Species: Embiotoca jacksoni; from the Greek word embiotoca (bringing forth living young), and jacksoni (in honor of A. C. Jackson of San Francisco, who first noted that these perch give birth to living young and brought it to the attention of Alexander Agassiz who described the species.
Alternate Names: Buttermouth perch, blackperch or bay perch. Often called pogie by anglers in the Bay Area.
Identification: Typical perch shape. Although variable, their coloring is usually black or brown to reddish, and yellowish on the belly. They have dark vertical bars on the side and are especially identified by a large patch of enlarged scales between the pectoral and pelvic fins.
Size: To 15.4 inches; most caught from piers are under a foot.
Range: From Point Abreojos, Baja California, and offshore Gudalupe Island, to Fort Bragg.
Habitat: Most common in eelgrass beds of bays and rocky-shore areas; both in bays and along the coast.
Piers: Common at most piers north to Bodega Bay. Generally caught at bay piers or inshore piling areas of oceanfront piers. Best bets: Embarcadero "Marina" Park Pier, Shelter Island Pier, Oceanside Harbor Pier, Dana Harbor Pier, Redondo Harbor Sportfishing Pier, Cabrillo Pier (jetty side), Paradise Cove Pier, Gaviota Pier, Cayucos Pier, Seacliff State Beach Pier, Santa Cruz Wharf, San Francisco Municipal Pier, Berkeley Pier, Point Pinole Pier, Elephant Rock Pier, Sausalito Pier, Angel Island Pier, and Fort Baker Pier.
Bait and Tackle: Prefers fresh mussels, bloodworms, pile worms, small pieces of shrimp or small rock crabs. Size 8 or 6 hooks fished on the bottom with a high/low leader seem to work best.
Food Value: In the past this was considered a fairly good, mild-flavored fish. Today, because of our polluted waters, they are considered unfit to eat in some locales.