal fin is forked, the dorsal fin is low with 12 or 13 spines and 11 to 13 spines with the third and fourth being the longest, and the pectoral fins are long with 13 to 16 rays and a black axil reaching past the anal fin origin. The body is covered with smooth scales.
Pacific Porgy are found in clear water adjacent to coral and rocky reefs relatively close to shore at depths up to 260 feet. They reach a maximum length of 61 cm (24.0 inches). The Pacific Porgy has a wide distribution being found in all coastal Mexican waters of the Pacific.
The Pacific Porgy is an easy fish to identify and cannot be easily confused with any other species.
The Pacific Porgy is fairly abundant at certain times of the year and can be caught out of 100-foot water on traditional bottom rigs utilizing cut squid or small chunks of fish. Initially they are very strong foes but normally “give up” at about the 50-foot depth level. They are an excellent food fish and one of the very best the Sea of Cortez has to offer. As pictured below, however, about 10% of the population contains a small granular unknown parasite within the meat and care must to taken to avoid the consumption of this meat and we recommend that this meat be discarded. This parasite has a local name of Trichina and is also found in larger Pacific Sierra.