Fish of South Florida

Dolphin (Mahi Mahi)/FSR-81lbs

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 Dolphin is what we call Mahi Mahi in Miami are known for their bright green and yellow color, to be top game fish to catch and to be great to eat.  It is one of the fastest growing fish in the ocean, reaching 15-20 lbs by the time they are a year old.  This makes them ferocious eaters that will devour anything that swims in front of them.  


They are also one of the fastest fish in the ocean making bursts that have reached speeds up to 50 mph!  This means that these fish fight hard and often jump completely out of the water flipping and spinning through the air.


  The summer months in Miami are when huge schools of Dolphin migrate about 15 miles offshore.  These schoolies can often be enticed to the boat resulting in catches well into double digits with an average size of 3-5 lbs.


.The winter months in Miami are known for big Dolphin!  During this time of year the Dolphin are often much closer to shore (less than 10 miles) and are much larger with the average fish around 10 lbs but fish up to 40lbs are caught on a regular basis.  


These larger Dolphin travel in much smaller groups or solo but 1 big Bull Dolphin can make your day.  Dolphin can be caught a variety of ways with the most popular being trolling and then live baiting on light spinning rods.  


Fly Fishing for Dolphin during the summer months is a must for all those Fly Fishermen out there.  Whether you catch dozens of schoolies or that big fatty, Dolphin are an amazing game fish! 

Sailfish / FSR-126 lbs

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Miami is the Sailfish capital of the world. Sailfish are the fastest fish in the ocean reaching speeds of over 70mph & are known for their aerial maneuvers.  Sailfish can get well over 100 lbs while the average fish in Miami is around 60 lbs.  These extremely intelligent fish can be found 1-3 miles offshore usually on the blue-green color change.  


In Miami we target Sailfish using a technique called Kite Fishing.  This involves flying a special kite with release clips on the kite line, to suspend live baits right at the surface of the water.  The Sailfish don't see any tackle in the water since it is held out of the water by the kite.  Once the fish eats the bait, the tension on the kite line causes the release clip to open; releasing the fishing line & then the fish is fought on a conventional rod & reel.


This is something everyone should experience.  Kite Fishing is also a great way to catch Wahoo, Blackfin Tuna, Dolphin and Kingfish.  Sailfish are not good eating, therefore catch and release is the standard practice in Miami.

Blackfin Tuna / FSR-45 lbs 8oz

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 Blackfin Tuna swim in schools usually numbering into the thousands and can be found from 2-15 miles offshore.  These hard fighting fish never quit until they are in the fish box on ice.  The average fish is 4-7 lbs., but fish up to 30lbs are common.  


Known for being great sashimi makes them a Miami favorite.  Blackfin Tuna can caught a number of ways with the most common way for the smaller fish is trolling smaller feathers and a bird; and the most common way for the big boys is live bait drifting and vertical jigging. 

Wahoo / FSR-139 lbs

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 Wahoo are the missiles of the ocean.  They are the 2nd fastest fish, reaching speeds up to 65 mph and have a mouth full of razor sharp teeth.  Wahoo can weigh over 100lbs but the average fish caught in Miami being around 20 lbs.  


Techniques used to catch Wahoo vary in Miami and the Bahamas.  In Miami, Wahoo are mostly caught trolling planers but can also be caught on live bait and vertical jigs. 


In the Bahamas, Wahoo are targeted directly with a technique called high speed trolling which involves trolling huge squid skirts at 15mph. 

Mutton Snapper / FSR-30 lbs. 4 oz.

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Mutton Snapper is Miami's version of the Red Snapper.  These hard fighting fish range from 3 lbs-30 lbs with the average fish around 5lbs. The Mutton Snapper is one of the best eating fish in the ocean; it can be cooked, eaten raw as sashimi or made into ceviche.  


Mutton live on the reef, never leaving the bottom and can be found in depths from 30'-350' but are mostly caught in depths of around 150'.  These fish can be caught using live or dead bait, either drifting or anchored.  


The techniques used to catch these are long leader style bottom rigs.  Captain Bryan is known for being an excellent Mutton fisherman and this is one of his favorite fish to target. 

Kingfish / FSR-90 lbs.

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Kingfish are a Mackerel that range between 5-50 lbs with the average fish in Miami around 10lbs. These fish are known for their razor sharp teeth and explosive runs when hooked.  


Kingfish like shallow waters from 40'-150' and can be found around structure or reef.  They can be caught several different ways; trolling, kite fishing, drift fishing live and dead bait and vertical jigging, just to name a few.  

Yellowtail Snapper / FSR-10.3 lbs.

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 These bright yellow fish are commonly known as "Yellowtails" with the big ones being called "Flags".  They can be easily chummed up to the back of the boat by the hundreds resulting in a yellow path going down in the water, often referred to as " The Yellow Brick Road".  


Yellowtails average about 1-2 lbs. in Miami and 2-3 lbs. in the Bahamas with anything over 3 lbs. being considered a Flag.  Yellowtails are fished on 10-20 lb. spinning rods.  The technique is easy to learn and is great for all ages, especially children.


 Yellowtails are known for being aggressive eaters and can be chummed up into a feeding frenzy resulting in non-stop action.  They fight as aggressively as they eat and are ranked as one of the most fun fish to catch.  


Since they are a Snapper, they are extremely good eating making them the staple of the Florida commercial fish market.  They are available in almost every fish restaurant in the state and start around $25/lb. (whole fish).  


Yellowtail Charters are by advance request only as proper preparation in chum, bait and tackle are required.  This is the perfect fishing trip for children under 10 but is fun for all!
 

