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Popular species of Offshore Fish

in our stretch of the Gulf of Mexico


Gag Grouper (picture #1 above)

  • Brownish gray in color with dark, worm-like side markings

  • Lack of brassy spots as found on black grouper

Goliath Grouper (picture #2 above)

  • First dorsal fin shorter than and not separated from second dorsal

  • Adults huge, up to 800 pounds

Red Grouper (picture #3 above)

  • Color brownish red

  • Lining of mouth scarlet-orange

Scamp Grouper (picture #4 above)

  • Reddish brown spots are on sides that tend to be grouped into lines

  • Some yellow around the corners of the mouth


American Red Snapper  (picture #1 above)

  • Color pinkish red over entire body, whitish below

Mangrove or Gray Snapper  (picture #2 above)

  • Dark brown or gray with reddish or orange spots in rows along the sides

  • A dark horizontal band from snout through eye is present in young only

  • Two conspicuous canine teeth are present at front of upper jaw


  • Greater amberjack are an offshore species associated with rocky reefs, debris, and wrecks.  They are typically in 60 - 240 feet of water and sometimes caught nearshore in south Florida.

  • dark stripe (variably present) extends from nose to in front of dorsal fin and "lights up" when fish is in feeding mode


  • The rounded second dorsal and anal fins are similar in size and along with a rounded tail fin, give the fish its name. The bases of those fins have scales.

  • Often found near structure and when hooked will seek to escape by heading hard for shelter.



Blacktip Shark (picture #1 above)

  • Dark, bluish-gray (young paler) back, with a distinctive whitish stripe on the flank

  • The inside tip of the pectoral fin is conspicuously black, as are the dorsal and anal fin tips, and lower lobe of caudal in young blacktips

Whale Shark (picture #2 above)

  • The whale shark is a slow-moving filter feeding shark and the largest known extant fish species. The largest confirmed individual had a length of 12.65 m and a weight of more than 21.5 metric tons,

Bull Shark (picture #3 right)

  •  The bull shark is known for its aggressive nature, predilection for warm shallow water, and presence in saltwater and brackishand freshwater systems including estuaries and rivers.

Hammerhead Shark (picture #4 right)

  • Named for the unusual and distinctive structure of their heads, which are flattened and laterally extended into a "hammer" shape called a "cephalofoil".

Nurse Shark (picture #5 right)

  • The nurse shark is a common inshore bottom-dwelling shark, found in tropical and subtropical waters on the continental and insular shelves. It is frequently found at depths of one meter or less but may occur down to 75 m (246 ft). 


The hogfish is characterized by a large, laterally compressed body shape. It possesses a very elongated snout which it uses to search for crustaceans buried in the sediment. Interestingly, this very long “pig-like” snout and its rooting behavior give the hogfish its name. The caudal or tail fin is somewhat lunate and the pectoral fins are along the lateral sides of the body with the paired pelvic fins directly below. A prominent black spot behind the pectoral fins differentiates males from females. The dorsal fin usually is composed of three or four long dorsal spines followed by a series of shorter dorsal spines.



Blackfin have oval shaped bodies, black backs with a slight yellow on the finlets, and have yellow on the sides of their body.They are the smallest of Tuna family.Great meat to eat for grilling, sushi or any way you please.



Permits can be distinguished by their elongated dorsal fins and anal fin.[1] The dorsal fin is shaped like a scythe. Permit tails are also deeply forked, and their bodies are compressed laterally, making the fish tall and thin when viewed from the front.They are very strong and fast fishing making them very sought after game fish!



  • The lower jaw protrudes past the upper jaw

  • Dark lateral stripe extends through the eye to the tail

  • First dorsal fin has 7 to 9 free spines

  • Cobia are found in nearshore and inshore waters with inlets and bays. Cobia are frequently found around buoys, pilings and wrecks in these areas.




  • Barracudas are ferocious, opportunistic predators, relying on surprise and short bursts of speed (up to 27 mph (43 km/h))[5] to overtake their prey.

  • Barracudas are snake-like in appearance, with prominent, sharp-edged, fang-like teeth, much like piranhas, all of different sizes, set in sockets of their large jaws.

  • It is known that Barracuda feed on an array of prey including fish such as jacks, grunts, groupers, snappers, small tunas, mullets, killifishes, herrings, and anchovies by simply biting them in half.




(King Mackerel)

  • Kings are schooling fish that migrate from south Florida waters in winter northward in spring. They spawn offshore in mid-summer.  

  • Kings feed on small fish and squid and take both natural and artificial baits. Live baits include pogies, herring, Spanish sardine, ballyhoo, and mullet.

  • Lures should be flashy sub-surface lures or large fish-like plugs.

  • Tampa Bay Florida is an excellent place to catch large Kingfish

  • Johns Pass/Madeira Beach is known for the "King of the Beach" tournament.


Mahi (Dolphin)

  • Bright greenish blue above, yellow on sides and has the capability to flash a wide range of colors

  • The body tapers sharply from head to tail

  • Irregular blue or golden blotches are scattered over the sides

  • Dolphin are open-ocean fish. The young live in floating sargassum weed.

  • Our area is known for smaller catches but have been known to snag nice ones too!




  • A member of the mackerel family, long and streamlined with about 30 dark wavy bars for camouflage.

  • Found offshore; generally not in schools.

  • Known for their tremendous runs and shifts of direction.

  • Wahoo are caught by trolling bait and artificial lures on flatlines.

Gray Triggerfish

  • Entirely olive-gray

  • Dorsal and anal fins marbled

  • The Triggerfish takes its common name from a set of spines the fish use to deter predators or to “lock” themselves into holes, crevices, and other hiding spots. The system can be "unlocked" by depressing a smaller, “trigger” spine.

Key West grunt

  • A body color light bluish-gray, head with horizontal blue stripes, white underbelly; black blotch on preopercle; margin of each scale bronze

  • large bright orange mouth; scales above lateral line larger than scales below lateral line.

  • audible grunting is produced by grinding of the pharyngeal teeth, with air bladder acting as amplifyer.

And lots more!


  • Porgie

  • Mackerel

  • lane snapper

  • pinfish

  • dogfish

  • catfish

  • lizardfish

  • blowfish


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