They come ashore to freshwater inlets and rivers to spawn. Find the Wenchman in deep waters, from 80 feet to 1,200 feet deep over hard, low-relief bottoms, but they can be found on almost any bottom type except soft mud. The Pigfish is great eating, but is mostly used for bait fish. Live, Ballyhoo rigged on No.7 or No.8 steel wire with a 7/0 or 8/0 hook is a reliable bait. Sawfish live only in shallow, muddy water and can be found in both freshwater and saltwater in tropical and subtropical regions. Larger Mutton can be found travelling grass flats following stingrays. White Grunts are nocturnal feeders, leaving offshore reefs at sunset in search for crustaceans, mollusks, echinoderms, and small fishes.Photo Courtesy of MBARA. The Blueback Herring is found in the St. Johns River in Florida and further northern waters. This fish seldom reaches over 3 to 4 inches and is abundant in large schools along the shore in seagrass beds and on offshore reefs. Pigfish feed at night using their throat teeth to grind up shellfish and small bits of other food. Night fishing for this species is usually best and chum made of shrimp and squid is irresistible. The Warsaw Grouper is a large fish growing to 6 feet (1.8 m) and can weigh over 550 pounds (263 kg). Prepare Skate utilizing the wings and use in any recipe calling for Scallops as they have a very similar flavor. For catching large fish use a double hook system. Photo Courtesy of MBARA, picture taken off Mexico Beach on MB-124, The Snowy Grouper is a mean one due to it's territorial nature. This catfish should be avoided at all costs but it is not easy to do so, they are prevalent inshore especially in south Florida. You can also catch them with tiny hooks and small bits of cut bait or shrimp; Sibiki Rigs work well too. This large species is commonly 6 feet and over 100 pounds in south Florida and get get as large as 280 pounds. Bottom fishing from bridges, piers, the surf and from boats is the best way to catch a Kingfish. Hawaii 339 Species. Nearly identical to the White Marlin, the Roundscale Spearfish differs in the distance between the anus and anal fin and has slightly rounder scales across portions of its body. This schooling bait fish lives inshore in many oceans in both warm and cool waters. They feed mostly at dusk and dawn, thus the best time to fish for stripers. The 2 foot Atlantic longfin squid to the left was caught off Key West by Outerlimits Sportsfishing < click to see a bigger picture of this squid. Amberjacks are not commonly table fare but we have the secret to cooking this delicious fish on our webpage Grilled Amberjack. Photo Courtesy of MBARA, picture taken off Mexico Beach. The Grey Triggerfish is found offshore near wrecks, reefs, rocks, and structures like oil platforms over hard bottom in 60 to 120 feet of water and are know as bait stealers. SW Fish ID 9749091574 Florida Saltwater Fish ID, 10th Edition. Snook are drawn to the night lights as they take the opportunity to feed on shrimp that are drawn to the lights. Mangroves are inquisitive fish that will come out of their ambush spot to see what's going on when they hear noise like your engines motor, but they will flee after hearing loud sudden noises. The Scamp is commonly 10 to 20 pounds and is sometimes found fairly close to shore, but generally sticks to deep reefs and ledges offshore. Bluefish swim in schools of similarly sized individuals usually behind large schools of bait fish. The Bonito is in the Tuna family and is not commonly eaten in Florida due to it's size which is 4 to 15 pounds. Checkout our Fish ID page which will show you the most common Florida Inshore fish. Sand Perch are found from bays and shorelines to well offshore over a variety of bottoms. Other great titles include Baits, Rigs & Tackle! In some parts you will encounter catfish balls near docks making it impossible to catch anything but these cats. Image taken Gulf of Mexico, Courtesy of NOAA Photo Library - Image taken Gulf of Mexico, This Hound Needlefish caught in Key West by. The Pinfish is a small bait fish growing to 8 inches that can be found inshore in schools numbering in the thousands. They are abundant in tropical estuaries and are used for Snapper bait. South Florida 558 Species. American Shad. Pursuant to section 120.74, Florida Statutes, the Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission has published its 2019 Agency Regulatory Plan.2019 Agency Regulatory Plan. The Red Porgy in this picture was caught off Naples during the