Florida’s Top 10 Trophy Game Fish That You Need to Catch

Floridas Top 10 Trophy Game Fish That You Need to Catch

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Catching a Florida trophy game fish is the bucket-list dream for many anglers, from beginners to experts. With the Gulf coast a hotbed for incredible game fish species, there’s no better place to go deep sea fishing for these monster Florida trophy game fish!

These fish will give you a once-in-a-lifetime experience and provide you with photos and memories that last a lifetime! If you’re interested in catching one, our private Florida fishing charters can help you do it. Contact us today to book a trip!

Top 10 Best Florida Game Fish

Tarpon

Known as the ‘Silver King’, Tarpon are incredible game fish! Hook a Tarpon and you’ll see their stunning, shimmering, silver bodies make incredible leaps from the water with gill-rattling hard runs! The adrenaline rush is unbeatable!

Tarpon can grow as big as 8ft and over 280 lbs! Usually, we’ll get our hands on one around 100 lbs. aged 11-13 years. These beauties provide a photo and story to tell the grandkids about.

The battles can last around one hour of action-packed fun. Think you’re up to the test?

Tarpon can be caught year-round in Florida, but the best time is when the water heats up between April and August. Florida, and St. Pete Beach specifically, are considered some of the best tarpon fishing locations in the world!

Florida record catch: 243 lbs.

Snook

Snook are one the best inshore Florida game fish you can catch! Their exciting fighting spirit, explosive strikes and acrobatic style guarantee a fun day out. Snook are perfect for all skill levels, even though they strike with force! With no teeth, they bite hard to swallow the bait.

Snook can be identified from their distinct line markings on their slender, silvery and yellow bodies. In Florida, they can grow up to 48 inches and 38 lbs.

Snook are also considered delicious! The firm, flaky meat will melt in your mouth. You also can’t buy them commercially, so your catch is a rare chance to try it!

Snook can be found year-round near St. Pete Beach. However, the open season is during the spring.

World Record Snook Catch: 53 lbs

Redfish

Fast-paced and Dramatic. Pit bulls of the Gulf. Say hello to Redfish!

These relentless Florida game fish can be found in impressive sizes in relatively shallow water levels, so you can often see them swimming almost within touching distance! Also known as ‘Red Drum’, they’ll make a distinct drumming sound when it’s show time.

Redfish can be caught with all kinds of casting techniques and put on a great show with fly fishing. They’re brave too! So be warned, they’re going to make you sweat!

Redfish are found inshore throughout the year, but for a bigger trophy-size catch we’ll head out to deep water!

Redfish can grow from 12 inches to 30 inches.

Florida Record Redfish Catch: 51 lbs

Grouper

Grouper are the beasts of The Gulf of Mexico! Other than maybe a Shark, there’s nothing more eye-catching than the size of a hard fought Grouper catch! Be warned; they’ll push you to your limits! Think you’re up for the challenge?

Grouper are bottom feeders, so we head out into deep sea fishing territory using live baits and heavy-duty rods. As unforgiving monsters, they’ll take your bait and flee if you’re not quick enough.

From St. Pete Beach we catch a variety of Grouper, including Gag Grouper, Red Grouper, Black Grouper, Scamp Grouper and Snowy Grouper.

But the ultimate prize is a Goliath Grouper! These beasts are the biggest of the lot. No other fish will test you like this around Florida. Weighing as much as 1,000 lbs. and up to around 8 feet, they’re incredibly intense but rewarding fish. Get your hands on one of these and you’ll be eager to frame the photo.

Grouper make for a great multi-hour fishing charter trip. Bucket list stuff!

Florida Record Goliath Grouper Catch: 680 lbs.

Shark

The name alone is enough to draw people into wanting to catch a Shark trophy fish. Their incredibly unique physique always provides an adrenaline rush once they surface, but they can also be surprisingly easy to catch.

A chunk of bait can do a great job at luring them to your line in no time. Then, you’ll quickly realize you’ve hooked a big fish! Feel your heart pounding before you finally set your eyes on one of nature’s most famous creatures.

