Courtesy of Don Flescher
This species inhabits coastal and offshore waters of the Atlantic ranging from Cape Cod, Massachusetts to Florida. Northward seasonal migrations to spawning and feeding areas occur along the coast during the spring followed by southward migrations in the fall to overwinter in warmer waters. Spawning occurs primarily from March through October (peaking in late April to June) between North Carolina and Montauk, New York, but has also been documented as far south as Georgia. The seasonal migration patterns of adults finds them in a wide range of habitat, including bays and estuaries to off-shore oceanic waters. Juvenile weakfish are most often found in rivers, bays and estuaries. Most males and females are sexually mature by the end of their second summer (age 1+) and practically all are mature by the end of their third (age 2+). Weakfish have a lifespan of approximately 12 years, but may live as long as 17 years.The weakfish, as well as other members of the family Sciaenidae, produce sound through the use of the sonic muscle – swim bladder mechanism. The sonic muscles of the weakfish are present only in the males and run the length of the body cavity in close association with, but not directly attached to, the swim bladder. Contraction and relaxation of the sonic muscles cause rapid movements of the swimbladder resulting in sound production. Sounds produced by the male weakfish are used to court females for spawning.