Saltwater fishing is one of the most relaxing activities you don’t want to miss out on. The fishing type offers anglers a host of amazing benefits; one of them is that it provides people with several fish options. By fishing in an ocean, you stand a chance to land various fish species, especially those bigger than freshwater fish.
Most beginners learning to saltwater fish often choose to fish from a shallow water flats boat, where they can land their target fish species, such as Redfish. However, pro anglers select from several different options, including deep-sea fishing, pier fishing, surf fishing, and flats & backwater fishing.
Depending on the type of saltwater fishing you’re using, you can always land tons of different fish species from the ocean. The clownfish, which belongs to the Pomacentridae family, is one of the most popular fish species that you’ll target while saltwater fishing.
In the rest of this post, you’ll find out more of the most popular fish species that you can catch while saltwater fishing.
What is the most popular saltwater fish?
As earlier mentioned, the Clownfish, or Ocellaris Clownfish or False Clownfish, is one of the most popular fish you can find in saltwater. These particular species are perfect beginner fish; they’re pretty much easy to care for and can survive irrespective of the size of an aquarium.
Most clownfish usually have orange skin, with three white bands (usually outlined in black) on the head and body.
Furthermore, the fish species (false clownfish) are referred to as anemonefish because they usually exist around some kinds of anemones – stinging polyps that utilize their tentacles to secure food. Anemones often spend most of their time attached to rocks, where they attract food using their tentacles that feature stinging cells called nematocysts.
Nematocysts, the stinging cells from the tentacles of anemones, often release toxins that affect any creature that comes the way of the anemones. When clownfish touches the anemones, a layer of mucus often builds up, which protects the fish species from being affected by the toxins from nematocysts.
Furthermore, clownfish are hermaphrodites, they are capable of possessing both male and female sex organs. Experts mention that the fish species have a live strategy that’s sequential hermaphroditism – they are all born male but can change to female at some point in their lives (usually during mating).
Ocellaris Clownfish are omnivores, meaning they feed on plants and animals. According to experts, the fish species enjoy feeding on worms, small crustaceans, zooplankton, and algae that exist in saltwater.
2. Green Chromis
Occupying the second spot on the list of the most popular saltwater fish is the Green Chromis. Also called Chromis Viridis, the Green Chromis are known to have a green color. However, the color often changes, depending on the lighting level of their habitat, to white or even blue with hues of green.
Green Chromis are damselfish, which are characterized by unique behavior. Unlike other damselfish species out there, these particular fish are pretty much peaceful. The only time you’ll see them displaying other damselfish behavior is during spawning – the period when the fish eject or release gametes from their body into the surrounding water.
Green Chromis are found in the Indo-Pacific, which comes from the Red Sea to a few islands, including the Line Islands and the Marquesas Islands. Furthermore, the fish, which belongs to the Pomacentridae family, has a deeply forked tail fin – this allows them to swim quickly away from predators.
Like the False Clownfish, the Green Chromis are omnivores – they feed on plants and animals. Some of what they eat include filamentous algae, phytoplankton, zooplankton, copepods, fish eggs, polychaetes, fish larvae, shrimp larvae, and amphipods.
3. Pajama Cardinalfish
Sitting on the third spot on this list is the Pajama Cardinalfish, a saltwater fish found in the Western Pacific. The aquatic species are popular because of many things; first, they possess a rainbow of colors. Apart from that, they also have brightly colored red eyes, greenish-yellow faces, silver-based bodies with a black band in the middle, and distinctive tail fins.
The Pajama Cardinalfish, scientifically known as Sphaeramia Nematoptera, is about 3.3 inches in size. They are carnivores and often feed on small crustaceans. Moreover, the fish can also eat meat, Mysis shrimp, and Brine shrimp.
One of the most interesting facts about the Pajama Cardinalfish is that they’re mouthbrooders. However, the female species don’t incubate the eggs in their mouth. Instead, the male pajama cardinalfish does the job, mouthbrooding the eggs and making sure they are safe and healthy until their hatching period.
In case you don’t know, the male pajama cardinalfish carries the eggs and even fries in his mouth for about 3-4 weeks. During this period, the fish doesn’t feed on any food.
Furthermore, as soon as the eggs are hatched, they become pajama cardinalfish fries. Usually, the newly hatched fries are large in size, aggressive, and always active enough to start feeding on food.
4. Yellowtail Blue Damselfish
The damselfish is one of the most popular fish species you can find in saltwater. They are found on most coral reefs across the world. Most damselfish are hardy, brightly colored, deep-bodied, and most often, they are characterized by forked tails.
