Paperback / softback
March 1, 2011
8.50 Inches (US)
5.50 Inches (US)
1.35 Inches (US)
1.75 Pounds (US)
$27.00 USD, £20.00 GBP
v2.1 Reference

A Field Guide to Coastal Fishes

From Maine to Texas

A Field Guide to Coastal Fishes is a comprehensive, current, and accurate identification guide to the more than 1,000 nearshore and offshore fishes that live in brackish and marine waters from Maine to Texas.

Val Kells and Kent Carpenter bring decades of experience to this project. With Kells' detailed, vivid illustrations and Carpenter's deep knowledge of biology, taxonomy, and nomenclature, this book captures the stunning diversity of species along America's eastern shores. Key features of the book include:

• more than 1,000 full-color illustrations, set side-by-side with descriptions of each fish
• details about the biology of each species
• habitat, distribution, and size information

Reliable and up-to-date, A Field Guide to Coastal Fishes is the most complete book ever published on East and Gulf Coast fishes—perfect for boat, home, or classroom. Its beautiful design and accessible format make it an ideal guide for fishermen, divers, students, scientists, naturalists, and fish enthusiasts alike.

About the Authors

Val Kells is a marine science illustrator whose clients include publishers, designers, museums, nature centers, and aquariums. Her work has appeared in over 30 public aquariums and museums and numerous publications. Kent Carpenter is a professor in the Department of Biological Sciences at Old Dominion University. He is author and editor of numerous publications, including the multivolume FAO Species Identification Guide for Fishery Purposes.


"I was surprised to discover just how comprehensive and well-illustrated this book is. Good field guides don’t come along too often... But this one covers well over 1,000 species and includes everything you’re likely to encounter from the coastal bays out to 200 meter (660 foot) deep waters. Flip through, and you’ll discover species you didn’t imagine existed (the Atlantic Spiney Lumpfish? The Freckled Driftfish?) as well as the ones you know and love... to catch!"

- Lenny Rudow - Boater Mouth

"This book is a wonderful identification guide... It will make an excellent addition to any tying library both for its detailed baitfish illustrations as well as a tool for catch identification and research."

- Stuart Patterson - Florida Fly Fishing Magazine

"A Field Guide to Coastal Fishes is a resource that shouldn't be overlooked for any student of marine life."

- Midwest Book Review

"This is a substantial improvement on the Peterson Field Guide... Val Kells’s illustrations are vivid and beautiful. The comprehensiveness of this text, along with the amount of detail in both illustration and text, are impressive. For these reasons, along with the very reasonable price, I would recommend this book to my colleagues in the scientific community, as well as to my fishing and diving companions."

- Bulletin of Marine Science

"This comprehensive field guide to the marine and brackish water fishes of the Atlantic and Gulf Coasts is as well executed as it is accurate."

- Mariner

"Significant and news worthy... comprehensive and compact... A Field Guide to Coastal Fishes is a must have book for any serious angler."

- Coastal Angler Magazine

"You would be hard pressed to find a more comprehensive, beautifully illustrated, and well organized book than A Field Guide to Coastal Fishes: From Maine to Texas and I highly recommend it for anyone interested in marine life."

- Mark Watanabe -

"Quite comprehensive, and the illustrations are marvelous!"

- Aqua-Notes

"A must for anyone fishing the Atlantic and Gulf coasts of the U.S.... it is a great reference for the coffee table, boat or tackle box."

- International Angler

"A must-have for any person interested in fish from the US Atlantic coastal region. Highly recommended."

- Choice

"Exquisite color illustrations... A great reference that is accessible for a wide audience."

- Caleb D. McMahan - Copeia

"The overview of diversity and classification of marine fish provided by the authors will be an asset to both the fishery biologist and layperson interested in coastal marine fishes and I highly recommend the text to anyone interested in marine fisheries."

- Fred J. Brenner - BIOS

"A compact and wide-ranging resource; truly, a labor of love. The product of over 15 years of research from conception to publication, it is the first comprehensive field guide to the fish of the marine and brackish waters of the Atlantic and Gulf coasts to be published in more than 25 years... I highly recommend this book."

