Marco Island Florida 


Florida Fish Identification


Shortfin Mako

Average Length -8'
Largest Caught - 1,000 lbs.
Found - Offshore near surface
Best Baits - Any small fish such as mullet or jack


Atlantic Sharpnose Shark

Average Size -3 lbs.
Found - In surf and in bays
Feeds - On small fish & crustaceans


Sandbar Shark

Average Size -75 lbs.
Found - Usually nearshore in 60 to 200 ft. depths.


Bonnethead Shark

Average Size - 3 to 4 ft.
Found - Inshore in bays & estuaries
Best Baits - Any small fish such as mullet or jack
Best Baits - Feeds on crabs


Scalloped Hammerhead

Average Length - 6 to 14 ft.
Found - Offshore and inshore
Best Baits - Feeds on fish, squid & stingrays


Ladyfish

Average Size - 2 to 3 lbs.
Found - Inshore and nearshore
Best Baits - Shrimp, mullet, jigs & spoons. Excellent fighting fish that leaps out of water when hooked.
Edibility - NOT EDIBLE


Tarpon

Average Size - 40 lbs.
Found - Inshore and around inlets
Best Baits - Live fish, feathers & plugs
Edibility - NOT EDIBLE


Bonefish

Average Size - 3 lbs.
Found - Inshore and on flats mainly in the keys
Best Baits - Shrimp, jigs
Edibility - NOT EDIBLE


Common Snook

Average Size - 5 lbs.
Found - Inshore around mangroves, seawalls and bridges, also nearshore on reefs.
Best Baits - Shrimp, mullet, jigs, feathers, mirrolures and zara spooks
Edibility - Excellent


Black Grouper

Average Size - 8 lbs.
Largest Caught - 67 lbs.
Found - Offshore near reefs
Best Baits - Live or cut bait, also feathers & jigs
Edibility - Excellent


Gag Grouper

Average Size - 5lbs.
Largest Caught - 25 lbs.
Found - Offshore near reefs
Best Baits - Live or cut bait, also feathers & jigs
Edibility - Excellent


Jewfish

Average Size - 50 lbs.
Largest Caught - 735 lbs.
Found - Nearshore around docks, bridges & deep holes.
Best Baits - Live or cut bait, also feathers & jigs
Edibility - Excellent


Nassau Grouper

Average Size - 8 lbs..
Found - Mostly south Florida nearshore and offshore near reefs.
Edibility - Excellent


Red Grouper

Average Size - 6 lbs.
Largest Caught - 35 lbs.
Found - Offshore on reefs
Best Baits - Live or cut bait
Edibility - Excellent


Scamp

Average Size - 8 lbs.
Largest Caught - 17 lbs.
Found - Nearshore reefs on north east coast and offshore reefs in the Gulf
Best Baits - Live or cut
Edibility - Excellent


Yellowfin Grouper

Average Size - 6 lbs.
Largest Caught - 50 lbs.
Found - Offshore on reefs south of Florida
Best Baits - Live or cut bait
Edibility - Excellent


Bluefish

Average Size - 2 lbs.
Largest Caught - 24 lbs.
Found - Inshore and offshore around bridges, piers, inlets and in the surf.
Best Baits - Live or cut mullet or spoons
Edibility - Fair


Cobia

Average Size - 12 lbs.
Largest Caught - 149 lbs.
Found - Inshore in bays and around mangroves and offshore around buoys and wrecks
Best Baits - Live shrimp, fish or artificials
Edibility - Good


Blue Runner

Average Size -1 lb.
Largest Caught - 6lbs.
Found - Inshore, nearshore, and offshore
Best Baits - Shrimp, squid, feathers, spoons
Edibility - Fair


Creuvalle Jack

Average Size - 5lbs.
Largest Caught - 50lbs.
Found - Inshore and offshore
Best Baits - Live or dead bait feathers or spoons
Edibility - Poor although very good if smoked


Greater Amberjack

Average Size - 18 lbs.
Largest Caught - 138 lbs.
Found - Offshore on reefs
Best Baits - Live or cut bait
Edibility - Fair


Palometa

Average Size - 2 lbs.
Largest Caught - 8 lbs.
Found - Mostly in South Florida on sandy beaches and bays
Best Baits - Shrimp, sand fleas, & antificals
Edibility - Good


Permit

Average Size - 3 lbs.
Largest Caught - 20 lbs.
Found - Offshore on wrecks, in the surf, and inshore on grass floats
Best Baits - Shrimp, sand fleas, & antificals
Edibility - Good


