Finding the best fish to catch is something many fishermen in Florida strive to accomplish each season. It is no wonder that the state has set more than 900 world records. This is more than any other country or state. Within 100 miles of Tampa Bay, we can find these species at one time or another. What are you waiting to do? Grab your rod and reel, and get out on the water. These are the top Florida fish you can catch.
The tarpon, sometimes called the “silver queen of sportfish”, is prized for its fighting abilities but not for its value as a food item. Tarpon is one of the most beloved gamefish in the state. They can tolerate a variety of salinities and we can find this fish all over Florida.
This tackle buster is Florida’s saltwater fish. It lives in tropical and subtropical water. Sailfish can travel either alone or in small groups. The distinctive feature of the sailfish is its long, high dorsal first fin. Blue-water anglers love the sailfish for its high jumps and acrobatic moves.
Spotted Sea Trout
It’s commonly known as speckled trout and is a schooling species. Anglers can find this fish in shallow waters of estuaries and bays. It has two large, canine teeth in its upper jaw. They eat shrimp and small baitfish in grassy areas. Spotted sea trout is a popular sportfish in Florida. They can be used for everything, including topwater plugs and saltwater flies.
This shallow-water schooling fish, also known as redfish is both found in salt water and brackish. The elongated, chinless body and lack of chin barbels distinguish it from the black drum. The tail is also marked by a large, sometimes multiple-colored black spot. This species was once heavily overfished. It is now a conservation success.
The legendary largemouth, Florida’s freshwater fish of choice, has a worldwide reputation. Florida is popular for its black bass fishing. Anglers from all parts of the globe travel to Florida to add a 10-pound black bass to their “life list” of big fish. Big bass is the king of rivers and lakes. It will eat almost anything, even baby ducks and squirrels.
A term refers to a variety of species, including bluegill, redbreast, redear sunfish, and spotted sunfish. These fish are a staple for many young anglers. These Florida fish bite on popping bugs, worms, and spinner baits.
These bottom dwellers, which are a generic name for many deepwater species, are valuable to commercial and recreational fishermen. Anglers are most fond of red grouper and gag grouper, sometimes called black grouper. These species are most commonly caught by anglers “bottom fishing“. but they can also be caught in shallow waters using artificial lures during cooler months.
This species is usually found between 60 and 440 feet offshore. The red snapper is pinkish-red in color and has a pointed anal fin that distinguishes it from other snapper species. The millions of shrimp trawls that killed juvenile red snapper used to kill this species. However, new regulations have allowed it to rebound. Red snapper is also a popular food dish in Florida.
This family includes both the king mackerel as well as its smaller cousin, the Spanish mackerel. These fish’s habitat is from Maine to Rio de Janeiro in Brazil, and the Gulf of Mexico.
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