Our Favorite Gulf Coast Fish Species

Pensacola Species List - Types of Fish in Pensacola

Nothing tops the kind of fishing you’ll find in the diverse ecosystem of the Pensacola waters near Santa Rosa Sound. Let our friendly captain be your guide to reeling in brag-worthy Flounder, Redfish, Tripletail Sea Trout, and other species that thrive in the shallow waters of Pensacola Bay.

Red Snapper

Pensacola is the Red Snapper capital of the world, proving a better spot than mid or South Florida waters. When fishing offshore, you’re likely to hook these and other species of snapper, such as the popular Mangrove Snapper.

Mingo Snapper

Mingo Snapper or Vermilion Snapper is a species of snapper that is found on all Florida coasts. This fish is perfect for anyone looking to bring back a decent sized haul at the end of the day. 

Wahoo

The Gulf of Mexico is known for great Wahoo fishing.  The high season for this fish is between May to September. It’s best known to sports fishermen because it’s speed and high-quality flesh make it a valued game fish. They are a globally distributed fish that favor deep, warm ocean waters. 

Bonito

If you’ve ever fished for pelagic fish like marlin or wahoo, you’ve probably caught a Bonito. Bonito are a small type of tuna that make great bait for catching larger fish but are often ignored when caught fishing for other fish. They’re great for fishermen that are up for a challenge because they are known for being one of the hardest fighting fish for their size. 

Jack Crevalle

Jack Crevalle are widely distributed across temperate and tropical waters of the Atlantic Ocean. Jack Crevalle fishing varies moderately throughout the year. High season for this fish is between May to September. Jack Crevalle have a deep, compressed body with a blunt head. Their color is usually yellowish with white undersides. 

Grouper

Grouper fishing is excellent off of Pensacola. Deep water is fairly close and grouper inhabit local waters between 30 and 1,000 ft. There are several grouper species to fish for including Gag, Red, Scamp, Warsaw, Snowy, and Yellow Edge. Most grouper species are typically in season year round except for Gag Grouper which has a limited season. 

Tripletail

The Tripletail inhabits inshore, nearshore and offshore waters and is often found near floating weed lines, crab traps and other structures. Tripletail is usually found during spring, summer and fall. The  fish gets it’s name from its elongated doral and anal fins, which are almost as long as the tail fin, making it appear to have three tails. 

Redfish

A favorite among inshore anglers, the redfish, or red drum, typically weighs between six and eight pounds. You will find these cruising bays and shallow marshes along the coastline. 

While not actually red, the redfish is distinguished by a large black dot at the base of the tail. These are usually the most common fish caught near shore. These are mild-tasting white fish that resemble the sweet, easy-going taste of snapper.

Sea Trout

The spotted sea trout is a favorite among those who fish in northern waters, where they fish for freshwater trout. You’ll know a spotted seatrout by the number of spots lining the fish’s back. 

You’ll find them in areas where grass abounds or spots with sandy and muddy bottoms. Live shrimp or baitfish work wonders when targeting sea trout.

Flounder

These shallow water, sandy bottom-loving flat-shaped fish are a favorite among those looking for dinner. You’ll find them in the lagoons and nearshore estuaries. They lie still on the bottom and ambush their prey, which is mostly small fish and crustaceans.

Sheepshead

These black and white striped fish are often caught by those fishing on jetties and piers. As a result, you’ll also see them when fishing inshore or nearshore. 

With an average size around two pounds, many anglers consider the sheepshead to be nothing but a bait thief. However, the white, sweet filets that come off sheepshead are delicious.

Spanish Mackerel

Another popular, though smaller fish, the Spanish Mackerel, can be caught in almost any type of Florida water, from the beach to the deep sea. You’ll catch these a lot using live baitfish, shrimp, or squid. 

With an average size under two pounds, these are incredible table fare. Plus, you can keep up to 15 per day, making for the perfect fish fry.

Pompano

When in season, mostly during the summer and fall when the water is warm, Pompano is a favorite among anglers on the shore. They can be found just off the beach, hiding in the surf. They’re strong fighters and make for a delicious dinner. 

Cobia

With an average size of around 30 pounds, and the ability to catch them nearshore, Cobia is a bucket list fish for those traveling to Florida waters. During the later Spring, you can sight fish for Cobia near the shore.

Kings

Kings, or Kingfish, or King Mackeral, are an absolute favorite among Florida anglers. You’ll often find them in the Spring as the warming waters draw them up from South Florida.

Triggerfish

While not a fun fish to snorkel near, aggressive Triggerfish are fun to catch from a boat. You’ll find these tasty fish around the reefs, swimming alongside Snapper and Grouper. The Florida Panhandle is one of the best places to catch these surprisingly delicious fish.

Amberjack

You can find Amberjack in deep waters, usually near rocky bottoms or wrecks. When reeling Amberjack in, you’ll commonly come across 40-pound fish.

Tarpon

Florida’s favorite sport fish is the strong, massive Tarpon. June and July are the best time to try your luck for Tarpon around the Panhandle. 

These are the fish that put the word “Sport” into sport fishing. When hooked, they put on the much sought-after aerial display that anglers dream about. The clear waters near Pensacola make for an exciting opportunity to spot-cast for them.

Sharks

You can’t come to the Emerald Coast and not try your luck at reeling in a shark. Pensacola is one of the best shark fishing destinations in Florida. During the warm months especially, Pensacola is a world-class shark fishery attracting anglers from all over.

Species that we target in the area include ;

  • Mako sharks
  • Bull sharks
  • Thresher sharks
  • Hammerhead sharks
  • Bonnethead shark
  • Blacktip sharks
 

Sharks can be found in both nearshore water as well as offshore. Whether you are looking for a new, family-friendly experience on the water or an exhilarating adventure, our Captain will ensure your shark fishing charter exceeds your expectations.