Florida Pompano

Average Size - 2 lbs.
Largest Caught - 9 lbs.
Found - Inshore and just off shore on sandy beaches, near oyster beds or grass beds
Best Baits - Shrimp, sand fleas & white bucktails with a red head
Edibility - Excellent



Dolphin

Average Size - 15 lbs.
Largest Caught - 77 lbs.
Found - Offshore in warm waters, in the gulfstream and around weed lines or floating debris
Best Baits - Troll with balao or antificials
Edibility - Excellent


Blackfin Snapper

Average Size - 18"
Found - Offshore near continental shelf
Best Baits - Live or cut bait
Edibility - Excellent


Cubera Snapper

Average Size - 6 lbs.
Largest Caught - 104 lbs.
Found - Inshore in grass beds, nearshore at inlets and offshore at reefs and wrecks
Best Baits - Shrimp and cut bait
Edibility - Excellent


Dog Snapper

Average Size - 2 lbs.
Largest Caught - 110 lbs.
Found - Offshore over rocky reefs and inshore when young
Best Baits - Shrimp and cut bait
Edibility - Good


Gray Snapper

Average Size - 2 lbs.
Largest Caught - 59 lbs.
Found - Inshore in mangroves and grass beds and offshore in reefs.
Best Baits - Shrimp and cut bait
Edibility - Excellent


Lane Snapper

Average Size - 12 oz.
Largest Caught - 8 lbs.
Found - Inshore in grass beds, offshore over reefs
Best Baits - Shrimp and cut bait
Edibility - Excellent


Mutton Snapper

Average Size - 4 lbs.
Largest Caught - 32 lbs.
Found - Inshore in grass beds, mangroves, and canals, offshore on reefs
Best Baits - Cut bait and crabs
Edibility - Excellent


Red Snapper

Average Size - 7 lbs.
Largest Caught - 36 lbs.
Found - Offshore on continental shelf. *Most plentiful off panhandle, although can be caught off the east coast off reefs
Best Baits - Cut bait or crabs
Edibility - Excellent


Schoolmaster

Average Size - 2 lbs.
Largest Caught - 8 lbs.
Found - Inshore on grass flats, near shore on coral reefs, and sometimes on continental shelf
Best Baits - Shrimp, sardines, crabs
Edibility - Good


Yellowtail Snapper

Average Size - 12 inches
Largest Caught - 7 lbs.
Found - Inshore on grass beds, offshore in sandy areas near reefs
Best Baits - Shrimp and cut bait
Edibility - Excellent


Sheepshead

Average Size - 2 lbs.
Largest Caught - 15 lbs.
Found - Inshore around oyster bedss, seawalls, and bridges. Also found at inlets and offshore at reefs
Best Baits - Shrimp, sand fleas, crabs, and clams
Edibility - Fair


White Grunt

Average Size - 1 lb.
Largest Caught - 6 lbs.
Found - Inshore and offshore on hard or rocky bottoms
Best Baits - Shrimp and cut bait
Edibility - Good


Atlantic Croaker

Average Size - 1 1/2 lbs.
Largest Caught - 6 lbs.
Found - Usually north of Tampa Bay on west coast or north of Cape Canaveral on east coast. Young fish found in estuaries, older fish found offshore and in the surf around inlet piers
Best Baits - Shrimp
Edibility - Excellent


Black Drum

Average Size - 9 lbs.
Largest Caught - 115 lbs.
Found - Inshore around oyster beds and bridges. Also around inlets and piers. Offshore around reefs.
Best Baits - Shrimp, clams, crabs
Edibility - Good


Red Drum

Average Size - 8 lbs.
Largest Caught - 83 lbs.
Found - Inshore on grass flats and oyster flats, around inlets, and offshore
Best Baits - Live shrimp or mullet or artificial lures
Edibility - Excellent


Spotted Seatrout

Average Size - 1 lb.
Largest Caught - 15 lbs.
Found - Inshore on grass flats, move into deep water when cold. Also found at inlets and the surf
Best Baits - Shrimp, mullets, & jigs
Edibility - Good


Atlantic Spadefish

Average Size - 1 lb.
Largest Caught - 9 lbs.
Found - Inshore and nearshore around reefs, inlets, & piers
Best Baits - Shrimp and fiddler crabs or sand fleas
Edibility - Good


Fantail Mullet

Average Size - 1/2 lb.
Found - Inshore in estuaries and near shore in the surf
Best Baits - bread or pieces of white worm
Edibility - Fair


Striped Mullet

Average Size - 2 lbs.
Largest Caught - 23 lbs.
Found - Inshore and Offshore
Best Baits - Bread, white worm or cast net
Edibility - Good smoked


