Types of Fish That You Can Catch in Florida

Florida fishing grounds are second to none when it comes to diversity and tourist attractions. The state houses more than 7000 freshwater lakes, 10 000 miles of river, and 2500 miles of seashore, which ultimately enhances its attractiveness for high-end fishing.

Whether you are a sports fisher or a weekend warrior looking for a delicious catch, you have a variety of options to consider. Below is the list of the most popular fish you should try catching while you are in Florida.

What Is the Most Popular Fish to Catch?

There are a number of fish types you can successfully catch in Florida waters. Everything from Tarpon to Snook and Largemouth Bass to Mackerel on the list triggers thousands of anglers hit Florida waters every year.

1. Tarpon

If you look for a challenging, top-notch fighter fish, Tarpon makes the best choice for you. Known for its fighting capabilities and balanced shape, it is undoubtedly a top-notch contestant for tournament fishing. The best thing about this game fish is its extensive availability. You can find this thing in a variety of Florida waters. 

Massive resistance in Tarpon comes from its well-balanced shape and weight. The average fish can weigh up to 200 lbs. That is why we always recommend our readers equip themselves with an excellent combination of equipment to avoid any surprises on the big day.

2. Speckled Trout

Spotted Sea Trout are usually found in grassy environments in shallow waters. It makes the perfect choice for people who are looking for a fish with a perfectly refreshing taste. Speckled trout is easier to catch compared to Tarpon and does not require high-end equipment for a successful catch. 

You can catch them extensively on the west coast, in particular, in St. Petersburg. You can use shrimp and small baitfish to get your first catch. These silver-colored fish usually feature dark spots throughout the body and taste great at dinner.

3. Mackerel

King mackerel is another fighting fish that put up a great fight. Florida’s version of king mackerel (Scomberomorus cavalla) resembles Spanish mackerel in weight and overall body appearance. The most suitable fishing grounds for king mackerel include the Gulf of Mexico and Florida’s Atlantic Ocean. 

This tournament fish is highly famous for its quick speed. If you are looking to catch King Mackerel, be prepared for a top-notch fightback from the fish. Moreover, we would recommend you remove the dark lateral line for a delicious dish in the evening.

4. Sailfish

Sailfish is the official marine water fish of Florida state. It is commonly found in tropical and subtropical waters. Sailfish is primarily a game fish that puts up a great fight. As far as taste is concerned, the fish seems refreshing. However, we would not advise you to eat sailfish as it contains a massive percentage of Mercury that is harmful if taken in excessive amounts.

However, catching sailfish is one of the most challenging jobs you would ever do. It is a deep-water fish and requires you to search hundreds and thousands of feet. That is why only a few anglers go for sailfish hunting, as it involves plenty of time, effort, and money.

5. Dorado

Dorado is one of those few saltwater fish types that taste delicious. The best thing about Florida Dorado (Coryphaena hippurus) is that you can easily catch it at night from a fishing pier. It is mainly found in temperate regions of the world. 

Dorado features bright skin that also helps anglers enjoy successful catches. In Florida, the best place to capture some Dorados is the Gandy Fishing Pier. It is located between Tampa and St. Petersburg in Florida. 

6. Grouper

Grouper is a deep water species that live in deep waters. These are equally attractive to both professional anglers and hobbyists. The distinguishing aspect of Grouper is its weight. Generally, many fish types in the grouper category are heavier and bulkier. As a result, anglers have to put in strenuous effort for a successful catch. 

However, you will have to wait for the next Winter if you want to avoid deep-sea fishing to catch Grouper. With the help of artificial lures, it becomes possible to capture the Grouper in shallow waters during colder months. 

7. Snook

Snook is famous for its taste and the fight it puts up. The silverfish features a lateral line that enhances the capacity of the fish to fight back well. The most significant aspect of Florida Snook (Centropomus undecimalis) is that anyone can spot them near docks or boats on the coast. 