Shark fishing can be done at night too, providing a unique bonding experience out on deeper water. Most Sharks are protected and must be released, but some species can be taken home (one per day per person and two sharks per boat per day).

Shark species in Florida include Black Tip Sharks, Black Nose Sharks, Fine Tooth Sharks, Hammerhead Sharks, Shortfin Mako Sharks and Thresher Sharks.

You and a Shark, not bad to share on your Instagram, huh?

Blacktip Shark Size: 66 to 220 lbs. and up to 8 feet

Snapper

Like Grouper, Snapper are a very popular bottom fishing Florida game fish. With Red Snapper, Mangrove Snapper, Mutton Snapper and Yellowtail Snapper in high population, they are relatively easy to catch if you go with an experienced fishing charter Captain.

The best thing about Red Snapper is their taste. They are so tasty. Catch one of these hard fighters, and you can take it home or to a nearby restaurant to have it grilled, broiled, fried or whatever style you want. They have a deliciously soft and flaky taste.

Florida Red Snapper fishing season is between June and August in 2022, and usually requires a full 6-8 hour day experience in deep sea territory.

Red Snapper Size: Up to 25 lbs. and 12 – 24 inches in length.

Jack Crevalle

Jack Crevalle are like the brawlers of the inshore waters. They’re not friendly and won’t give in easily! But from a Florida game fish perspective, they’re super fun. They’ll push you hard!

Jack Crevalle are rarely found alone and will recklessly attack your bait or artificial lures and flies. We often find them out around St. Pete Beach and the inshore waters.

Jack Crevalle Florida Record Catch: 57 Lbs.

Spanish Mackerel

These beautiful fish are delicious, fast and put on a great show. Found in the shore waters and out on the Florida beaches, they’re a real eye-pleaser. Feeding on the surface, you can see their shimmering and evocative bodies up close. They’re great for a shorter trip and all skill ranges.

Record Florida Catch: 12 lbs.

King Mackerel

If you want speed, then look no further! King Mackerel, also known as King Fish, are some of the fastest fish found in the Gulf of Mexico, making for an exhilarating experience.

Growing to over 50 lbs, they’re aggressive and can be found in schools around reefs and hard-bottomed areas of deeper waters.

Record Florida Catch: 93 lbs.

Sailfish

For our 10th fish, let’s throw in a truly unique fish! The Sailfish looks like no other game fish found off the coast of Florida.

Found while deep-sea fishing, their big goggle eyes and unique, large sailfin is a sight to behold. To catch a Sailfish, you’ll need patience, expert Captain assistance and a full-day out in the deep sea.

Other Top Florida Trophy Game Fish:

On our Florida fishing charters, we can also help you catch exciting fish such as:

  • Tuna
  • Speckled Trout
  • Bluefish
  • Permit
  • Bonefish
  • Bluegill
  • Crappie
  • Catfish
  • False Albacore
  • Cobia
  • Amberjack
  • Wahoo
  • Swordfish

Book a Snook Fishing Charter in St. Pete Beach

If you’re interested in booking a game fishing charter in Florida, then contact us today. YACHTFISH Fishing Charters provides private fishing charters to anglers of all skills and ages. With over 30 years of experience, you will have new memories for a lifetime!

Book now before we’re sold out! Let’s go fishing! CALL or TEXT: (727) 433-4200

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About the Author...
Matt Douglas

Matt Douglas

Captain Matt Douglas is the founder of YACHTFISH and is a licensed United States Coast Guard 100 ton Master Captain. Captain Matt grew up on the waters of Tampa Bay and lived and worked in Costa Rica for over 11 years. He has extensive experience in Central America, the Dominican Republic, the Bahamas and Florida. Captain Matt is a tournament-winning captain who has an intense passion for boating, fishing and creating life time memories for his Clients. These passions, combined with his experience, were the catalysts for YACHTFISH. Captain Matt is laser-focused on what he enjoys the most, and knows the best, in Tampa Bay and Costa Rica.
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