winter in 125 of water on a wreck while bottom fishing. Northeast Florida Offshore Fish Species Wahoo. Image courtesy of Bouncers Dusky 33 - Miami Beach, The African Pompano is also know as Pennant-Fish and Threadfin Trevally, Cuban Jack, Atlantic Threadfin, Pennantfish, Threadfin Mirrorfish, and Trevally. The Spanish can be found close to shore and further out in waters to about 40 feet, traveling in schools. If you would like to read about the "mistaken identity" of both the White Marlin and the Roundscale Spearfish, check out this ScienceDaily article. The best time to catch squid is dusk to dawn on an incoming and slack tide?squid are attracted to lighted water, so look for them under a lighted bridge, pier or dock or supply your own light. Chumming with crushed blue crab or mussels can drive the Red Snapper into a frenzy. Feeding on small fish and squid this fish can be found on offshore reefs and wrecks and sometimes inshore. Adults feed on fish and they are very aggressive hunters; a school of longfins can descimate an entireschool of herring! This is a schooling fish and is a good pier and shore fishing target. WIth such a vast array of saltwater fish species, fishing rules change frequently, often by the month. This fish is a great kid's catch as they are easily caught during the day and take most baits. This species has declined largely because of the many locks and dams blocking access to spawning areas. Set out your chum slick and if Jacks are nearby you are guaranteed a fun time. They also consume significant quantities of lobsters, clams, small mussels, sea worms, squid, eels, and soft crabs, which you can also use for your chum mix. They feed on algae, small crustaceans, and detritus. The black marlin feeds on dolphinfish, squid, cuttlefishes, octopods, mackerels, trevallies, swordfish, and large decapod crustaceans, but prefers small tunas. At 12 to 20 inches, the Hickory Shad are noticeably smaller than American Shad. Other Reef-Associated Fish: Pigfish. The Scamp is plentiful in the Gulf of Mexico and can be found in the Atlantic mostly on the northern Florida coast. Most anglers hook up a Wahoo during heavy chumming while targeting other species. Bluefish grow up to 20 pounds and 40 inches long. Report fish kills, wildlife emergencies, sightings, etc. Red Grouper like to hide in a hole and dart out to grab food and return to their hole. The spotfin hogfish is also called the Cuban hogfish. You can collect small crabs at the shore or you can use a crab trap to catch them. Florida Saltwater Fish Identification Tools. The Sand Perch is common on both coasts of Florida and this colorful fish reaches around 8 inches. Photo Courtesy of MBARA, picture taken off Mexico Beach. To use Sardines as bait first twist the center of the body to open up the fish, this allows other small fish to come and nibble on the sardine and attract the larger fish to the commotion. Look for mounds of sand about 6 inches apart and the worm should be in its U-shaped hole between the two mounds. This species has no predators and can destroy delicate marine environments if left unchecked. In the eastern Gulf the Yellowedge Grouper is most prevalent from Tampa to Charlotte in 600 feet of water near patch reefs with soft bottom areas where the Yellowedge can burrow in the soft sand. This Grunt can be eaten like any other panfish but is not as good as a Snapper. They are excellent table fair. This Skate can be found at 1 1/2 to 3 feet long and does not possess a stinger like Stingrays. Knobbed Porgy. Photo Courtesy of MBARA, picture taken off Mexico Beach. The Florida Saltwater Fish Life List consists of 70 species of saltwater fish. Striped bass are voracious predators of a variety of small fish and invertebrates, including worms, squids, menhaden, anchovies and crustaceans. While it may seem wasteful (most would rather eat the clam), they are excellent for making chum and fish bait. King Mackerel travel in large schools near the surface of the water, close to shore over sandy bottoms. The Red Hind are found on shallow reefs and feed on crabs, shrimp, lobster, some fish and octopus. Chunk chumming works great with this species. Good chum & bait are squid, clams and small bait fish is best and should be presented near the bottom around rock jetties and pilings, reefs and wrecks. Sail fish, blue and white marlin, tuna, wahoo, cobia, yellowtail, amberjack and sharks are but a few of the denizens of the deep you might encounter on a deep-sea expedition in The