Call us  Call Us (305) 395-1416

1102 C Duval St
Key West,Fl 33040

Fish Identification ID

Fish Identification – The Fish of the Florida Keys and Key West.

 

Dophin Fish or Mahi Mahi

Mahi Mahi

Dolphin (aka Mahi-Mahi or Dorado)

Description: Bright greenish blue with yellow on sides and a variety of other colors. Irregular blue or golden blotches scattered over sides; anterior profile of head on adult males is nearly vertical; head of females more sloping.

Where Found: Offshore in warm waters. Around weed lines or floating objects. One of the fastest growing fish, thought to live no more than 5 years; swimming at speeds up to 50 knots.

Feeding Habits: Feeds mostly on ballyhoo, flying fish, grass minnows, squid, and crustaceans. Trolling skirted dead bait or artificial rigs proven to be very successful method of angling. Known to change colors to all gold or yellow when feeling threatened, causing them to stop feeding.

Size Range: from 8-40lbs. Current Florida state record 77 lbs.

Bag Limit/Size Limit: 10 per person per day – no size limit on this fish.

Food Value: Outstanding table fare. Nice white fillets, with a very light fish taste. Found on the menu at most restaurants and known as a “Florida Favorite”.

Greater Amberjack

Description: Silver and black skin separated by a distinguishable yellowish stripe down the mid-section of body. Amberjack have a dark stripe from their nose to the front of dorsal fin which”lights up” when they are in feeding mode.

Where Found: Offshore around rocky reefs, debris, and wrecks, typically in 60 – 240 feet of water; juveniles associated with floating objects and may occur in water less than 30 feet deep.

Feeding Habits: Feeds best on live bait (pinfish, cigar minnows, croakers, Grunts, spadefish and squirrelfish). Also feeds on dead bait (spanish sardines, threadfin and finger mullet) squid, and crustaceans.

Size Range: From 20-100 lbs. Current Florida state record 142 lbs.

Bag Limit/Size Limit: 1 Greater Amberjack per person per day – amberjack must be 28 inches in length from nose to fork of tail.

Food Value: Good table fare if cooked properly. Thick white fillets, with a medium to strong fish taste. Served in restaurants as a main dish, or used as key ingredient in fish spread.

 

Cobia

Description: Strong fish with broad depressed head; lower jaw projects past upper jaw; dark lateral stripe extends through eye to tail sometimes mistaken for a shark. When young, has a conspicuous alternating black and white horizontal stripe.

Where Found: Around wrecks, pilings, channel markers, both inshore and offshore inhabiting inlets, bays, frequently seen around buoys.

Feeding Habits: Feeds best on live bait (pinfish, cigar minnows, croakers, grunt, blue runners and squirrelfish). Also feeds on dead bait (spanish sardines, threadfin and finger mullet) squid, and crustaceans.

Size Range: From 15-70 lbs. Current Florida state record 103 lbs.

Bag Limit/Size Limit: 1 cobia per person per day, 6 per boat max. Cobia must be 33 inches in length from nose to fork of tail.

Food Value: Good table fare. Thick white fillets, with a light to mild fish taste.

 

Gag Grouper


Description:
 Brownish gray in color with dark patch-like markings on sides.

Where Found: Both offshore and near shore. Larger gags usually migrate further offshore in the Summer time and move closer Inshore during the winter months.

Feeding Habits: Feeds on dead bait (spanish sardines, threadfin and finger mullet) and live bait (pinfish, cigar minnows, croakers and grunts).

Size Range: From 10-60 lbs. Current Florida state record 71.3 lbs.

Bag Limit/Size Limit: 5 Grouper (gag, black or red) per person per day – gag & black grouper must be 22 inches in overall length.

Food Value: Outstanding table fare. One of the most sought after eating fish in the Gulf of Mexico. Fillets are white, and flaky when cooked. Very light fish taste. Found on the menus of most Florida seafood restaurants.

 

King Mackerel
(aka Kingfish)


Description:
 Streamlined body with tapered head. Silver color on the side of body, with a greenish blue color on their back. A spectacular fighting fish, known for long, steady, high speed runs.

Where found: Offshore and nearshore, in depths from 30 feet to 200 feet. During spring and fall migrations often found nearshore.

