Types of Fish in the Gulf of Mexico

Every angler’s dream is to visit one of the best fishing destinations in the world. If you are an informed angler, the Gulf of Mexico should be at the top of your bucket list. This place has prolific saltwater and plenty of different fish to catch. No doubt you will have the most exhilarating fishing experience.

The Gulf of Mexico is an ocean basin with a host of fish species waiting to be caught. This place also features a marginal sea of the Atlantic Ocean and it is all yours to explore. It is well endowed with water and securely cradled by five American states. But it is not just about the body of water but the bounty of both manmade and natural fisheries that litters the Gulf.

If you are a seasoned or a pastime angler, you can explore the Gulf from 3 different angles. Nothing is off the table in this place. You can decide to go inshore, nearshore, or offshore fishing. The glory of it all is that the Gulf will always reward you with some serious game fish at the end of the day.

If you have a particular species in mind, it makes the game even better and more exciting. However, there are hundreds of species out there and your type might not be hungry enough to be lured out of the sea. But there’s always some comfort in knowing that there are several other species that can bite your bait.

Some anglers love catch-and-release just like the children’s hide-and-seek game. Others want to eat their catch of the day. Whatever your plan is with your catch, we have listed below the types of fish you can find in the Gulf of Mexico.

What Fish Can You Catch in the Gulf of Mexico?

What Fish Can You Catch in the Gulf of Mexico

The Gulf of Mexico is one of the top fishing destinations. It has hundreds and hundreds of different species of fish so you can fish till you drop! Here are some of the favorites you don’t want to miss on your next fishing pilgrimage.

1. Redfish

This is one of the fish names that will crop up quite often on your fishing trip. Especially if you are a near or offshore angler. These royalties love the shallow water and you are most likely to come across them along the grassy or rocky shorelines. They are very easy to identify from their bronze or reddish color with a white underside.

Redfish are very popular in East Texas towards the Florida Keys. You can lure them with shrimps, crabs, or even live baitfish. If it’s your lucky day, you can catch one weighing 50 lbs and the heaviest of them all. On a typical day, you should be content if you catch the normal weights that range between 10lbs to 30lbs.

2. Speckled Trout

This is yet another shallow-water commoner mostly found in the Florida Keys. They have a lot in common with the Redfish only that they are more difficult to find. This is because they love hibernating in lower salinity water and mostly at the bays.

These Speckled trout are the most popular catch, especially during the peak season. On a good day, the good Gulf can reward you with a big one weighing anywhere between 19 inches to 32 inches. If your lucky stars are not smiling at you wide enough, you can catch a typical one that weighs between 3lbs to 15lbs which is better than nothing.

3. Sharks

Most people would think that sharks are just created characters in movies. If you have been to the Gulf fisheries, you would know that they are as real as the common Tilapia. They are the largest species and they are the most common species on most anglers’ bucket lists.

The most consistently caught are the Bull Sharks which are as high as 10 ft! That is probably taller than you and that is only the average size. But these trophies just don’t come easy. You would need a lot of time, several tricks up your sleeve, and most importantly, teamwork. The other commonly caught Sharks are the Hammerheads, Tiger Sharks, and occasionally the Mago.

4. Spanish Mackerel

Spanish Mackerel love migrating like the wildebeest. They are mostly on the move between March and November through Panama Beach. The Mackerels will make your fishing spree fun and a little bit dramatic, especially at that moment they realize they have just bitten the bait.

Their small size makes them ideal for children. They weigh between 1lbs to 5lbs and they can never be longer than your arm. Their progressive length is from 12 inches to 24 inches which makes them manageable.

5. Tuna

Your favorite Tuna are apparently very easy to catch, but it depends on the type you want. If you are down in Florida, you won’t miss either the Blackfin or the Yellowfin tuna. But the Blackfin tuna are the more prevalent and easy ones in this area.

However, if you must catch and eat the Yellowfin tuna before you end your fishing trip, you might have to go all the way down to Louisiana oil rigs. Here they are in plenty and easy to catch.

6. Amberjack

Amberjacks are the heaviest and most violent fish to catch. Most of them weigh over 100 lbs and they require teamwork to be subdued. The fight never ends for them after biting the bait, they will still give you a spirited one when being reeled in.

They are mostly known among seasoned anglers as fish donkeys. Perhaps because of their stubbornness. They mostly inhabit deep artificial reefs and they are the best choice for catch-and-release. Besides their stubbornness, they are also clever, and you’d need live bait.

7. Sheepshead

Someone once joked that this species looks a lot like a sheep. This idea couldn’t be remote because of the protruding teeth and the vertical bands. They are also known as Convict Fish or Bay Snapper.

Sheepsheads are very small in size but catching them is a real hustle. Perhaps it is because of their fins which are quite heavy and strong. The fish itself weighs less than 4 lbs and they are most common in rocky areas. Perhaps you should consider shellfish, small crabs, or shrimps to lure them to the bait. 

What Are Some of the Fishing Trips in the Gulf of Mexico?

This Gulf is ecologically diverse, and it has a lot of fun experiences to offer. What else would you rather be doing in this place with your loved ones other than angling? You will most probably experience all those fish you ever read about and watched on TV if you make one of these trips.

Deep-Sea Fishing

If you are water phobic, this sea trip is definitely not for you. However, if you are a sea lover, you will have an experience with all the fish species you have ever imagined. It is spectacular out there. You have to be 10 to 100 miles off the shore to catch the drill.

You could either do bottom fishing or trolling. You could also do drift fishing and jigging all day long. This fishing trip is the most rewarding, but it can be limited due to weather conditions. You will get to meet rare species like Wahoo, Mackerels, Jack, and Sailfish on this trip.

Bay and Jetty Fishing

If you can’t go deep into the sea because of the children, this is the second-best fishing trip you can ever do in the Gulf of Mexico. You can even make it better and more fun. Try bottom fishing and see how exciting and rewarding it gets.

Besides that, this fishing trip does not limit the variety of fish species you will catch. If you are lucky enough, you can occasionally bump into sharks and dolphins. But what could make you feel like you are truly on a vacation other than watching the dolphins’ spectacular flights?

Shark Fishing

A Shark fishing trip can be quite limiting since it only happens between May and September. Besides that, it would be hard to tag your children along especially if they are still young. However, if you can work around this, you will see as many Sharks as you can ever see in your lifetime.

You can use either live or dead bait to lure the shark. You can imagine the adrenaline rush that comes with the thought of catching a real one! They are fun but very melodramatic to catch.

These giants are relentless fighters and it would take a mob to subdue them. Despite all that, Shark Fishing will give you the wildest experience and fondest memories to take with you.


Summer is not far off, and you are probably planning a fulfilling fishing trip. Whether it is a personal or a corporate trip, you wouldn’t want to miss out on what the Gulf of Mexico has to offer.

The spectacular varieties of fish species and the exciting fishing trips are definitely what you want to do this year!

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