Keys. For bait and chum use pieces of fresh mussels, clams and jellyfish. Due to the difficulty of distinguishing these two species, the classification of the Roundscale Spearfish is not officially endangered, but being considered. The lesser amberjack is the smallest amberjack, around 12 inches long and weighing 10 pounds, and seldom encountered by anglers because they are usually found in over 100 feet deep waters. Mullet are common table fare and are used as bait for larger sport fish. Some anglers use them whole and chunk chum. Chumming with a weighted dispenser close to structure then dropping your line with bait into the chum slick works well for this species. Often hooked while trolling, this species is commonly used as trolling bait for billfish and tuna. Florida Sport Fishing is owned and operated by South Florida Sport Fishing Inc, a Florida Corporation headquartered in Pompano Beach, Florida — in the heart of The Fishing Capital of the World. Blue runners inhabit offshore waters in large schools and feed primarily on ?sh, shrimp, squid, and other invertebrates. Image courtesy of Bouncers Dusky 33 - Miami Beach. NOAA, Teachers at Sea, Photo courtesy of David Seay. The Vermillion Snapper is a current feeder that swarm high in the water column feeding on smaller fish and shrimp that pass in the current. The Almaco Jack feeds at all times of the day and night on bait fish and small Squid. Lugworms can grow from 3 to 12 inches. Permit are commonly found from 20 to 30 pounds with the record in Florida at 51 pounds. These six saltwater fish species are worthy targets if you plan a winter fishing trip in Florida. Growing to12 inches in length, the Leatherjack eats small fish and shrimp. Gloves are necessary as these crabs will pinch you once caught and you will be grabbing them on surfaces covered with sharp barnacles. Chum made with oysters, shrimp, clams, clam juice, scallop guts, sand fleas, or fiddler crabs are best for Sheepshead as these crustaceans are their main diet. The average size of bonefish in South Florida and the Florida Keys range from 6-9 pounds and 10-12 pound bonefish are common. I have fished for large Grouper in deep water using a downrigger to bring the chum bag deep and attract this delicious fish. The blue runner is a spunky fish prized as an excellent bait fish because it survive long periods in the bait well and once on a hook can swim great distances. Groupers eat crustaceans, other fish, octopuses and young sea turtles. The Atlantic threadfin is a rare catch in Florida and has many names - threadfish, goatfish, surf runner, and glassnose whiting. This fish ranges from 2 to 10 pounds and are good tablefare. Around the world it is very popular to fish for squid using tipped jigs on lines. The schooling Weakfish is the most common of the Seatrout and usually are found at 12 to 18 inches, but can grow to 3 feet and weigh 19 pounds. Remember, squid swim backwards, so you must cast your net behind them. Trumpetfish (Aulostomus maculatus) are easy to identify by their long, thin, tubular bodies with trumpet-shaped mouths or snouts. Live Squid - photo taken in the Caribbean by Carol Cox. They can be found near the Gulf Stream in deep water near underwater structures like rock walls and drop offs. The Wenchman Snapper is a small, large-eyed fish that feeds primarily on fishes and are caught surprisingly often by anglers, who usually discard them because of unfamiliarity with the fish or their small size. This fish can be found in small schools, grows to 10 inches and is usually caught with small baited hooks. Alewife. ‎Provides a search-able list of Saltwater Fish for the State of Florida. It is popular to use the Ragworm for surf casting or fishing from the shore. The Scamp's spots can sometimes form close together creating larger spot-like area's. The record size is over 2 pounds. The Red Porgy is an uncommon catch due to it's reduced populations from earlier overfishing. Keep them frozen until ready to use and they will stay on your hook. Lesser Amberjack are believed to live deeper than other Amberjacks in water from 150 to 400 feet deep and spawn in offshore waters. The Sand Sea Trout is a silver colored fish lacking any markings and are found in shallower bays and estuaries with oyster beds and seagrass bed. Freshwater and saltwater fish species and fish identification. The larger varieties are great to eat, similar to the Blue Crab. The best times to catch a Bonefish is during overcast sky, a rising tide, water less than 