As far as taste is concerned, the flavor and aroma of Snook are way better than many other fish types on the list. All in all, Snook is one of our top picks as it offers both the taste and ease of hunting.

8. Bonefish

Florida’s Bonefish (Albula vulpes) is one of the most famous fish that anglers love throughout the country. However, successfully catching a bonefish requires users to go through strenuous handling of many complicated things. That is why the successful catch ratio of Bonefish is way smaller than many others on the list.

When it comes to eating and the flavor of the fish, we would not recommend our readers eat one. That is why only a few percent of anglers try catching Bonefish in Florida.

9. Largemouth Bass

The next on our list is something that nearly everyone likes; yes, we are talking about Largemouth Bass. The fish is extensively available throughout the state’s lake besides many southern areas. In particular, there are many lakes and river spots if you live in the surrounding areas of Tampa, Florida.

The biggest thing about Largemouth Bass is its taste. The fish seems perfectly delicious if you cook it the right way. Additionally, the process of hunting this fish type is relatively straightforward and easy. All you need is a quality plastic worm jig to enjoy successful bass hunting with a perfect success ratio.

10. Redfish

Florida’s Redfish (Sciaenops ocellatus) is also known as Red Drum. Crabs and mollusks are the favorite foods for Redfish. They are extensively found in oyster beds throughout the state. It features an excellent combination of weight and a balanced body that helps it put up an incredible fight.

When it comes to taste, Redfish has a separate fan base. Contrary to many other fish types, the flesh of Redfish is sweeter and softer which offers a satisfying dining experience. All in all, you must go for Florida’s Redfish hunt if you plan to go fishing soon. 

What Kind of Fish Are in Florida Lakes?

There are hundreds of freshwater fish species that are found in freshwater lakes in Florida. Below are the most important ones among them:

1. Bluegill

Bluegill is one of the most extensively available fish species in Florida. You can find them in several lakes and rivers throughout the state. Most importantly, they prefer shallow waters with green surroundings. It comes in multiple sizes that mainly vary between 2 and 11 inches. The flesh is transparent white and tastes sweeter. 

2. Butterfly Peacock

This type of fish is extensively available in southeastern regions of Florida. It is usually found in tropical freshwater environments, including rivers and canals.

It bears an extraordinary weight of more than 20 pounds on average and puts up excellent resistance. The most significant advantage of Butterfly Peacock is that it eliminates undesired fish species in these environments.

3. Catfish

Catfish are another notable species that are extensively found in Florida’s freshwaters. Generally, insects, crayfish, snails, and mussels are the natural feed of many catfish species.

The most important thing about them is that you can use various bait types to capture them. For instance, you can use worms, aquatic plants, fermented grains, and minnows as bait.

4. Whiper

Whisper is a hybrid fish type that comes from the cross between White and Striped species of Bass. The overall physical aspects of the fish enable rapid growth that makes this fish type a top priority for stocking.

The average weight varies between 2 and 30 pounds, depending upon the quality of the feed. Moreover, using gizzard shad as bait can help you enjoy a better catch ratio. 

5. Striped Bass

The natural habitat for Striped Bass is marine water. However, the fish migrates to Florida’s freshwaters for breeding. It is more active in the winter seasons, and you can easily find it in the St. Johns River and other similar locations in Florida. We would recommend you to use Threadfin Shad as bait for a higher catch ratio. 

6. Black Acara

You can look for Black Acara in canals, and lakes besides shallow roadside drainage. The typical fish size is around 8 inches with a nearly 4-ounce weight.

They are absent in brackish water because it does not suit their physical characteristics. You may go for this type of fish for fun and learning in the initial days of your angling career.


Florida is a popular destination for a wide range of fishing pursuits. We have covered many fresh and marine water species that you can quickly try while in Florida to fish. In particular, you can try Redfish, Bluegill, Snook, Dorado, and Tarpon if you are going for the first time. 

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