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The Cobia are a large species that grow to 4 feet and can weigh over 50 pounds with the record in Florida 130 pounds caught in Destin, but most caught are in the 20-30 pound range. Mostly a solitary fish, you may sometimes find them in small groups in bays and inlets around structure. Offshore, Cobia feed on crab, shrimp, squid and small fish usually around shipwrecks and deep reefs. Cut bait chumming works best to attract the Cobia.
Black drum are often found on oyster bars, but also around rocks and wrecks in deep channels. Black Drums area large fish, usually growing to 40 to 60 inches and weighing as much as 50 to 100 pounds. Black Drum are bottom feeders that eat marine worms, shrimp, small crabs, small fish, crustaceans and mollusks, with a preference for blue crabs, shedder crabs, shrimp, oysters and squid. Generally, the fish enters estuaries to feed on a rising tide, and then leaves as the tide drops.
Pompano are a highly prized food fish and sought after game fish that is usually between 6 and 10 inches long. This is a schooling fish and is a good pier and shore fishing target. Often confused with the Permit which is deeper bodied, Pompano rarely grow larger than 6 pounds, Permit are common to 40 pounds. They feed on mollusks, crustaceans, and sand fleas.
The Spanish Mackerel is a very colorful fish. The Spanish Mackerel can be found close to shore and further out in waters to about 40 feet, traveling in schools. This fish migrates seasonally, spending the winters in southern Florida waters then migrating north to spawn and spend the summers in the Panhandle or the Carolina's on the east coast. The fish is targeted primarily for later use as bait for larger species, but it's strong white flesh is quite good and is used for sushi by many. Spanish Mackerel are aggressive feeders preferring shrimp, squid and small fish.
Snook can be readily found in bays usually around structures and in shallow water off oyster bars and mangroves. Snook cannot survive in water temperatures below 60 degrees.
Snook are excellent eating and fun to catch but do have strict catch limits and closures, so be sure to read up on current rules.
Their average length is 23 inches, but they can grow up to 51 inches in length and weigh up to 44 pounds under favorable habitat conditions.
Their most striking feature is the long, elongated, torpedo-shaped body. They have silver grey sides and grey-green backs. The belly is white. Like all trout species the sea trout has an adipose fin.
Sea trout feed mainly on fish, small crabs, shrimps and prawns.
The Gag can be found on shallow reefs over rocks and reefs throughout Florida and they are usually caught around 25 pounds. The markings on their bodies can be described as "worm-like" and sometimes form kiss prints. Gag's are considered to most the best tasting of all the Groupers.
The Southern Flounder is the 2nd largest of the Florida Flounder averaging 2 to 4 pounds, 15 to 20 inches in length but have been caught over 10 pounds and are abundant in our near shore waters.
Red Drums are primarily an inshore fish found throughout Florida and can reach 45 inches and weigh 51 pounds. Redfish feed in shallow waters in schools and feed on a variety of fish such as
, Pinfish, Mullet, Menhaden, Flounder and also crabs and shrimp. Redfish have many feeding patterns from hiding behind structure to ambush their prey, to sucking prey off the bottom which is where you hear the term Redfish tailing (look for the tails above the surface). It is common to find them around mangroves and oyster bars feeding on the small crabs and shrimp.
Mangrove Snapper are common in shallow waters especially around mangroves but larger Snappers move off shore to hard-bottom or reef areas for more food and shelter. Usually found at 10 inches inshore, they can grow to 2 feet offshore. Mangroves are inquisitive fish that will come out of their ambush spot to see what's going on when they hear noise like your engines motor, but they will flee after hearing loud sudden noises. These fish are considered extremely smart and once you have hooked one, the rest become tight lipped after seeing your hook.
Look for Sheepshead near structures that have oysters growing on them such as mangrove roots, jetty rocks, docks, pilings, and piers. Sheepshead are common at 4 pounds but can be found further from the shore near navigational markers at 10 pounds or more.
Chum made with oysters, shrimp, clams, clam juice, scallop guts, sand fleas, or fiddler crabs are best for Sheepshead as these crustaceans are their main diet. Ever notice they have teeth like humans and they can crush oyster shells with ease.
Like many other pelagic species, Tripletail associate strongly with floating objects such as grass, crab trap lines or debris. They can be found throughout Floridas gulf coast and anglers generally find them suspended under buoys, channel markers and other floating objects. Tripletails spend much of their time in brackish water bays and estuaries. Catching tripletail is an art and requires both skill and patience.