Species Of Fish

Florida is known to have more than 7,700 lakes, 10,550 miles of rivers, and 2,276 miles of tidal shoreline. For this reason, you can imagine a vast number of species of saltwater fish, and fishing is one of the top activities for locals and visitors in the said place.

It is no wonder why the state has been producing more than 900 world records in many different categories in terms of fishing and fish species within 100 miles of Tampa Bay.

How many species of saltwater fish are in Florida? Believe it or not, Florida is known to have 70 saltwater fish species, according to the Florida Saltwater Fish Life.

This article tackles all famous saltwater fish that resides in Florida. Aside from tackling what makes these fish species special, this post can help you better understand the right way to catch saltwater fish according to different experts and government protocols. Let’s get into it.

Fish To Catch In Florida

Florida is known to have 70 total saltwater species, and if you are looking for the perfect place to fish and check some saltwater fishes, here is where you should go.

Florida serves as the ultimate blueprint for people who are into fishing. Its geography offers many gulf streams, reefs, wrecks, estuaries, bays, and oceans.

If desired, you can easily spot some bonefish and billfish on the same day. Here are some of the top fish species you can catch looking for Florida’s best Saltwater fish.


Others call Tarpon the silver king of sportfishing, and it is highly prized for its ability but not as valued as food.

Tarpon is considered one of the most popular gamefish, and it can tolerate a wide range of salinities. They are mostly found throughout the state’s waters, so you won’t have difficulty finding and catching them.


Sailfish is Florida’s official state saltwater fish, and this tackle buster inhabits many tropical and subtropical waters. They are commonly known to travel alone or in small groups, and you can easily spot them with their features.

They have a long, high first dorsal fin and are known for their high, acrobatic jumps. It is no wonder why many anglers invest their time in catching sailfish in Florida.

Spotted Sea Trout

Spotted sea trout are known as speckled trout, and it is a schooling species found in many estuaries, bays, and shallow waters. You can pretty much tell what a spotted sea trout is because it has two large canine teeth in its upper jaw.

They primarily feed on shrimp and even small baitfish. Spotted sea trout is also one of Florida’s most popular sport fish, and it will hit everything from topwater plugs up to saltwater.


Snook is most commonly found in many of Florida’s warmer waters, and it is susceptible to changes in water temperature. It is known to be a robust and voracious predator, and this Florida fish will rip a fishing line into shreds.

If you are looking for some light tackle, this is an excellent sport as snooks are cagey prey but worth the time if you are planning to catch them.

Red Drum

Red Drum is mainly known as the redfish, a shallow-water schooling fish. It can be found in salt and brackish water, and sometimes it can be distinguished from the black drum.

This is due to the lack of chin barbels, and it has a more elongated body than the black one. It also has a large black spot, sometimes several spots, right before the tail, and this species is now considered a conservation success story.

Largemouth Bass

Florid is also known for its Largemouth bass, and they might not be a saltwater species, but this species has an international reputation.

Many anglers worldwide are joining in the mix to get their hands on a big fish. Florida is considered to be the top destination for black bass fishing. They are usually found in freshwater, but they also go in saltwater when they want to and during their breeding period.


Panfish is a general term to describe different species. This includes sunfish, bluegills, redbreast sunfish, red ear sunfish, and some warmouth.

These fish are the mainstay for many young anglers, and you can catch these by feeding on worms, bugs, and some spinnerbaits.


Grouper is another generic name for many deepwater species. These include different bottom-dwellers that are important for many fishermen.

Red grouper and gag grouper are the most popular with many anglers. Some anglers give them names like bottom fish, but they move in the shallow area during the cooler months.


Snapper is an offshore species usually found around 60 to 440 feet in many saltwater areas. The red snapper is the one with a pinkish to red, and it has a pointed anal fin. It makes it distinguishable from all the other members of the snapper family.

It is also a fact that Juvenile Red Snapper was once died by millions in shrimp trawls, but new regulations have helped this fish bounce back.

If you are looking for some good cuisine, you might need to consider having a red snapper as it is one of the most delicate food fish found in Florida waters.


This fish family includes the king Mackerel and its smaller cousin, the Spanish Mackerel. These are commonly found in the Western Atlantic Ocean from Maine to Rio De Janeiro, Brazil, to the Gulf of Mexico.

It is considered one of the state’s top ocean predators in Florida, and kingfish are the favorite target of many anglers and fishermen.

Types Of Saltwater Fishing

After learning what saltwater species to expect in Florida, you need to know different types of saltwater fishing. There is no shortage of destinations when trying to find the best spot in this state.

You can easily cast off the sands of your local beach or the planks of a pier. You are good to go as long as you are in the ocean and have the correct saltwater fishing gear.

Ultimately, choosing where to fish comes down to different practices and knowing what fish you want to catch. Here are some of the types of saltwater fishing you should check out:

Surf Fishing

When you plan to try surf fishing, you are either standing on the shoreline or wading into the surf. When you first start this activity, you might be surprised that you can catch a wide variety of fish off the shoreline.

This is aside from deep-sea game fish. You can easily catch most saltwater fish without going out onto the central ocean. This is why surf fishing is a great starting location for many beginners.

If you are leaning toward surf fishing, your fishing rod should be at least 12 and 15-feet long with extensive line guides. It would help if you combined your rod with some saltwater spinning reel and at least a 25-pound test line for better results.

Bait, shrimp, mullet, and squid are the perfect and most reliable baits for surf fishing. Shrimp tends to attract most fish species but use it with caution as they can easily pull it off the hook. Mullet and squid can last longer but be aware that they attract fewer fish species.

