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Puerto Morelos Travel Guide


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The Fish of Mexico

BLUE MARLIN ( Makaira nigricans)

blue marlin

Other Names: Aguja Azul, Marlin Azul


Range: Mexican Deep Waters, Eastern Pacific, and Caribbean


Habitat: A free-roamer that is best fished where bait is most plentiful: Along weed lines; around schools of small tuna and other pelagic baitfish; in areas where seamounts or other sub-surface structure creates upwellings and current; sharp bottom contours; temperature changes.


Description: Coloration varies a great deal. Most common phase is dark blue, almost black on the dorsal surface, shading to whitish. Usually several vertical stripes are noticeable. Early in the 20th century, these variations led anglers to believe several species were involved. Science eventually determined that the Black and Striped Marlins are strictly Pacific species, and that a Silver Marlin is non-existent. The Blue Marlin, however, is found in both hemispheres. The feature that distinguishes the Blue Marlin from others is the pointed dorsal fin that curves sharply downward. The anal fin and pectoral fins also are pointed.


Size: From 150 pounds to 500, not rare over 500. World record 1,402 pounds


Food Value: Good, but normally released by sportsmen.


Game Qualities: Best of all for speed, power and jumping ability, a real fighter.


Tackle & Baits: While many Blues have been caught on lighter outfits, the standard is a good balanced ocean trolling outfit in the 50 pound or even 80 pound line class. Marlin baits fall into three categories: Artificial trolling lures; Live, fairly large baitfish, such as school Dolphin or Bonito; and Rigged natural baits, such as Mullet, Mackerel, Bonito, Barracuda, extra-large Ballyhoo (“Horse Ballyhoo”). Lures are used most often because they allow more area to be covered. In somewhat limited areas, such as along weedlines or around seamounts and other well-established grounds, live bait is usually preferred.


Fishing Systems: Drifting. Trolling.  

BLACK MARLIN (Makaira indicus)


OTHER NAMES: Pacific Black Marlin, giant black marlin (Hawaii), white marlin (Japan)


RANGE: Mexican Deep Waters, Eastern Pacific, and Caribbean


HABITAT: Black Marlin generally exists in the tropical and sub-tropical regions of the Pacific and Indian Oceans. They are a highly migratory, pelagic species that will rarely swim deeper than 100 feet. They are most commonly found in deep waters, near such prominent bottom structures as continental shelves and reefs.


DESCRIPTION: The black marlin is the only marlin with non-retractable fins. Another distinguishing trait is their dorsal fin that is proportionately the lowest of any billfish. It stands less than 50 percent of the fish's body height. The black marlin's back is slate blue and transitions to a silver belly. It may also have light blue stripes when excited.


SIZE: World Record 1560 lbs. These are big fish!!


FOOD VALUE: Good, but normally released by sportsmen.


GAME QUALITIES: The black's immense strength and exceptional size makes it a favored target among big-game fishermen. A fight with one of these fish can last for hours, wearing severely on the angler as well as the tackle. Anglers commonly troll brightly colored lures or rigged baitfish to catch this species. As a result of the depleted stocks, many sport fishermen are now tagging and releasing their catches.


TACKLE AND BAITS: While many Blacks have been caught on lighter outfits, the standard is a good balanced ocean-trolling outfit in the 50-pound or even 80-pound line class. Marlin baits fall into three categories: Artificial trolling lures; Live, fairly large baitfish, such as school Dolphin or Bonito; and Rigged natural baits, such as Mullet, Mackerel, Bonito, Barracuda, extra-large Ballyhoo ("Horse Ballyhoo"). Lures are used most often, because they allow more area to be covered. In somewhat limited areas, such as along weedlines or around seamounts and other well-established grounds, live bait is usually preferred.


FISHING SYSTEMS: Sometimes Drifting; Trolling.

WHITE MARLIN ( Makaira Albidus)

white marlin 

Other Names: Marlin Blanco


Range: Mexican Deep Water; Atlantic; Caribbean


Habitat: White Marlin generally found in the tropical and sub-tropical regions of the Atlantic Ocean. They are like Blue Marlin, a roamer of the open sea, and sought by anglers wherever feeding conditions or temperatures are most favorable


Description: The White Marlin proportionately slimmer than the Blue Marlin, but similarly colored, a White can be distinguished from a small Blue by the rounded tips of dorsal, anal and pectoral fins.


