Florida is known as the fishing capital of the world for a reason. The state is a peninsula that is enclosed to the west by the Gulf of Mexico and to the east by the Atlantic Ocean and is continuously filled with acres of rivers, lakes and ponds. Saltwater fishing is popular because of the accessibility to thriving reefs and wrecks in coastal waters, which are abundant in Florida reef fish. Here are some favorite reef fishing species in Florida.
The yellowtail snapper is a beautiful Florida reef fish that is distinguished by its deeply forked yellow tail and markings. It is considered to be one of the best-eating fish. They are small, around 10 inches on average, which makes them a fun catch for the kids.
Grouper species are known for their freight train-style fighting skills, and the Goliath grouper is a favorite for anglers looking to test their own skills. Goliaths live up to their name and can grow up to 3 meters long. They move slowly, preferring to inhale their prey and swallow it whole. The Goliath is not allowed to be harvested, but it makes a really fun catch.
Hogfish are a unique looking Florida reef fish with incredible stealth ability. They can change their color to blend in with their surroundings and protect themselves from hungry predators. Many spear fishermen like to target pork fish and provide delicious table dishes.
Perhaps the scariest fish in the ocean, barracudas are long, silver fish with sharp teeth and bulging eyes that lurk in the shadows. They are an incredible wild fish that even saltwater fly anglers love to chase.
There are many great reef fishing spots in Florida. Knowing the rules for species is important, especially if you plan to save some for dinner. Make sure you get a fishing license and check the state fish and wildlife agency website for Florida fishing regulations.