Greater Amberjack / FSR-142 lbs.

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 Otherwise known as "Reef Donkeys" because they fight hard, really hard!  These giants have to be at least 28" to keep which is typically around 15 lbs with the average fish being around 25 lbs. 


 This fish can be caught using many different techniques with live and dead bait but Captain Bryan's favorite way to catch Donkeys is vertical jigging. 


 Jigging is an effective throughout the entire water column; any fish from a grouper to a shark will eat the jig.  The primary targeted species being Blackfin Tuna, Greater Amberjack, Wahoo and Kingfish. 


  Vertical jigging is a technique using a small, specialized rod and reel to jerk a shiny, lead lure from the bottom to the surface. Don't let the small appearance fool you, these set ups are rated for 100-200 lb. braided line!  The fish are fought standing up with only the assistance of a lightweight fighting belt. 


This is the ultimate in light weight big game fishing and is not recommended for everyone.  


Great Amberjacks are one of the easiest fish to hook while being one of the hardest to land! 

Black Grouper / FSR-113.6 lbs.

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 Black Grouper are one of the hardest fish in the ocean to catch.  Known for their eat and run into a hole technique that is almost unbeatable.  


Black Grouper is Captain Bryan’s favorite fish to eat, the meat is white and flaky cooked, while tender and clear as sashimi.  


Grouper season opens May 1 and closes January 1st.  The best times to grouper fish are from the opening, May 1-August 31st, and then again in November and December.    


Captain Bryan recommends booking a Grouper & Snapper trip to Bimini, Bahamas during the Mutton Snapper Spawn in the months of  May & June.  

See our upcoming trips page for details. 

Cobia / FSR-130 lbs. 1 oz.

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Cobia is an all-around solid game fish.  Hard fighting, good eating and fairly easy to target during the right times of year.  


While Cobia are fairly laze when it comes to eating, they are very aggressive once hooked or speared.  The best time to target Cobia is during the Shark migration from February to the end of April; although Cobia can be found year round.  


Cobia is known to follow any large predator, especially sharks, turtles and rays, feeding off the scraps from the predators.  


Captain Bryan offers Cobia spearfishing charters during the shark migration for advanced spearos, call for details.

Hogfish / FSR-19 lbs. 8 oz.

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 The Hogfish is commonly called "Hog Snapper", but the Hogfish is actually a Wrasse, not a Snapper.  


Fish venders and restaurants say Hog Snapper as a marketing ploy to sell it as a white meat fish.  Hogfish is better than Snapper and also extremely rare, growing more so by the year.  


Feeding only on crustaceans and not very aggressive, Hogfish are almost impossible to catch on rod and reel.  The most common way is to spear them.  


New regulations have reduced the limit to 1 fish 16”min. along with implementing a season that opens May 1st and closes October 31st.  


The commercial limits have also been drastically reduced.  New research changed the regulations a couple years ago.  Hogfish under 12” are all female, then sometime between 12”-16” some Hogfish females will hermaphrodite into male Hogfish!  


The previous 12” min. size was killing off sexually immature fish.  Hopefully with the new studies and regulations Hogfish will thrive again like they once did not too long ago. 

Snook / FSR-45 lbs. 12 oz.

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Snook are Florida’s most highly regulated fish.  Snook have 2 seasons during the year, you must purchase a Snook tag to harvest and the most notable regulation is the slot size.  


A slot is the size a fish must be between in order to keep.  Snook have a slot of 28”-32”.  This means if the Snook is smaller than 28” or bigger than 32”, you must release the fish.  A 4” slot is the smallest slot of any Florida species.  


Snook are common throughout South Florida in the canals and also in the Ocean near shore.  Snook are by far the best eating fish there is in the canals.  The white, flaky meat is simply heavenly.  


Snook are challenging to entice to eat and equally challenging to land, but once a bite is established, they can be caught quite consistently.   Captain Bryan offers nighttime Snook and Tarpon trips fishing dock lights in canals behind beautiful, multi-million dollar houses. 

Bull Shark / FSR-517 lbs.

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The Bull Shark is known for having the highest testosterone of any animal on Earth.  Common all over south Florida & the Bahamas. 


Aggressive and fearless, Bulls have been known to make their way into brackish or even fresh water where it meets the Ocean.  

Mako Shark / FSR-911 lbs. 12 oz.

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The Mako Shark is the fastest shark in the Ocean, swimming at speeds over 40mph!  These fish can get over 1000 lbs but that doesn’t stop them from jumping completely out of the water and flipping end over end for large distances.  


Easy to identify by their black eyes, pointy nose and most notably, the huge, razor sharp teeth that literally falling out of their mouths. The Mako Shark is extremely rare to see or catch. Prized for their size and striking appearance, they also have table appeal that other sharks don’t.  


Mako Sharks are different from other sharks because Makos have a bladder & pee through a urinary system, not through their skin like most sharks.  When other sharks die, they pee through their skin & meat because they don’t have a urinary system like the Mako Shark.  Some say this makes the meat better eating and whether that is the reason or not, who knows. 

Tarpon / FSR-243 lbs.

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Tarpon are a staple of South Florida's inshore fishing.  Tarpon are not good for eating & are catch/release only.  Tarpon can weigh over 200lbs with the average fish in the Miami area being 50 lbs but fish over 100lbs are quite common.  


Tarpon are aerial masters, jumping out of the water in awesome displays of strength.  They can be caught a number of ways, including Fly Fishing.  Captain Bryan offers Tarpon trips during day and night, but recommends night fishing for them if your schedule allows. 

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