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Sportfish

Know Your Sportfish

Fin identification helps to correctly identify your catch. *Click to enlarge.

Get the Sport Fish of Florida Book!


BE SURE TO ABIDE BY THE LAW

Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission: MyFWC.com A great many kinds of fish are protected by conservation laws that may include licenses, daily bag limits, possession limits, minimum and maximum size limits, permitting and other legal requirements. Many different jurisdictions and agencies are involved in managing the fisheries—at least a half-dozen in Florida alone, to say nothing of other countries—and their regulations sometimes conflict.

In Florida, information is available from such sources as Florida Sportsman Magazine, county courthouses and many tackle shops. Visitors to Florida or the Islands usually are able to get the needed information from their travel agents, resorts, fishing camps or charter captains. Visit www.myfwc.com www.myfwc.com or www.floridasportsman.com for the most current fisheries regulations.

Sportfish of Florida

The editors of Florida Sportsman magazine have selected the 50 most popularly caught fish species inshore, nearshore, and offshore from Vic Dunaway's best-selling Sport Fish of Florida book and grouped them according to the fishing zones in which you will find them.

Florida’s Favorite Sportfish is your source for all things concerning Florida’s most sought after gamefish.

  • Properly identify the fish species you’re looking for
  • How-To articles and videos for each species
  • Photo Galleries for each species
  • Food Value and Recipes
  • Regulations and Conservation Issues
  • Find everything you need to know about your favorite species, look no further!

Features of the Sportfish Guide

The presentation for each species is headed by an illustration, along with its most often used common name and its scientific name. Then come the following sub-headed paragraphs: 

SportfishKey

DESCRIPTION: Color and markings alone aren’t always reliable guides to fish identification, so this paragraph pro- vides the reader with identifiable features that, in combi- nation with the illustration, should serve to make identi- fication positive. It does not go into the counting of scale rows, gill rakers or other anatomic details that very few anglers can muster the patience it takes to stop and investigate. In the majority of cases, however, the fins provide obvious clues and are often referred to in the description.

SIZE: Chief concern here is to give the angler an idea of the size, or range of sizes, that are commonly encoun- tered, but mention is made of approximate maximum sizes as well.The absolute size potential is not known for any species, of course—which is why world records keep rising.

FOOD VALUE: Offers a guide as to how good the fish is to eat. But you should take note that, with only a handful of exceptions, all fish are edible and most of them are more than acceptable. Any relative rating of table quality is bound to be highly subjective.

GAME QUALITIES: Describes—again in the author’s opin- ion—the merits and characteristics of the fight the species usually puts up on the end of a line. 

TACKLE AND BAITS: Lists the most suitable kind and weight of fishing gear for the particular species, along with examples of the best baits and lures.

FISHING SYSTEMS: Lists the best or most used approach- es to fishing for the particular fish under the following categories: Still Fishing (fishing with natural bait from an anchored boat, or from bridge, pier or land); Trolling (pulling baits or lures behind a boat under manual or mechanical power); Drift Fishing (trailing baits behind a boat moved only by wind or current); and Casting. You could, of course, cast artificial lures in any of the other listed situations, but as a separate category it denotes moving about and casting lures or flies, either to sighted fish or to selected target areas, whether the moving about is done on foot or from a boat propelled by pole, paddle or slow motor. 

OTHER NAMES:

Lists any other popular name, or names, known to be in use. The same common or alternate names may, at times, be given for more than one fish. 

RANGE: Here, note is made of the usual range of the particular species within the book’s covered area only—not the complete range, which may be far wider. The areas covered are Florida, the Bahamas and the Caribbean Islands.The larger islands of the Caribbean comprise the Greater Antilles—Cuba, Jamaica, Hispaniola (Haiti and the

Dominican Republic) and Puerto Rico.All the rest make up the Lesser Antilles. Because they offer considerable freshwater estuarine habitat, the Greater Antilles are home to many coastal fishes that occur in Florida but may not be found to any great extent in the Bahamas or smaller islands of the Caribbean.

HABITAT: Outlines the type or types of environment in which the angler is most likely to hook up with the subject species. 


Much of the information from the Florida’s Favorite Sport Fish is from Florida Sportsman’s Sport Fish of Florida, written by Vic Dunaway, which features 231 species in a single 256 page, handy guide size book.