Redfish are one of the most popular backcountry and flats game fish. Redfish will take a wide variety of flies, lures, and top water plugs. This makes Redfish are one of the most sought after fish by light tackle anglers. They are one of the hardest fighting fish on the grass flats. Because of this reputation and the fact that they spend most of the year in shallow water they are a great fish to sight fish with light spinning tackle or fly rod!
Snook mania! Why Snook are so popular no one knows but it is one fish that has fans every wher. Snook are seasonal in Florida waters, are a tasty treat and are very ellusive. The can be found in inlets, backcountry mangroves and flats. Snook on light tackle and fly rod are a favorite methode for serious anglers. Snook like live bait best like shrimp, crabs and fingerlings but will take artificials and flies.
Speckled trout are a river, backwater and flats favorite. They are good eating and are fun to catch on live shrimp under a popper cork. Speckled trout also respond well to buck tails jigs anytime and surface lures in the mornings. Drift fishing across a grass flat free lining live shrimp make the best day trout fishing there is on the water!
Permit are among the hardest fighting fish, pound for pound, and can be found throughout Florida’s salt waters. They can grow over thirty pounds and are a sought out by light tackle specialist. Permit eat small crustaceans like shrimp, crab and sand fleas. The permit, is a relative of the Jacks and relatively a common catch from wreck fishing in South Florida. Few sights on the flats are more exciting than the tail of a tailing Permit extending a foot out of the water in search of food.
Tarpon are one of the most exciting and sought after game fish to be found anywhere! They can grow to immense size and are light tackle and fly favorites. There are tarpon tournaments held in several key spots on Florida’s coast during special times of the year. The Tarpon is one of the most remarkable sport fish in the world, when hooked they perform acrobatic jumps which defy belief. Spin or fly casting with lures or live bait (crabs or shrimp) and big flies are effective ways to catch Tarpon. Tarpon are generally cooperative eaters, but their bony jaws make it hard to maintain a hook up, the result is that many fish throw the hook after a few jumps.
Dolphin, Mahi Mahi, Dorado. Whatever the name, the dolphin is a mainstay of offshore game species. They have a tremendous growth rate and make excellent table fare. They are primarily fished by the trolling method with artificial baits. Dolphin are a pelagic striking fish, if you get into a school you may be able to make your days catch in one sitting. Dolphin are acrobatic fighters that can make your day both in the boat and at the dinner table; Dolphin like pink and red and blue and white trolling skirts over fresh ballyhoo.
The Marlin is perhaps the best known of the offshore fighting billfish next to the sailfish, the differance is you can catch marlin over several hundreds of pounds- the largest are over a thousand pounds. There are several species of marlin, the black, the white, the blue and the stripped. These are heavy duty warriers that take special gear and large artificial or natural baits. A marlin catch is a lifetime accomplishment and to be envied by every angler. Marlin are found in nearly every ocean worldwide. Marlin fishing is strickly a catch and release proposition!
Cobia are a very tasty dish! They are migratory and like to hang out with manta rays, when the rays appear cobia are not far behind. Cobia will respond to lures thrown tipped with bally hoo and are primarily sight fished from the tower of an ocean going boat. Cobia can become very large and they are an obstinate pray- they can really put up a bulldog fight!
The barracuda is one of the most underappreciated game fish in Florida. They are big (up to 5 feet and 65 pounds), they run and they jump like the most favorite of our game fish and can be found anywhere in Florida’s saltwater.. The barracuda is plentiful and fishing for them in water depths of 3 to 5 feet, with their explosive strikes is a thrill one won’t forget. They can be persuaded to take a fly and are equally unable to risk a tube lure on a spinning rig. Barracuda are plentiful and are an amazing acrobat when hooked!
There are many verities of grouper and most are tasty and delicious! Grouper are a bottom species that like live bait offerings and can put up a tremendous fight. In hooking and catching grouper it is primarily important in the first moments of battle to get the fish out of the vicinity of his home- be it a wreck, reef or other structure, if you do not- they will cut you off for sure! Certain species of grouper, the Goliath or Jew fish, can grow to over six hundred pounds, this species is protected from kill fishing but is an amazing thrill to catch and release. Grouper are found liberally in all Florida salt waters both inshore and offshore.
Snapper are one of Florida’s most sought after and tasty bottom species. There are a number of snapper varieties and all are good to eat. It takes special tackle and technique to catch these wary fish, they are very sensitive to terminal tackle and presentation of bait; fluorocarbon leaders are important part of your presentation. Snapper like shrimp, crab and other small crustaceans. Snapper like bottom cover like reefs, wrecks and other structure and can be found in all Florida saltwater bodies.
Bonefish are one of the most popular sport fish on the flats. More has been written about bone fishing that almost any another light tackle species. Sight fishing for bonefish is the most popular method and is incomparable on light tackle and fly. The Keys are home to the largest bonefish species in the world. Bonefish are found on sand and grass flats on both the Ocean (Florida Straits) and Gulf (Florida Bay) sides of the Keys in water as shallow as a few inches. Bonefish feed on small crustaceans like crabs and shrimp. For a thrill of a lifetime go bone fishing!!
Atlantic Sailfish. The Sailfish is a species beloved by the fisherman and captain alike, they provide endless opportunities to experience the thrill of catching a bill fish. These fish are acrobatic and present themselves at trolled bait with bill noodling in the air behind the bait, then striking with a slash and run! This is strictly a catch and release fishery and sailfish catches in an organized tournament can run in the dozens per boat. Sails are caught by kite, light spinning tackle, on fly and stand up rod and real. Truly a great game fish and most anglers’ first time bill fish. They will eat any trolled ballyhoo with or without a skirt.
The don’t call it a Wahoo for nothing! When this top predator takes your bait you will know it there is no doubt about it. The first run is a reel screamer- sorry for the pun- but it is true! Wahoo are delicious on the plate and amazing underwater athletes, they seldom jump like other species but they can burn the line off of a reel and put the fear of God in any angler! Wahoo like dark lures trolled at high speed- eight to twelve knots in fact. They are a toothy critter and need to be respected when brought on board; they can weigh up to one hundred pounds.
The kingfish is the poor man’s Wahoo; they have saved the day on many a charter. Kingfish are an aggressive pelagic species and love trolled bait or a pinfish drifted along the beach rigged with a circle hook and a trailing stinger treble. These guys can be single heavy weights up to 70 pounds but usually run in schools of twenty to thirty pound fish. Steaked, seasoned with Italian dressing and then grilled these fish can be tasty fare. Don’t miss out on the fun, kingfish are common to all Florida waters and should be on your fun list.
Night time sword fishing has become one of the most popular offshore fishing adventures south Florida has to offer. These are mysterious looking bill fish that live in the deep waters of both the Atlantic and Gulf waters. They can grow to enormous size and love squid and are fished with a luminescence chemical light attached near the bait and at great depths. At least once in your fishing career you should experience night time sword fishing!