Gulf Coast Saltwater Fishing

Spotted Seatrout

In 2007, Spotted seatrout was the most popular catch among marine recreational anglers . The species is caught in the Gulf of Mexico and the south Atlantic regions, which have the highest combined concentration of saltwater anglers in the nation.

6.8 million fish were caught in 2006. One encouraging statistic is that 75 percent of spotted seatrout caught by recreational anglers are released to grow. In Florida speckled trout are often the most sought after gamefish.


Redfish are common in the southern USA. Redfish inhabit shallow bays and esturaries, targeting crustaceans and baitfish. They are highly prized as a recreational fish. Some redfish anglers compete in national tournaments that are similar to freshwater bass fishing events. These beautiful fish are also known as red drum.

Red Snapper

Red snapper is one of the most sought after and highly prized Gulf Coast fish. Red snapper is low in saturated fat and sodium and is a very good source of protein. In 2006, Over 4.5 million pounds of red snapper, valued at over $13 million, were caught commercially in the USA.


Spot are named and identified by the distinctive dark spot above the pectoral fin It is also known as lafayette, goody, or Norfolk spot. Spot are common from Cape Cod to Florida and through the Gulf of Mexico. The species is considered both a valuable commercial and recreational species throughout its range.

Spot rarely exceed 10 inches in length. The fish are highly sought after as a food fish by both commercial and recreational fishermen. These panfish are abundant in near-shore oceanic areas, coastal bays, and estuaries.


Pinfish, also known as sailor’s choice, or pin perch is one of the most common inshore fish. It ranges from Massachusetts through the Gulf of Mexico. Pinfish known to coastal anglers as a “bait stealer,” but are sought after as a bait for other larger fish. Pinfish are abundant from Virginia south. They occur over a wide variety of bottom types but prefer vegetated bottoms. Pinfish can tolerate wide variations in temperature and salinity conditions. Pinfish reach lengths of about 15 inches, although most pinfish are 4-8 inches in length and are usually considered as baitfish.


Pigfish are colorful members of the grunt family. They are marked with a bluish upper and a silver lower body. Each scale has a blue center and bronze edge, which forms a series of yellow-brown stripes on the sides and sometimes exhibits orange bands on the snout and head. The full range of pigfish extends from Massachusetts through the Gulf of Mexico, although they are rare north of Virginia. Pigfish are caught by recreational anglers and considered to be a good quality food fish.

Pigfish have limited commercial importance, and most commercial landings come as pigfish are mixed with other grunt species. Pigfish are also used as live bait especially in Florida and the Gulf of Mexico. Pigfish reach lengths of about 18 inches, with a maximum weight of about 2 pounds. Pigfish are short lived and rarely exceed 3 years of age.

Florida Pompano

Florida Pompano range from Massachusetts to the Gulf of Mexico as well as in parts of South America. Florida Pompano are schooling fish that are often found in the surf. They average 1-2 lbs, are are highly regarded as a food fish. Florida pompano are said to bring the highest price per pound of any fish in the United States.

Blueline Tilefish

Blueline or gray tilefish (Caulolatilus microps) are another species of tilefish. They also burrow and sometimes live in communities along the bottom. Adults weigh an average of 10-25 pounds. Blueline Tilefish have firm, white meat with a mild flavor.


Amberjacks are large saltwater fish that love structure such as reefs, shipwrecks and rocky outcrops. These hard fighting fish are caught live lining baits around oil rigs, wrecks, reefs and other hotspots.

Yellowfin Tuna

Yellowfin tuna are a favorite among anglers in many parts of the USA and worldwide. These fish are found where ever there is warm water and pods of baitfish. Yellowfin travel in groups and their aggressive feeding habits sometimes get them in trouble as anglers.

Mahi Mahi

Mahi Mahi, also known as dorado or dolphin fish are fast growing, pelagic fish. They are among the most beautiful of all fish. Younger fish school in large numbers, orienting to sargasso weed or floating debri. Larger fish are loners or travel in small groups, but still orient to floating structure. The males develop a blunt forehead and grow larger than the females, sometimes reaching lengths of 5 feet and weighing 30-50 lbs.


Wahoo live in the open ocean and are common along much of the USA and Caribbean. The beautiful fish are caught in a variety of ways including trolling, jigging, fly fishing, kite fishing, live baiting and others. Their razor sharp teeth and incredible speed make wahoo a very difficult fish to land.

The author is an outdoor enthusiast, web designer and owner of several outdoor websites including Fresh Seafood, Commercial Fishing and Chesapeake Bay.

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