Cero

Average Size - 3 lbs.
Largest Caught - 15 lbs.
Found - Offshore over coral reefs or wrecks mostly in South Florida.
Best Baits - Cut bait, squid, troll with balao, or artificials
Edibility - Good


King Mackerel

Average Size - 8 lbs.
Largest Caught - 82 lbs.
Found - Offshore on both coasts
Best Baits - Cut baits or feathers
Edibility - Good


Spanish Mackerel

Average Size - 2 lbs.
Largest Caught - 18 lbs.
Found - Nearshore and offshore
Best Baits - Shrimp, cut baits, spoons, and feathers
Edibility - Excellent


Swordfish

Average Size - 8 fr.
Largest Caught - 612 lbs.
Found - Offshore worldwide
Best Baits - squid and octopus
Edibility - Excellent


Longbill Spearfish

Average Size - 14 lbs.
Largest Caught - 61 lbs.
Found - Offshore in deep water
Best Baits - Squid or artificials


Blue Marlin

Average Size - 7 ft.
Largest Caught - 980 lbs.
Found - Offshore in blue water
Best Baits - Squid, black fin tuna, or mackeral, and artificials


White Marlin

Average Size - 60 lbs.
Largest Caught - 161 lbs.
Found - Offshore in blue water
Best Baits - Squid, small fish, and artificials


Sailfish

Average Size - 5 ft.
Largest Caught - 116 lbs.
Found - Offshore, usually in the Gulfstream from Daytona Beach south
Best Baits - Trolled or artificial balao
Edibility - Fair


Gulf Flounder

Average Size - 2 lbs.
Largest Caught - 17 lbs.
Found - Inshore on sands or muddy bottom, around inlets, and nearshore rocky reefs
Best Baits - Live shrimp, finger mullets, or mud minnows
Edibility - Excellent


Ocean Sunfish

Average Size - 500 lbs.
Largest Caught - 2000 lbs.
Found - Offshore, usually near the surface
Best Baits - Small fish


Great Barracuda

Average Size - 5-15 lbs.
Largest Caught - 85 lbs.
Found - Inshore and offshore usually around reefs
Best Baits - Live or cut baits, tube lures, spoons, and trolled lures
Edibility - Good up to 5 lbs.
Caution: Larger fish can be poisonous

Common baitfish


Ballyhoo

 

Average Length -10"-12' 
Found - Offshore around reefs and shoals
Best methods - chum with chicken mash or bread, then use cast nets or small hooks tipped with shrimp Frozen Ballyhoo is sold in most bait shops.
Use to catch -all large offshore fish like Dolphin, Marlin, Sailfish, Kingfish, & more. Best used rigged and trolled behind a boat: also good live bait .


Stripped Mullet

Average Size -4"-12" can get to 10#
Found - all over the state in inshore and near shore shallow waters, canals & estuaries
Best methods - cast net or use small hooks with a dough ball for bait, or use a small piece of a white plastic worm. Frozen mullet are sold in most bait shops.
Use to catch - when small they are called finger mullet and are excellent bait for most inshore species like Snook, Trout& Redfish They are best used live but are still good when dead. When the mullet are larger they are good bait for Sailfish, Marlin, Dolphin & Tuna.


Scaled Sardine  ( Pilchard )

Average Size - 3-6"
Found - inshore around grassy flats and offshore near markers reefs and wrecks.
Best method- either cast netted or chummed up with grain or oatmeal and then caught with small hooks or pilchard rings which is a long chain of rings the fish swim through and get trapped.
Use to catch - Snook, Tarpon, Snapper Grouper, Cobia, Kingfish, & more .can be used live or dead especially on reefs:  also makes excellent chum.


Spanish Sardine

Average Size - 2 -4 in. reaches 10"
Found - on inshore flats and also in deep water
Best method- will respond to chum and can be cast netted or taken on tiny hooks. Frozen Sardines are sold in most bait shops.
Use to catch - Snook, Tarpon, Snapper Grouper, Cobia, Kingfish, & more . Can be used live or dead especially on reefs : also makes excellent chum.


Gulf Manhaden

Average Length -8"
Found - in the surf around piers & inlets and in the river estuaries .and offshore around wrecks, reefs, & shoals.
Best methods -  small hooks tipped with shrimp or cast net.
Use to catch -Dolphin, Kingfish, Grouper, Snapper & more.

 



Bay  Anchovi  (Glass minnow)

Average Length -1"-3"
Found - offshore and near shore.
Best methods -  seines , dip nets & cast nets
Use to catch -most are too small to catch any large fish but you can catch small Snapper Flounder & others. Most often used as chum and can be bought in bait stores frozen.