Bay Fishing

Many saltwater fishermen experience some of the best fishing around many reefs, hills, and shallows. They can quickly get all different saltwater fish by bay fishing as bays are coastal water bodies connected to a main body of water.

They tend to be large and enclosed, making them ideal fishing locations to find various saltwater sport fish, baitfish, and crustaceans.

You will have the most success when you bay fish with a 7-foot heavy action rod if you are bay fishing. This rod is combined with a spinning or baitcasting reel, and you can add a 20-pound monofilament line, and you are good to go.

You can bring a combination of live and artificial bait for bay fishing bait while you are out in the bay. It is recommended to bring gold metal spoons, some white bucktail job lures, and live bait like shrimp to experiment and see what the fish bite.

Deep-Sea Fishing

Deep-sea fishing is the same as saltwater fishing for many anglers looking for a challenge and adrenaline rush. It comes from a long, hard fight capturing a big game fish.

This type of saltwater fishing is not necessarily recommended for many beginners unless you have a guide. It is best suited for a more seasoned angler because you will be in the open ocean for a long time.

If you are planning to undergo deep-sea saltwater fishing, you need to have a wide variety of gamefish. You will want to bring several different rods widely depending on what fish you plan to catch.

Generally speaking, you can get by with a 6 – 7 foot medium action fishing rod and a heavy bait caster reel at about 20-pound.

The technique and experience will play a significant role in fishing bait as catching pelagic gamefish heavily rely on it. It would help if you experimented with both live and artificial baits for bottom fishing and jigging. You can cut squid, threadfin herring, deep-diving plugs, or deep-sea bottom jigs.

Ultimate Guide To Florida Saltwater Fishing

If you are a fan of saltwater fishing, you have come to the right place, as Florida can offer you this kind of activity. Whether you prefer to fish from a boat or a pier, Florida saltwater fishing is probably what you are looking for game fish or dinner.

Gulf Stream

Many gulf streams are deep, blue, and full of large game fish that can turn the shape of a rod into a pretzel. This place is where many battlers such as blue marlin, wahoo, sailfish, dolphin, kingfish, swordfish, yellowfish, and blackfin tuna reside.

Trolling lures and baits is your probably best bet, although offshore fly fishing has increased a lot in popularity nowadays.


You will be amazed how fat snook or redfish can travel in shallow waters about the length of your hand. You can even get the best results in bodies of water that are two feet or less in-depth, particularly with seagrasses and bottom contours.

It is homesteaded by crabs, shrimps, and other fish munchies. Wading is popular, as is casting from shorelines and the ultimate challenge here is sight-fishing from the boat being pulled by a guide.


Bays are considered to be relatively shallow and easier on the kidneys compared to fishing offshore. Bay waters teem with an assortment of game fish favorites.

It would be best if you took various rods and reels that are light, medium, and heavy to aptly duel with whatever slurps up your bait. Many fishier hot spots include Biscayne Bay, Florida Bay, Whitewater Bay, Chokoloskee Bay, Ponce De Leon Bay, Charlotte Harbor, and Pensacola Bay.


If you plan for saltwater fishing, you need to look for concrete or rocky jetties that line both sides of a choice spot. Many inlets are angler-friendly that can provide access and facilities.

You can be lucky to find a good casting state for shots at Tarpon, snook, redfish, jacks, and even Mackerel. This can assemble during tidal changes, and a free-line crab or shrimp with the current or lure up-current will do the trick for you.


If you do not have a bot, that does not mean that you won’t enjoy saltwater fishing. You need to walk deeper water as pier anglers regularly catch Spanish Mackerel, snook, Tarpon, sheepshead, redfish, trout, and other stars of the fishing world.

Pilings themselves serve as attractants to many fishes. Lights shown in the water at night will become fish magnets, and this is an excellent piet fishing that can be found in Broward and Miami-Dade counties and many parts of the Panhandle.


Fishing in islands, beaches, and even rocky coastal areas can be fished with good results. You need to move along quietly as fish can actually tell the slightest noises or even see you.

You can soak bait on the bottom or cast parallel to the beach to get some snook or reds hinting at the troughs for some foods.

Florida Fishing Trips

Now you understand what saltwater species and types of fishing you can do in Florida. If you have plans to go fishing, you need to educate yourself with the proper knowledge and laws in this state.

According to the 2011 National Survey for Fishing, Hunting, and Wildlife-Associated Recreation, over 3 million anglers went out fishing in this state.

A diverse range of saltwater fish species can be found, and it offers an abundance of angling opportunities. Here are some things that you might want to know before going into a wet line in the Sunshine State:

  1. The Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission can offer you saltwater license-free fishing days each year. It means that new anglers can even try out the experience of fishing in the state of Florida. You may also apply for a fishing license online, and in just one click, you will get it.

  2. Largemouth bass fishing enthusiasts might be interested in knowing that the Florida strain of largemouth generally grows faster and more prominent than northern largemouth bass.

  3. When you are fishing in Florida, you need to be aware of your surroundings all the time. Proper education is needed for wildlife that can be present in the area where you plan to fish.

    It includes alligators and different species of snakes. Always read the safety tips provided by the Commission to help you to know what to do if you encounter any of them.


In conclusion, wide varieties of saltwater fish can be seen in the Sunshine State of Florida. There are plenty of angling activities you can try to make sure you got the best catch while at the same time having fun.

Many places and techniques for tangling can produce a successful Florida saltwater fishing experience. All you should do is follow the protocols and be part of the time.

Remember to keep only the fish you will eat and then release the rest. As a result, this will ensure a healthy fishery in the future for you and the next generation of anglers.