3 feet and water temperature more than 70 degrees. Use the Tomtate as cut bait and for chunk chumming around reefs where they normally inhabit for Grouper or other reef fish. Photo Courtesy of MBARA - Note this species not found in NW Gulf. Saltwater Bait fish Identification from Florida's Official Fishing Forum Site! T Harvest prohibited by or with the use of any multiple hook (any hook with two or more points and a common shaft) in conjunction with live or dead natural bait.. X Gulf reef fish survey required when fishing for selected reef species from a private vessel in the Gulf of Mexico. If you want to catch a big one put a Spiney Lobster on a heavy jig with strong line and drop down to a reef; be sure to hold on tight, this big fish will dart for cover and give you one exciting fight. Use heavy gear and 8/0 to 11/0 hooks with lights (to attract them) and balloons attached to detect a bite. Image courtesy Bouncers Dusky 33 - Miami Beach. The Jolthead can be caught on dead bait (Spanish sardines, threadfin, finger mullet) squid, and crustaceans. 1.Sheepshead. They can be caught with a cast net or small baited hooks. Spanish Mackerel are aggressive feeders preferring shrimp, squid and small fish. The trick to catching a Spanish Mackerel is to use fast moving lures such as spoons or by trolling. The fish is targeted primarily for later use as bait for larger species, but it's strong white flesh is quite good and is used for sushi by many. The species has been over fished and in 2016 was classified as "threatened". Bank Sea Bass are found in deep, offshore waters from 50 to 500 feet around rocks and reefs with high relief. Be sure to identify the Grouper species you catch, some are endangered and illegal to catch. If you see a ray jumping out of the water, do not seek it out but turn and go the other way - they have been know to land in boats unexpectadly injuring people as they land. There are several ways to target wahoo… you can use live bait and drift fish or, one of our specialties, high speed troll for them. This squid is popular food for whales and dolphins. This species is fun to catch and quite tasty, best eaten fresh, not frozen. Often confused with the Permit which is deeper bodied, Pompano rarely grow larger than 6 pounds, Permit are common to 40 pounds. Yellowtail Snapper are found mostly in the southern Florida waters offshore near reefs and wrecks in waters deeper than 30 feet. Chumming with a mix of anchovies or squid or chunk chumming with whole anchovy or parts works well. is a set of three cards designed to help fishermen identify their catch and know the state rules associated with the species. The Bluefin tuna is an offshore schooling fish that will aggregate and forage on concentrations of small pelagic prey like mackerel, sand lance, sea herring, menhaden and squid. Also remember to slightly tilt the net so when the squid expels its ink it is dispersed into the water. The Graysby grows to 15 pounds and is usually not targeted but an accidental catch. They are about 12 inches and weigh a few pounds. Arctic Char. The Queen Snapper is a rare catch and a unique snapper having a long, slender body with big forked tail with yellow eyes. = Bait Fish =Protected Species, Bay Anchovy's are schooling bait fish found in bays and deep water. Trumpetfish can be brown, reddish, bluish, or bright yellow. Striped bass usually grow to approximately 20 inches and weigh about 30 pounds, but can be as long as 6 feet and weigh as much as 125 pounds. They have very sharp teeth and spines with razors for gills, so handle with care. Visit our Menhaden fish page for information on this very important species. To get your free copy of the Florida Wildlife Commission's saltwater fish identification book "Florida's Fisheries: Yesterday and Today", click the following link: Chumming for this deep water fish is not possible, but how about trying a line bait dispenser attached above your live or cut bait presentation. Spiny Lobsters navigate using their antennae while smelling and tasting there way along the bottoms and bottom structure. Called Grunt because this fish's air bladder amplifies the sound made when it grinds it's teeth deep in it's throat, the Blue Striped Grunt resembles a Snapper but it is from another species family called Haemulidae. Pogonias cromis. Often confused with the Marlin, this fish can be identified by their fin which is much higher throughout its length. Sea Trout feed on squid, peeler crabs, shrimp, live spot or other live