by: Pero Ugarkovic
For many people common dentex (Dentex dentex) is the most valuable specie of fish that can be caught in Mediterranean Sea. Although its delicious, dentex is not considered to be the tastiest but still as a phenomena he gets more honor that all other, even tastiest fishes. The name dentex comes from his large predatory teeths.
Description: Body oval, compressed with large scales. It has a massive head and cheeks with squamous operculum. The mouth well cracked and armed solely with canines. Color reflexes silver with gray green, pink, gold or blue, and dark spots when live.
Habitat: Lives In all Mediterranean waters as well on eastern Atlantic. It founds a territory and lives in groups on rocky seabed and open sea rocks. The most suitable places are slowly descending rocky bottom. When feeding or investigating it can move off from group and live solitary for a while. Its main feeding tactic is lurking and launches speed attack to other fish or cephalopods. When young it can prey not only small fish but invertebrates such as worms and mollusks as well. Color of skin is best blended to its surroundings on dusk or dawn when dentex seems to have much more feeding activities. Depending on time of year or location it can occur on depths up to 200 meters.
Life: Unlike other sparidae species dentex genre is not hemafrodite, although some rare individuals still have two sexes most of them are males or females. When the temperature start to rise in early spring their reproductive instinct starts operating. Young dentex grow slow and live mostly on large posidonia beds. It needs 3-4 years for dentex to attain around 1 kg weight. By then it is reproductively capable and joins mature schools on rocks. In warmer time of year dentex can even be found on shallow water, and as the sea cools it migrates deeper. In winter average depth of dentex schools is around 35-50 meters. It can reach more than 15 kg.
Fishing methods: Dentex is one of the most difficult catches for beginner spearo because it needs experience skills and good deep apnea. More experience spearo that has been studied dentex can catch it more easily but still that dives can be exhausting and even dangerous. Dentex are mainly caught by aspettos near termocline, schools are located and starts moving slowly toward us but hesitating a lot. In some situations if we find the right spot we can achieve quick catch not only by aspetto but even while falling. On some places where the temperature is really low dentex knows to get into cave and partly hibernate inside, so that type of hunting can also give good results.
Ethical notes:Considering lots of factors like maturity, size, slow growth etc. its best to shoot dentex larger than 1 kg. Because they are shy and live deeper they are not in anyway endangered by spearos.
Current medfish member record: Marko Čurin, Unije Croatia, 10.53 kg