Feeding Habits: Feeds best on live bait (blue runners, pinfish, cigar minnows, ladyfish, ribbonfish, mullet and threadfin hearing). Also feeds on dead bait (spanish sardines, threadfin and finger mullet) squid, and crustaceans.

Size Range: from 10-60lbs. Current Florida state record 90 lbs.

Bag Limit/Size Limit: 2 per person per day including captain and crew of for-hire vessels – kingfish must be 24 inches in length from nose to fork of tail.

Food value: Good table fare if cooked properly. Fillets are grayish in color, with a medium to strong fish taste. Can be grilled, smoked, broiled or used as supplemental ingredient in fish spread.

 

10 Hour Fishing Special
10 Hour Fishing Special

Grey Triggerfish


Description:
 The body of the gray trigger is light gray to brown. The dorsal and anal fins are marked with spots and lines. Their skin is tough in texture with an almost leather feel to it.

Where Found: Found in a wide range of habitats offshore and nearshore. Harbors, lagoons, rock and coral reefs ,or in the water column, especially around sargasso mats

Feeding Habits: feeds on hard bodied prey such as scallops, clams, barnacles, starfish, and dollars. Triggers are equipped with very strong jaws and teeth used to crush their prey.

Size Range: from 2-10 lbs. Current Florida state record 12 lbs.

Bag Limit/Size Limit: none

Food Value: good table fare. Fillets white and flaky when cooked. Considered a delicacy by many.

Mutton Snapper

Mutton Snapper Fish

Mutton Snapper


Description:
 Olive green on back and upper sides, all fins below the mid-section having reddish tinge; bright blue line below eye. Small black spot below dorsal fin.

Where Found: Larger adults found offshore in deeper water. Hard bottom, rock piles, wrecks, potholes. Some near shore.

Feeding Habits: Feeds on small fish and crustaceans. Best caught on dead bait (spanish sardines, threadfin, finger mullet) squid, and crustaceans. Also feeds aggressively on live bait (small pinfish, or cigar minnows).

Size Range: common to 15 lbs. Current Florida state record 27 lbs., 6 oz.

Bag Limit/Size Limit: 10 per person per day (as part of 10 per day limit of all snapper combined). Must be 16 inches in total overall length.

Food Value: Outstanding table fare. Fillets are white and flaky when cooked. Very light fish taste with a sweet flavor. Similar in taste to red snapper.

 

Jolthead Porgy

Jolthead Porgy

Jolthead Porgy


Description:
 Generally silvery to brassy, with a bluish cast. Front of head brown, with blue line along lower rim of eye; a whitish stripe below eye, and another between eye and mouth; corner of mouth orange.

Where Found: Offshore in the Gulf of Mexico, around rocky reefs, debris, and wrecks, typically in 30-180 feet of water.

Feeding Habits: Feeds best on dead bait (spanish sardines, threadfin, finger mullet) squid, and crustaceans.

Size Range: from 2-10lbs. Current Florida state record n/a.

Bag Limit/Size Limit: no bag limit or size limit on this species.

Food Value: Good table fare. White fillets, with a light to medium fish taste.

 

Greater Amberjack

Greater Amberjack

Greater Amberjack

Description: Silver and black skin separated by a distinguishable yellowish stripe down the mid-section of body. Amberjack have a dark stripe from their nose to the front of dorsal fin which”lights up” when they are in feeding mode.

Where Found: Offshore around rocky reefs, debris, and wrecks, typically in 60 – 240 feet of water; juveniles associated with floating objects and may occur in water less than 30 feet deep.

Feeding Habits: Feeds best on live bait (pinfish, cigar minnows, croakers, Grunts, spadefish and squirrelfish). Also feeds on dead bait (spanish sardines, threadfin and finger mullet) squid, and crustaceans.

Size Range: From 20-100 lbs. Current Florida state record 142 lbs.

Bag Limit/Size Limit: 1 Greater Amberjack per person per day – amberjack must be 28 inches in length from nose to fork of tail.

Food Value: Good table fare if cooked properly. Thick white fillets, with a medium to strong fish taste. Served in restaurants as a main dish, or used as key ingredient in fish spread.

