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Meet the Fish of Clearwater, Florida

Posted by on January 8, 2013 0 Comments Category : Fishing Blog Tags : , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Before venturing out on a fishing expedition, most anglers want to know what’s in store for them.  Well, here you go!

Fishing trip to Clearwater Florida

Fishing trip to Clearwater Florida

A fishing trip to Clearwater, Florida will probably yield the following results.


Amberjacks usually live offshore and grow to be well over 100 pounds.  They usually eat just about anything.  As such, they are often caught while fishing for other species.

Amberjacks have a 28-inch minimum.  Therefore, you can expect quite a fight.  You won’t land an Amberjack without seriously testing your strength!


Cobia that live inshore (or near shore) usually weigh in at about 30 pounds.  However, those found farther offshore can be over 50 pounds.

Cobia often travel alone or with just a few friends.  Unfortunately, they are often found in the company of sharks.  This makes them extremely difficult to target.


Clearwater anglers often bring in Gulf Flounder (averaging 15 inches and 2 pounds) and Southern Flounder (up to 3 feet and 20 pounds).  These fish provide excellent lean, white meat for diners.

Flounders enjoy live bait and often venture into shallow waters at night to find food.


When returning home from a fishing trip to the Gulf area, most anglers will have at least a few Groupers in their possession.  The most common species include Gag, Red, Scamp, and Goliath.  Don’t be surprised to find Nassau, Red Hind, Rock Hind, Black and Yellowfin too.

Groupers will eat just about anything.  However, they aren’t willing to travel very far to find their next meal.

Kingfish (King Mackerel)

If you are fishing in Clearwater during the spring or fall, you might come across a King Mackerel.  However, the meeting could be both fortunate and unfortunate; King Mackerel have earned the nickname Smoker because of what they do to a reel when they first hit the line!

Mahi Mahi (Dolphin Fish)

Dolphin Fish have been voted the most beautiful and delicious fish in the Gulf.  Unfortunately, they don’t have a long life span; however, they do grow fast (up to about 80 pounds).

Dolphin Fish usually snack on squid, flying fish and several other forms of bait from their home along weed lines and flotsam.


Permits can be found in two places.  Offshore, Permits live near wreckage and rock formations.  Inshore, they are found on turtle grass flats, sand flats, and outlining channels.

These selective feeders – as opposed to opportunistic feeders – put up a strong fight, full of steady runs and fast changes of direction.


Similar, yet smaller than Permits, the Pompano provides a delicious meal.  In fact, Pompanos have the highest market price of any saltwater fish.

These fighters – who enjoy long runs – are usually caught from the surf with light tackle.


Redfish enjoy shallow waters.  They frequently “grub” for food, which exposes their tail fins above the water.  Snag a Redfish from Clearwater Beach or Pier 60 during the cooler months.  Expect a catch of 30 to 40 pounds.


Mangrove, Lane, and Red are the most abundant species of Snapper in the Clearwater area.  However, there are some 13 other varieties swimming around too.

Snappers love live shrimp and pinfish.  They also feed off squirrel fish, ballyhoo or chunks of cut bait.  While fishing for Snapper is the easiest saltwater style to learn, their rules are the most complicated because of their popularity and slow growth rate.


If you want to catch a Snook, head over to Pier 60 in the summer.  These inshore fish enjoy coastal and brackish waters near seawalls, bridges, reefs and pilings.  However, they have very little tolerance for cold water.  In fact, they won’t last long if the water dips below 60 degrees.

If you are lucky enough to happen upon a Snook, you can expect an 18-30 inch fish.  However, some big boys are well past 50!


Tarpon can sometimes weigh in at 200 pounds and 8 feet in length!  They set up residence inshore, but prefer to spawn offshore.

Most anglers consider Tarpon the most exciting saltwater fish to catch.  Their aggressive fight is worth the effort.  However, these fighters should be released if caught; they have no food value.


Blackfin Tuna, the most common type of Tuna in the area, usually travel in a large school.  They enjoy topwater baits and running with force.

Tuna often flock to shrimp boats to feed on the crustaceans and small fish the shrimpers clean from their nets.

Do you know any Gulf saltwater fish we left off the list?  Let us know!

Guest author James Habben recently move to Clearwater from Florida’s east coast.  He is excited about all the new fishing opportunities.  Before he can spend too much time at the shore, he needs to get things squared away at his new job for Subtle Network Design & Marketing, 1001 S. Myrtle Ave. Suite 1, Clearwater FL 33756. 727-446-5851 http://www.subtlenetwork.com

If you love fishing and enjoy traveling, please consider leaving your fishy reply!

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