Atlantic Herring  (Greenie)

.Average Length -4"-6"
Found - inshore and offshore
Best methods -  small hooks tipped with shrimp or cast net.
Use to catch -small ones 3"-4" are good bait for  Flounder, Redfish, Trout ,Snook & more. Best used live and either free lined or fished on the bottom.  Offshore they are good for Kingfish, Dolphin, Cobia, Snapper, Grouper & more.


Stripped   Anchovi

Average Length -2'-6"
Found - offshore and near shore.
Best methods -  seines ,dip nets & cast nets
Use to catch -Bluefish, Mackerel, Kingfish,& more.

 


Pigfish

Average Length -3"-4"
Found - inshore in the river and bays
Best methods -  small hooks tipped with shrimp. They sell traps for pigfish and many bait shops sell them live.
Use to catch -small ones 3"-4" are good bait for  Flounder, Redfish, Trout ,Snook & more.  Best used live and either fished under a popping cork or fished on the bottom

 


Pinfish  ( Sailors choice ) 
    


.Average Length  3"-4"  
                          Found - inshore and offshore, near bridges, piers, jettys, & reefs
Best methods -  small hooks tipped with shrimp or cast net.
Use to catch -Snook, Kingfish, Snapper, Grouper & most reef fish.

 


Atlantic Croaker

Average Length -3"-12"
Found - in the surf around piers & inlets and in the river and estuaries
Best methods -  small hooks tipped with shrimp or cast net.
Use to catch -small ones 3"-4" are good bait for  Flounder, Redfish, Trout ,Snook & more. Best used live and either free lined or fished on the bottom. Larger ones are good for Tarpon, Snook, sailfish, Marlin, kingfish& Shark.

 


Leather Jack

Average Length -10"-12' 
Found - offshore around reefs and grassy shoals
Best methods -  small hooks tipped with shrimp or cast net.
Use to catch -Dolphin, Sailfish, & Marlin.


Blue Runner

Average Length -10"-16"
Found - in the surf around piers & inlets and in the river and offshore
Best methods -  small jigs or feathers 
Use to catch -Sailfish & Marlin


Ladyfish

Average Size - 2 to 3 lbs.
Found - inshore and near shore
Best Baits - shrimp, mullet, jigs & spoons. 
Use to catch-  Tarpon, Snook, sailfish, Marlin, kingfish& Shark.

 


Fantail mullet

Average Size -4"-12" 
Found - all over the state in inshore and near shore shallow waters, canals & estuaries
Best methods - cast net or use small hooks with a dough ball for bait, or use a small piece of a white plastic worm. Frozen mullet are sold in most bait shops.
Use to catch - when small they are called finger Mullet and are excellent bait for most inshore species like Snook, Trout & Redfish. They are best used live but are still good when dead. When the Mullet are larger they are good bait for Sailfish, Marlin, Dolphin& Tuna.

 


Round Scad  (Cigar minnow}

Average Length -6"-8"
Found - in the surf and offshore.
Best methods - use bait rigs  or cast net. Can be bought frozen at most bait shops.
Use to catch -Snook, Cobia, Kingfish & more.


Blue Crab

Average Size -3"-6"
Found - all over the state in inshore and near shore shallow waters, canals & estuaries
Best methods - crab traps, or dip nets.
Use to catch - when small they are good for Sheepshead,Drum,Pompano, Permit and Redfish. Larger ones are good for large Drum, Grouper, & Snapper.


Florida Shrimp

Average Size -4"-8"
Found - all over the state inshore and offshore 
Best methods - cast net or dip net, They are also sold live and frozen at most bait shops.
Use to catch - just about any saltwater fish .

 

Fiddler Crab

Average Size -1"-2"
Found - all over the state inshore , near waters edge, usually near mudd. They live in holes that they dig in the mud, At high tide these holes are covered by water.
Best methods - walk near waters edge during a low tide and you will see the crabs crawling on the ground. When they see you, they will scurry down thier  holes. When they do this take a schovel and scoop up some dirt and toss it in a bucket
Use to catch - Sheepshead, Drum, whiting, Pompano, Permit,& more.

 


Sand Flea

Average Size -1"-2"
Found - all over the state in the surf.
Best methods - Walk in the surf at the waters edge and look for ripples in the sand when the waves recede. Use both hands to scoop up the sand and throw it in a bucket If there are any sand fleas in the sand you will see them in the bucket
Use to catch - Pompano, Permit, Whiting, Drum, Sheepshead, & more.

   
 

 

 

 

 

 


Back to Marco Sun

www.marcosun.com