Of all the damselfish available out there, the Yellowtail Blue Damselfish or Yellowtail Demoiselle is one of the ideal species for you – especially if you’re planning to own an aquarium in your home. The fish has a jewel-blue body and a tail with yellow color.
Speaking of the social behavior of Yellowtail Blue Damselfish, we’ll say the fish species are one of the less aggressive of all damselfish. Of course, that doesn’t mean they aren’t hostile at all.
When kept as a pair, most yellowtail blue damselfish become pretty much aggressive. That’s not all, the fish species also tend to be territorial and hostile as they grow and become older.
Like most damselfish on this list, the Yellowtail Blue Damselfish are omnivores. They feed on both plants and animals. One of what they eat is the zooplankton, they feed on this plant, especially in the wild. Furthermore, Yellowtail Blue Damselfish can also consume algae, Mysis shrimp, Brine shrimp, Cyclops, and every other planktonic food.
5. Butterfly Fish
Up next on the list of the most popular saltwater fish species out there is the butterflyfish. The fish are primarily found in the Indo-West Pacific. However, you can also come across them in some other locations, such as the tropical, subtropical, and temperate Atlantic waters.
Butterflyfish love living in shallow, rocky, and coral reefs. However, it’s worth knowing that not all of them can survive in the reef. Some can even survive in a deep reef (about 500 feet deep).
As for the physical features of butterflyfish, one of the interesting facts about them is that they have literally thin oval-shaped bodies. The benefit of this attribute is – it enables them to move freely among the rocks on a coral reef especially when they’re searching for food. However, that’s not the only feature that makes them move safely; their snouts also contribute to it.
Furthermore, butterflyfish also have a continuous dorsal fin, however, the tail fin isn’t forked like that of most popular saltwater fish. Instead, the fin of butterflyfish is usually rounded or truncated. Butterflyfish are omnivores; they feed on plants and animals, including algae, corals, crustaceans, planktonic animals, and sponges.
6. Royal Gramma Fish
The Royal Gramma fish is one of the most popular types of saltwater fish. The fish are favored by beginner anglers because of a lot of reasons. First, most fishers like them because they are peaceful and do not require much maintenance.
Apart from that, the fish are also favored because of the exceptional colors of their bodies; they come with a mix of yellow and purple colors. Furthermore, Royal Grammas are also popular among beginners because they are pretty much resistant to many regular fish diseases.
The Royal Grammas, also called Fairy basslets, belong to the family of Grammatidae. They are commonly found in the reef areas of the tropical western Atlantic Ocean.
Starting from the head, the fish has a light purple/deep violet color that fades off in the middle of its body. The color fades and a new color, golden yellow, starts from the mid-body of the fish down to its tail.
Furthermore, unlike some other saltwater fish, the Royal Grammas are slightly small in size; in fact, experts mentioned that the largest known Royal Grammas are about 3.1 inches.
The Royal Grammas are omnivores – more planktivores, as they mostly feed on planktonic food, such as zooplankton, and a few other meaty foods, including crustaceans and fish flesh.
Furthermore, the saltwater fish species are cleaner fish; they display a specialist feeding technique by rendering help to other species. Royal grammas are called cleaners because they tend to remove the ectoparasites on the bodies of other species.
7. Orange Spotted Goby
The Orange Spotted Goby are popular among beginners and experts because of a lot of reasons. First, the saltwater fish species don’t require much maintenance, and their care level is known to be pretty much easy.
The Orange Spotted Goby fish, belonging to the family of Gobiidae, are commonly found in the reef around the tropical Atlantic coast. They can grow rapidly to a length of about 3.9 inches.
The fish species possess a white body, with orange spots outlined in brown. Furthermore, the fish can form symbiotic partnerships with snapper shrimp Alpheus Floridanus, providing a watchful eye, while the shrimp build burrows that both of them share.
The Orange Spotted Goby is slightly aggressive; it’s territorial and tends to be pretty much of a threat to small ornamental shrimp. Furthermore, the fish is Carnivore. It can feed on meaty foods, including fresh or frozen Mysis shrimp, table shrimp, and vitamin-enriched Brine shrimp.
8. Bicolor Blenny
The Bicolor Blenny fish or Ecsenius Bicolor or the Flame Tail Blenny is one of the most popular saltwater fish out there. The fish species are commonly found in between crevices and rocks on the bottom of their environment. Most beginners opt for them because they are hardy and extremely easy to maintain.
