Snook are a common Florida fish that bite year-round. They either migrate within a small region or stay in one place all year. They’re sensitive to changes in water temperature, so they love to hang in deep waters nearshore—you can typically find them around rivers, bridges, and piers. The size of snook ranges from around 3 to 15 pounds, with some pushing 30 pounds. Catching snook isn’t an easy feat; they’ll usually put up a good fight.
You can catch grouper year-round on the Gulf Coast, which is fortunate because they’re arguably one of the most delicious tasting fish. Florida is home to more than 40 species of grouper, and they’re all as strong as they are big. It requires heavy tackle to catch this monster fighter. The biggest finds are at the deepest levels, so you may want to hire an experienced fishing guide to help you reel one in.
The tarpon is one of Florida’s most popular gamefish. They can jump 10 feet out of water and make a home in fresh water and salt water. They’ll bite hard between May and August, but have little value as food. This fish is “catch and release” only in Florida—not a total loss as they have a strong odor and many small, hard-to-clean bones.
The sailfish is a prized sportfish and Florida’s official state saltwater fish. They average 30-80 pounds and have a notably high first dorsal fin. Sailfish are an offshore species that have spectacular aerial leaps when hooked. This fish is particularly hard to catch because they’re very fast, very big, and put up a challenging fight.
This is another common Florida sportfish that likes grassy habitats and the shallow waters surrounding bays and estuaries. They have prominent canine teeth and are 1-4 pounds, with some Gulf Coast trout topping 10 pounds. They have a high food value and are somewhat easy to catch because they’re not picky eaters—they’ll like any bait you offer, especially live shrimp.