Size: Maximum is less than 200 pounds, with most catches ranging from 50 to 100 pounds.

World record 181 pounds, 14 ounces.


Food Value: Good, but commercially protected and seldom eaten by sportsmen.


Game Qualities: Lacks the size and power of a Blue, but on appropriate tackle it is a spectacular jumper and long-distance runner.


Tackle & Baits: Light ocean trolling or heavy spinning outfits with lines up to 30-pound test: 12and 20-pound lines are tops for sport. Anglers targeting White Marlin usually choose rigged trolling baits including squid, strips and Ballyhoo. They eagerly strike small live baits, of course, and artificial trolling lures also take many Whites.


Fishing Systems: Trolling; sometimes Drifting.

STRIPED MARLIN (Tetrapturus audax)


Range: Mexican Deep Waters; Eastern Pacific

Habitat: Striped marlin occur in tropical and warm temperature waters of the Indian and Pacific Oceans. On the west coast of Mexico and the U.S. they range as far north as Oregon, but are most common south of Point Conception, California. They usually appear off Mexico in July and remain until late October.

Description: The body of the striped marlin is elongated and compressed. The upper jaw is much extended, forming a rounded spear. The color is dark blue above, becoming silver below, with light blue bars or vertical spots on the sides.

Size: World Record 339 pounds. These are smaller than the Blues and Blacks, but well worth the fight they’ll give you.

Food Value: Good, but normally released by sportsmen.

Game Qualities: Outstanding for speed, power and jumping ability. All Marlins are big fighters.

Tackle & Baits: Most striped marlin are taken by trolling artificial lures in areas they are known to inhabit. Blind strikes are generally the rule, but one can occasionally tempt a “finner” or “sleeper” (marlin swimming along the surface) to strike if lures are trolled past the fish. Live bait also works well but requires more effort since the fish must usually be first spotted visually. Once a striped marlin is located, the angler should cast a bait in front of and past the fish so it can be reeled back towards the animal. Strikes usually result from properly presented live bait. Most striped marlin anglers prefer Pacific mackeral as bait.

Fishing Systems: Drifting. Trolling.

SAILFISH (Istiophorus platypterus)


Other Names: Pez Vela


Range: Mexican Coastal Waters, Eastern Pacific, Caribbean


Habitat: Like the other Billfishes, the Sailfish is considered an ocean species, but generally can be found closer to land than the rest, seeming to prefer areas where coral reefs and/or freshwater runoffs mingle with ocean water.


Description: Upper surfaces usually dark blue to black, silvery below, and vertical stripes often visible on sides.


Size: Averages 30-60 pounds, but many under 30 pounds and a few up to 100 pounds are also taken. World record 221 pounds.


Food Value: Very good broiled or smoked, and should be kept if inadvertently killed. 


Protected commercially.


Game Qualities: Unsurpassed in its size range for combined strength and spectacle.


Tackle & Baits: Light ocean trolling or heavy spinning outfits with lines up to 30-pound test; 12 and 20 pound lines are adequate in experienced hands and provide great sport. In Southeast Florida, live-baiting, either by kite fishing or flatline drifting, has become perhaps the most popular approach to sailfishing, with Blue Runners, Goggle-eyes, Pilchards or Pinfish being the common offerings. Historically, most Sailfishing has been done with rigged trolling baits, mainly Ballyhoo and strips of Bonito or other small fish. Many Sailfish have been caught on jigs and on drifted Ballyhoo/jig combinations. Fly casters have also taken them on occasion, but Atlantic sails do not decoy as readily as their Pacific counterparts and so fly fishing for them has not become very popular, despite the fact that science has proclaimed the Sailfish of both oceans to be the same species.


Fishing Systems: Occasionally Casting, Drifting, Trolling

WAHOO (Acanthocybium soladri)


 Other Names: Peto, Ono


Range: Mexican Coastal Waters, Caribbean


Habitat: Roams the deep blue water, but anglers can find them by working drop-offs, seamounts, weed lines and other favorable feeding locations.


Description: Long, slender body marked with zebra-like stripes of white and deep blue or black. Mouth is elongated and narrow, and equipped with razor-sharp teeth – careful!


Size: Common at 10-50 pounds; often grows to 80 or 90 pounds; maximum potential about 150 pounds. World record is 158 pounds, 8 ounces.