- Beth Hester - Virginia Wildlife Magazine

"Val is a well-known scientific illustrator—she paints those painfully accurate fish for scientific books. And one of her books, A Field Guide to Coastal Fishes from Maine to Texas, has shown me, for hour after painful hour, exactly how many species I have not caught in the Atlantic. This sort of thing makes me lose a lot of sleep."

- Steve Wozniak - Sport Fishing

"If you haven't seen this publication, it is by far the best guide I've ever seen for fishes of this region with 100% original color illustrations which are large enough for easy comparison. In addition, the diagnostic characteristics are on the opposing page, not far away in the text."

- Ron Kernehan - American Fisheries Society


"Sized to fit inside the tackle-box, center console, dive bag, tote, or back-pack... If you’ve seen or caught a fish anywhere along the coast from Maine to Texas, from shallow inshore bays to offshore depths of about 660 feet, it is most likely identified here."

- Reid Martin

"A Field Guide to Coastal Fishes will soon become my go to reference book. Val Kells and Kent Carpenter have combined their talents and wealth of experience to produce an accurate, easy-to-use field guide that clearly explains and shows a reader how to correctly identify coastal fishes. This book is a must have item for anyone who works with or has an interest in fish, fishing, and the marine environment. After seeing this book, I’ve discovered I need two copies; one for my office and one for my boat!"

- Joe Malat, Joe Malat Communications

"Magnificent book. Thank you Val and Kent for this labor of extraordinarily detailed, painstaking and accurate artwork/scientific illustration inseparable. It is the go-to reference of images and complementary text."

- John Karges, The Nature Conservancy, Texas Chapter

"A fresh splash of well-designed, beautifully illustrated information in a field-friendly book."

- Carl Safina, author of Song for the Blue Ocean

"What a marvelous piece of work! I have used it to identify fish that I prepared as skeletons for the Smithsonian. Everyone connected with the production of the book deserves the heartiest congratulations. Val Kells must surely be one of the best scientific illustrators of all time."

- Storrs Olson, Smithsonian Institution
Johns Hopkins University Press
From 17

9780801898389 : a-field-guide-to-coastal-fishes-kells-carpenter
Paperback / softback
448 Pages
$27.00 USD

Other Titles by Valerie A. Kells

A Field Guide to Coastal Fishes of Bermuda, Bahamas, and the Caribbean Sea

Valerie A. Kells, Luiz A. Rocha, Carole C. Baldwin
Sep 2022 - The Johns Hopkins University Press
$30.00 USD - Paperback / softback

Field Guide to Freshwater Fishes of Virginia

Paul E. Bugas, Jr., Corbin D. Hilling, Valerie A. Kells, Michael J. Pinder, Derek A. Wheaton, Donald J. Orth, illustrated by Valerie A. Kells, Joseph R. Tomelleri
Sep 2019 - The Johns Hopkins University Press
$27.95 USD - Paperback / softback
$27.95 USD - Electronic book text

Tunas and Billfishes of the World

Bruce Collette, John Graves, illustrated by Valerie A. Kells
Jun 2019 - The Johns Hopkins University Press
$77.00 USD - Hardback

Other Titles in NATURE / Animals / Fish

The American Darters

Robert A. Kuehne, Roger W. Barbour
Nov 2021 - University Press of Kentucky
$30.00 USD - Paperback / softback
$45.00 USD - Electronic book text

Sharks in the Shallows

W. Clay Creswell,
Jun 2021 - University of South Carolina Press
$19.99 USD - Paperback / softback

Fishes of the Salish Sea

Theodore W. Pietsch, James Wilder Orr, illustrated by Joseph R. Tomelleri
Jul 2019 - University of Washington Press
$150.00 USD - Hardback

Other Titles in Biology, life sciences

An Illustrated Guide to Dinosaur Feeding Biology

Ali Nabavizadeh and David B. Weishampel
Jun 2023 - Johns Hopkins University Press
$59.95 USD - Hardback
$59.95 USD - Electronic book text

Frogs of the United States and Canada, second edition

C. Kenneth Dodd Jr.
Jun 2023 - Johns Hopkins University Press
$199.00 USD - Hardback
$199.00 USD - Electronic book text

The Killer Whale Journals

Hanne Strager - foreword and photographs by Paul Nicklen
Apr 2023 - Johns Hopkins University Press
$29.95 USD - Hardback
$29.95 USD - Electronic book text