 

Barracuda

Great Barracuda

Description: Fierce and furious looking fish. Elongated lower jaw display it’s rows of large razor sharp teeth. Bluish backs, with silver sides. Distinguishing black spots randomly scattered on lower body. A fierce fighting fish when hooked, offering frantic runs all around the boat.

Where Found: Found in large numbers offshore and inshore along the Florida coast and Keys, the Bahamas, Central and South America. Found near reefs, wrecks, hard bottom, mud flats or inshore estuaries.

Feeding Habits: A top-level, high speed, aggressive predator, barracuda feed on a wide variety of fish. They favor fish with silvery or shiny characteristics. Eat Sardines, herring, snapper, groupers, jacks, tuna, and more.

Size Range: From 5-35 lbs.

Bag Limit/Size Limit: No size or bag limits are currently in place.

Food Value: None. Not recommended for human consumption.

 

Blackfin Tuna

Blackfin Tuna

Blackfin Tuna

Description: Blackfin tuna are the most abundant tuna species. They are equally shaped from the head and tail from their midsection, making look in shape like a football. Silver side, dark blue on the back and white on the stomach. Small gray finlets run from the second dorsal fin to the anal fin. Eyes are large size.

Where Found: Found offshore in warmer water during summer months, on or near the surface usually near offshore reefs, along current lines over reefs and banks . Prefers water above 67 F.

Feeding Habits: Feeds in schools by surrounding prey or “corraling up” bait schools. Also feeds on small crustaceans, squid and small food organisms in the water through straining.

Size Range: From 10-35 lbs. Current Florida state record 45 lbs. 9 oz

Bag Limit / Size Limit: No size or bag limits are currently in place.

Food Value: Outstanding table fare. Found on the menu at many restaurants. Excellent raw as Sushi, or cooked very rare. The “filet mignon” of fish.

 

Shark Blacktip

Shark Blacktip

Blacktip Shark


Description:
 The conspicuously black-tipped fins give this species its name. It is dark gray, bluish or blacktip shark dusky bronze above, white or yellowish white below.

Where Found: Offshore and inshore. Abundant in the Gulf of Mexico. Often found in over reef, humps and ledges, or sharp drop offs where sudden changes in current are present. Usually stays in the 100ft. or less water column.

Feeding Habits: The blacktip feeds on small schooling fishes like sardines, threadfin, menhaden, mullet, and anchovies, but also eats many other including catfishes, groupers, jacks, snook, porgies, grunts, croakers, and triggerfish. They are also known to consume dogfish, sharpnose sharks, young dusky sharks, and stingrays.

Size Range: from 15-90 lbs.

Bag Limit/Size Limit: n/a

Food Value: Fair table fare. Fillets/steaks are light grey and flaky when cooked. Very strong fish taste.

 

Lane Snapper

Lane Snapper

Lane Snapper


Description:
 Silvery-pink to reddish with short pink and yellow lines running down its side. Visible black spot near posterior of fish.

Where Found: Juveniles inshore over shallow reefs; adults offshore; most common in West Central and South Florida.

Feeding Habits: Feeds on bottom, eating crustaceans, mollusks, and fish.

Size Range: from 1-2 lbs.

Bag Limit/Size Limit: 20 per person per day (as part of 20 per day limit of all reef fish combined). Must be at least 8 inches in total overall length.

Food Value: Very good table fare. White fillets, flaky when cooked with a light fish taste.

 

Mangrove Snapper

Mangrove Snapper

Mangrove Snapper


Description:
 Dark brown or gray with reddish or orange spots along the sides; two outstanding canine teeth at front of upper jaw; dorsal fins have reddish borders. A known to anglers as “bait stealers” and require quick reaction to successfully land.

Where Found: Larger adults generally offshore on coral or rocky reefs. Spawns June through August

Feeding Habits: Feeds best on dead bait (spanish sardines, threadfin, finger mullet) squid, and crustaceans. Also feeds on live bait (small pinfish, or cigar minnows)

Size Range: Offshore catches common 8 to 10 pounds current Florida state record 16 lbs. 8oz.

Bag Limit/Size Limit: 10 per person per day (as part of 10 per day limit of all snapper combined). Must be 12 inches in total overall length

Food Value: excellent table fare. Fillets are white and flaky when cooked. Very light fish taste.

 

 

The Fish of the Florida Keys and Key West.