Number of Fish Species (freshwater): 241
Number of Fish Species (saltwater): 501
State Sportfish (fresh): Largemouth Bass
State Sportfish (salt): Atlantic Sailfish
Notable Records: a 17lb 4oz. largemouth bass in Polk County, a 123lb alligator gar from Choctowhatchee River, a 19lb 8oz. hogfish from Daytona, a 243lb tarpon from the Keys.
Fishing License Info:
Quickcast: With nearly 750 species to choose from its no wonder Florida is known as the “Fishing Capital of the World”. In the US there are a handful of major players when it comes to economic impact from fishing and they include: Florida, California, Texas and Minnesota. Florida fishing is worth over 7.6 billion annually just in the recreational sector! No doubt most anglers that come to explore Florida’s fishes do so with saltwater species in mind but don’t discount the freshwater representatives yet. In the ponds, lakes and rivers anglers can expect to find blue catfish, crappie species, chain pickerel, gar, largemouth bass, various panfish and some exotics like the hard-fighting peacock bass. On the saltier side of things expect to find a vast array of tropical and warm water species roaming the coastal waters and the gulfstream. Offshore will produce several billfish species, die-hard cobia, colorful and tasty mahi as well as various grouper species. On the reefs and wrecks expect to find plenty of snapper species like the wary gray snapper, muttons, lane, yellowtail, vermillion and of course the sought-after cubera. No discussion of Florida fishing would be complete without a mention of the estuarine species. The tarpon is the subject of many tournaments in the keys as is the red drum in the upper parts of Florida and don’t forget the robalo or snook. The snook typically comes in at the top of the list for a lot of inshore fishermen looking for a fight (and a great tasting fillet!). Snook are typically targeted in the intercoastal waterways but one can catch them from the freshwaters of Lake Okeechobee to wrecks and reefs miles offshore. Check out these two guides for more in depth how-to on catching these fighters.