In terms of behavior, the Bicolor blenny fish are slightly aggressive when placed in the same environment as their own. However, when placed alongside other fish species, the saltwater fish is mostly peaceful.
Bicolor blennies are omnivores and they like eating small-sized food. Some of what they eat include microalgae, brine shrimp, and thawed Mysis shrimp.
9. Bicolor Dottyback
Up next on the list of the most popular saltwater fish is the Bicolor Dottyback. Scientifically known as Pictichromis Paccagnellae, the bicolor Dottyback or Royal Dottyback is one of the most favored Dottybacks out there. It originates from the tropical reefs of the Central Indo-Pacific.
Starting with its description, the bicolor Dottyback has two different and bold colors. Its front half has a bright purple & slightly hot pink color, while its other half (rear) has a bright yellow color.
Furthermore, the fish is the most aggressive of all Dottybacks, meaning that it can be hostile to its own and even other fish species. However, it doesn’t get intimidated by other fish species, especially when it’s in its territory. Interestingly, the fish knows how to defend itself and protect its home from bigger fish.
Bicolor Dottybacks are omnivores, they can feed on small shrimps, such as finely chopped Mysis shrimp, vitamin-enriched brine shrimp, pellets, and flakes food. The fish are protogynous hermaphrodites; sometimes the female species can shift its sex to become male. However, when it does, it won’t be changed to shift back to its initial sex.
10. Coral Beauty Angelfish
The Coral Beauty Angelfish is one of the most popular saltwater fish that you can find on the Great Barrier Reef. The fish, also called Twospined or Dusky Angelfish has a deep royal blue body and head. However, there are also highlights of orange and yellow colors on the aquatic creature.
Coral beauty and angelfish are omnivores. They mostly feed on marine algae, Mysis shrimp, and a few meaty foods.
What is the rarest saltwater fish?
Like the most popular saltwater fish species, you need to understand that rare fish also exist in saltwater. Let’s have a quick look at a few of them below:
1. Colin’s Angelfish
Colin’s Angelfish, which originates from the Western and South Pacific, is one of the rarest saltwater fish out there. The aquatic creature comes with vibrant beauty; its head and body come with a unique yellow color, while its back has a blue/black color.
The Colon’s Angelfish are omnivores; they mainly feed on spirulina, marine algae, Mysis shrimp, and other meaty foods.
2. Fingered Dragonet
Fingered Dragonet, scientifically known as Dactylopus, is another rare saltwater species out there. The fish has a fingered fin and a dramatic metallic blue-spotted dorsal fin.
Fingered dragonets are bottom-dwelling creatures that like burrowing in sandy substrates. They are carnivores; they mainly feed on copepods, amphipods, baby brine shrimp, and meaty foods.
3. Peppermint Angelfish
Undoubtedly, the Angelfish is one of the most popular saltwater fish out there. However, the Peppermint Angelfish is one of the few rare angelfish that you can find in saltwater. The fish, which comes with a brightly colored white and red band, dwells in the reef.
The peppermint angelfish are a relatively small aquatic creature with a maximum length of 2.5 inches. A peppermint angelfish, also called Paracentropyge Boylei or Holy Grail angelfish, is very expensive and can cost up to $30,000.
The saltwater fish species are carnivores and mostly feed on worms, tunicates, detritus, crustaceans, and sponges.
What is the best saltwater fish to eat?
There are many great-tasting, deep-sea fish out there that you can try out. However, for the sake of this post, we’ll only be sharing a few of them with you below.
1. American red snapper
If you’re pretty much interested in eating saltwater fish, one of the great-tasting fish that we’ll advise you to try out is the American red snapper. The fish is one of the perfect choices for whole grilled fish and a broiled fillet. Red snappers offer a mild, sweet flavor, with a subtle nutty taste.
Apart from the red snappers, another great-tasting fish that you can try out is the Mahi-mahi. The fish species is an excellent source of healthy, lean protein. That’s not all; the fish also offers other nutrients, such as Phosphorus, Selenium, Niacin, and Vitamin B12. Furthermore, if you’ve ever tasted swordfish, mahi-mahi also offers a similar taste to the fish. The fish, which is fairly firm in texture, has a sweet, mild flavor.
3. Grey Triggerfish
The Grey Triggerfish is another saltwater fish that’s worth eating. The fish has very soft, firm, and clean white meat that offers a sweet flavor when cooked.