The Gulf waters of Southwest Florida offers a wide variety of Saltwater Fish. The most popular species are the Snook, Tarpon and Redfish. But while your out on the waters you will also come across a haldful of Crevalle Jacks, Black Drums, Sea Trout, Snapper, Sharks and Grouper. Below you will find some general information of each listed here.
Snook are found from central Florida south, usually inshore in coastal and brackish waters. They are also common along mangrove shorelines, seawalls, and bridges. Snook are also on reefs and around pilings near-shore. They congregate in large schools during summer in deep passes and inlets to spawn. Snook begin life as males, but between 18 and 22 inches long some become females. Spawning occurs primarily in summer. Snook school along shore and in passes during spawning season. They feed on fish and large crustaceans.
Chin without barbels Copper-bronze body; lighter in clear waters, 1 to many spots at the base of the tail. Mouth horizontal and opens downward, Large scales. In winter, Redfish are found in sea grass, over muddy or sand bottoms, or near oyster bars or spring fed creeks. Juvenile Redfish are an inshore species until they reach roughly 30 inches (4 years). They then migrate to the near shore population.
Tarpon have a distinctive dorsal fin ray that extends into a long filament, a large upward pointing mouth and very large scales. Primarily inshore fish, preferring shallow estuaries around mangrove forests, salt marshes or hard-bottom/seagrass communities of the Keys. They tolerate a wide salinity range, and as juveniles, enter fresh waters. Tarpon can gulp air and remove oxygen by means of lung-like tissue near their swim bladder. This "rolling" effect is one way to spot tarpon.
Color bluish-green to greenish-gold back and silvery or yellowish belly, Soft dorsal and anal fins almost identical in size, Prominent black spot on operculum (gill cover), Black spot at the base of each pectoral fin, No scales on throat. Crevalel Jacks are common in both inshore waters and the open sea. These fish can tolerate a wide range of salinities. Typically, schools will corner a school of bait-fish at the surface and feed with commotion that can be seen at great distances.
High arched back, 10 to 14 pairs of chin barbels. Gray or black colored body in adults with the young have 4 to 6 vertical black bars.Cobblestone-like teeth are capable of crushing oysters & Large scales. Black drum are an inshore fish common to bays and lagoons. They are bottom dwellers and often found around oyster beds. Black drum may also be found offshore. The largest member of the drum family, black drum spawn near-shore in the winter and early spring.
Usually 1-2 pounds; common on both coasts to about four pounds. Largest fish, both in average size and maximum size, come from East Central region, where fish to 10 pounds are taken at times and where potential is to 15 pounds or more. Gulf Coast trout are considered large at 5-8 pounds, but can top 10.World and Florida records 17 pounds, 7 ounces. Not exceedingly strong or active, but a hard striker on a variety of baits and quite sporty on light gear. Showy, surface-thrashing fighter but not a long runner. Sometimes jumps.
Color is generally red, with yellowish caudal, anal, and pelvic fins. Distinctive and prominent dark comma-shaped blotch at the base of the pectoral fins, which gives the fish its common name. The anal fin is rounded, No black spot found on the side underneath dorsal fin. Adult blackfin snapper are found offshore near the continental shelf. Blackfin snapper are sometimes marketed as red snapper. They feed on smaller fishes. This species is not currently eligible for a state record.
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. First dorsal fin begins above the axil of pectoral fin with no middorsal ridge. Upper and lower teeth are serrated and nearly symmetrical. Blacktips often come inshore in large schools, particularly in association with Spanish mackerel. Frequently the most common shark in clear-water cuts and along beaches in Florida and Bahamas.
Color highly variable greenish olive or bright red with longitudinal rows of darker black blotches over entire fish; outer one third of pectoral fins bright yellow; lower parts of larger fish with small bright red spots. OFFSHORE on reefs off southern portions of Florida. Undergoes sex reversal from female to male in latter part of life; specific name translates to "venomous," alluding to the fact that this fish, perhaps more frequently than other groupers, is associated with ciguatera poisoning; feeds on fish and squid.