Top 10 Trophy Game Fish to Catch in St. Petersburg, Florida

Top 10 Trophy Game Fish to Catch in St. Petersburg, Florida

Table of Contents

Trophy game fish are the ultimate prizes for any angler, and St. Petersburg remains a prime destination to reel in these impressive catches. The Gulf Coast’s ongoing popularity for deep-sea fishing makes it an ideal spot to target these sought-after species.

Jump aboard with YACHTFISH to learn about the thrilling trophy game fish you can catch on your private fishing charter trip. Each fish promises a unique thrill and challenge that will be as unforgettable as the day on the water.

1. Tarpon

Tarpon, often hailed as “Silver Kings,” stands out as one of the most coveted trophy game fish in St. Petersburg. These majestic creatures migrate seasonally and prefer warm, shallow waters. They’re commonly found in estuaries, bays, and coastal regions.

Tarpon fishing offers thrilling battles and acrobatic displays, making it a favorite among anglers. To increase your chances of catching this magnificent fish, target them during their migration period from April to August. Use live bait like mullet or crabs, and employ heavy tackle to withstand their strength. Be prepared for long battles!

2. Snook

Snook are highly sought after in St. Petersburg for their explosive strikes and fast reflexes. These predatory fish use ambush tactics around structures like mangroves and docks. The excitement of a Snook attack makes every catch an adrenaline-filled experience.

Snook meat is known for its delicious taste. The Snook fishing season starts in spring, allowing anglers to reel in these fish during a great day on the open water.

3. Redfish

Redfish, also known as Red Drum, are among the most sought-after trophy fish in Florida, particularly the larger “Bull Reds,” which can weigh up to 50 pounds and provide a significant challenge to both fishing skills and equipment.

These fish are highly prized among anglers for several reasons: the thrill of sight fishing on shallow water flats, the distinctive drumming noise they produce using their swim bladders, and the memorable experience of catching a Bull Red, which requires a combination of strength, technique, and patience.

4. Grouper

St. Petersburg’s offshore reefs and wrecks are home to a diverse range of Grouper species, each offering unique challenges and rewards for anglers. Among these, the Goliath Grouper stands out due to its enormous size, sometimes exceeding 1,000 pounds. These bottom-dwelling giants are a testament to the thrill of bottom fishing for Grouper, testing both your strength and determination.

5. Shark

Shark fishing in Florida attracts skilled anglers worldwide for the thrill of battling powerful creatures like Hammerheads, Blacktips, and Bulls. These Sharks, weighing 66 to 220 lbs or more, challenge your skills and tackle. With various species in St. Petersburg waters, each trip offers a new adventure to catch these formidable creatures.

6. Snapper

Snappers are very popular when bottom fishing game fish in St. Petersburg. With high populations of Red Snapper, Mangrove Snapper, Mutton Snapper, and Yellowtail Snapper, they’re relatively easy to catch if you go with an experienced fishing charter Captain. Snappers can grow up to 25 pounds and reach lengths of 12-36 inches.

The best thing about Snapper is their taste; they have a soft and flaky texture that is truly mouthwatering. Catch one of these hard fighters, and you can take it home or to a nearby restaurant to have it grilled, broiled, fried, or prepared in any style you prefer.

7. Jack Crevalle

Jack Crevalle are the brawlers of inshore waters. They aren’t friendly and won’t give in easily, but from a Florida game fish perspective, they’re incredibly fun and will push you hard! These fish are rarely found alone and will recklessly attack your bait, artificial lures, and flies. They’re often found around St. Pete Beach and inshore waters. The Florida record catch for Jack Crevalle is an impressive 57 lbs.

8. Spanish Mackerel

These beautiful fish are delicious, fast, and put on a great show. You can find them in the shore waters and out on the St. Petersburg beaches, making them a real sight to behold. They feed on the surface, allowing you to admire their shiny and captivating bodies from up close. Whether you’re an experienced angler or just starting out, these fish are perfect for a shorter trip. Plus, if you manage to catch one, you might even break the Florida record of 12 pounds!

9. King Mackerel

King mackerel, or “Kingfish,” are a top target for Florida anglers due to their speed, strength, and challenge. Known for swift runs and powerful fights, they attract both seasoned and novice fishermen. Their sleek bodies and sharp teeth add to their allure. St. Petersburg’s warm waters create an ideal environment during migrations. Their flavorful flesh is prized for grilling and smoking!

10. Sailfish

Sailfish are a top catch among Florida fishermen, thanks to their lightning-fast speed, incredible leaps, and striking looks. Hitting speeds up to 68 mph, these fish make for an exhilarating challenge. Their distinctive long bill and sail-like dorsal fin add to their allure. Plus, their powerful jumps and fierce battles when hooked bring an unmatched thrill to any fishing trip.

Other Notable Trophy Game Fish in Florida

Florida waters are home to even more trophy fish species that anglers highly value:

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

Private Fishing Charters in St. Petersburg

YACHTFISH Fishing Charters offers premier, tailored fishing experiences in and around St. Petersburg, specializing in trophy game fish. Expert guidance from seasoned Captains is a key perk. Our guys know fishing and will ensure you’re ready for the big moment when a trophy fish strikes.

We cater to anglers of all skill levels, ensuring thrilling and educational adventures.

  • Prime fishing grounds: Access exclusive spots known for trophy game fish.
  • Expert Captains: Benefit from their years of experience and local knowledge.
  • Top-of-the-line boats and equipment: The YACHTFISH fleet and equipment are always in like-new condition.

Booking a trip with YACHTFISH Fishing Charters means more than just catching fish; it’s about creating unforgettable memories on the water while learning from some of the best in the business.


If you’re looking to book an unforgettable game fishing charter in Florida, contact us today! YACHTFISH Fishing Charters offers private fishing charters for anglers of all skill levels and ages. With over 30 years of experience, we guarantee memories that will last 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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