bait, so a chum mix of their favorite food is best. The Cero can be identified by it's long lateral stripe. The Nassau Grouper is a slow-growing species reaching a little over 3 feet in length and can weight 55 pounds. Cut bait chumming with Menhaden, Mullet, Herring, Spot, whole Ballyhoo or Mackerel works great to draw this fish to your line. Glass minnows are sometimes called Silversides or Anchovy and are a popular bait fish from Maine through the Gulf of Mexico. Learn all about the horseshoe crab on our The Amazing Horseshoe Crab webpage. This ray is one of the smallest stingray species, it attains a maximum length of 24 inches (61 cm) and a weight of 11 lb (4.9 kg). The Yellowtail is commonly caught from 12 inches to 16 inches with the large ones caught in waters over 100 feet. Apache Trout. To use the Atlantic stingray for bait, first remove the short poisonous spine with pliers that is at the base of it's long tail. The Horse-Eye Jack can be found swimming in school, large and small, sometimes along with the Crevalle Jack. Flying fish are great as pitch bait for sight fishing Dolphin. The 60 to 100 pound Oilfish travels in schools and is caught unintentionally by anglers fishing for Tuna and Swordfish in the deep, open waters near the continental shelf. Florida's largest Flounder can be found in inshore coaster waters sitting on the bottom, preferring eelgrass beds and wharf pilings. Photo Courtesy of MBARA, picture taken off Mexico Beach, The Banded Rudderfish is usually encountered less than 11 inches and under 10 pounds. As its name implies, the Grass porgy can be found on both coasts of Florida inshore in shallow water on grass beds and sandy bottoms. The lane are more common in south Florida with the young found inshore and in the mangroves and the adults on inshore reefs. This Porgy feeds on Mollusks and Crustaceans. Lui caught this magnificent Queen snapper off Marathon in 650 feet of water aboard BITIT on December 9, 2012. The largest lane snapper caught near Pensacola was 6 pounds 6 ounces; anglers can expect an average of 12 inches on offshore wrecks and reefs. GPS data Not for Navigational Use. This Porgy is a good tasting fish which feeds mostly in invertibrates, .Photo Courtesy of MBARA, picture taken off Mexico Beach on MB-124. They can grow to 40 pounds but are normally found much smaller. With a diet of small fish and crustaceans, this small fish is excellent table fare. Florida Fish Species List. Blue Land Crab Regulations. Use wire leaders to prevent this fish's sharp from cutting your line. The Alabama Shad is also a schooling fish that grows to 12 to 18 inch. Use them cut up for bottom fishing reefs or inshore and they make great chum. Jorge P. caught this leatherjacket on Sunny Isles Beach in February. They live in a U-shaped burrow in sand on most beaches. You will often see large schools swimming into bays during the spring and summer months in tropical waters. This brightly colored fish only grows to 3 or 4 pounds and average 10 inches long. Due to this habit of darting out for food, they are opportunistic and will eat most anything. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Blue_Stripe_Grunt._Haemulon_sciurus.jpg, White Grunts are in the Grunt family, but they are also called Key West Grunts, and mistakenly called White Snappers or Key West Snappers because they resemble Snappers. Most anglers use trolling motors to stalk the Tarpon. The Mahogany has big eyes, grows to 20 inches, and usually swims in schools around reefs. The Atlantic Stingray is the same fish common along the coast; they are the ones where we see signs to shuffle your feet to avoid getting stung. On the Gulf coast it is less common to see Gag this large. Most anglers catch Bonito while fishing for Kingfish; Bonito will hit on any bait if they are in the area. This fish can grow to 8 - 12 inches and is found in large schools inshore, near shore, and offshore. The above image is a 40 lb African Pompano.Image courtesy of Bouncers Dusky 33 - Miami Beach. Sheepshead porgy has a small dark spot at the base of the pectoral fin, and there is often a maroon-colored margin on the tail. They prefer squid, crab, shrimp, lobster and octopus, but will eat any dead fish that sink into their habitat. Florida Museum Fish Collection This searchable gallery includes 220 entries of Florida freshwater fishes, each with a live image, key characteristics for field identification and habitat description. 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