Food Value: White meat is tasty but rather dry. A good fish for smoking.


Game Qualities: May strike surface bait in spectacular fashion, but seldom jumps after being hooked. Wild fight is characterized by several sizzling runs, usually at or near the surface. One of the fastest of all gamefish.


Tackle & Baits: Many Wahoo are hooked on heavy tackle, incidentally in Billfishing. Best choices, however, are light to medium ocean trolling outfits with lines up to 30-pound test; 50-pound isn’t too heavy for good sport with big specimens. A few have been caught by deep jigging or ocean casting with spinning and bait casting tackle – even fly tackle on rare occasion. Most productive bait is a weighted feather or similar trolling lure, rigged in combination with a whole small baitfish or large strip. Surface trolling is sometimes effective, but deep trolling is much more likely to produce a Wahoo.


Fishing Systems: Drifting, Trolling

DORADO (Coryphaena hippurus)


Other Names: Dolphin, Mahi Mahi


Range: Mexican Coastal Waters, Caribbean 


Habitat: Dolphin roam the open sea in a continuous hunt for food. Anglers seek them along rafted weed lines and around any sort of large floating object. Feeding birds, particularly frigate birds, may also give the location of schools away.


Description: A blaze of blue and yellow or deep green and yellow when in the water sometimes shows dark vertical stripes as well when excited. Small dark spots on the sides. Dorsal fin extends nearly from head to tail. Head is very blunt in males (bulls); rounded in females (cows). The Pompano Dolphin, Coryphaena equisetis, is often mistaken as a female or juvenile male Dolphin. It is found in most of the same waters, grows to about 5 pounds, and can be distinguished by the rounded shape of the underbelly.


Size: Schooling fish run in similar sizes, from around a pound to nearly 20 pounds at times; larger fish are loners or can be found in pairs, bull and cow. Big bulls often reach 50 pounds in weight and can exceed 80 pounds on rare occasions. Large cows generally top out at 40 pounds or so. World record is 87 pounds.


Food Value: Excellent. The white flesh is mild but flavorful, and suitable for any method of cooking.


Game Qualities: Top of the heap in any weight class speedy. Speedy, strong and acrobatic.


Tackle & Baits: With the Dorados anything goes. Private boat anglers seek to find a school by trolling or by running and searching for visual signs. Once a school is located it can usually be kept around the boat by restrained chumming with cut bait, and/or by keeping at least one hooked fish in the water at all times. A hot school will eagerly accept jigs and all sorts of casting baits, including flies and popping bugs. If strikes slow down, cut bait often does the trick. Big or wise fish may insist on live bait. Countless Dolphin are also caught, both by design and accidentally, on the entire gamut of rigged trolling baits and artificial trolling lures.


Fishing Systems: Casting, Drifting, Trolling  

Great Barracuda, (Sphyraena Barracuda)

great barracuda

Other Names: Cuda, Sea Pike, Picuda


Range: Atlantic coast of tropical America from North Carolina, Mexico to Brazil and reaching Bermuda. Hawaii is as far as the species is found in the pacific waters.


Habitat: The Barracuda is at home almost anywhere in warmer waters, from shorelines and bays out to the deep blue. Form central Florida northward, the great Barracuda is seldom encountered except offshore, usually over wrecks or reefs.


Description: The pointed head with a jaw full of jagged teeth is an easy identifier of the barracuda. Black blotches mark the silvery sides. The body is elongated. The top of the large head between the eyes is flat or concave.
Barracudas are curious, fearsome-looking, usually solitary predators.


Size: Juveniles up to a few pounds frequent the flats and shores of costal waters. In deeper waters, most Barracudas run from 10 to 20 pounds. Individuals up to 40 pounds are not unusual, and the max size exceeds 80 pounds. World record 84 pounds, 14 ounces.


Food Value: Excellent to 5 pound. Large fish have been known to carry Ciguatera poison. 


Game Qualities: ranks among the most spectacular fighters, frequently mixing fast and fairly long runs with grayhounding jumps. It can also fight deep with good strength and stamina


Tackle & Baits: For inshore fishing on the flats and along shorelines, spinning and baitcasting tackle


are ideal, and fly tackle will also take plenty of Cuda. The best artificial bait for Barracuda is a tube lure, made from a foot or 18 inches of plastic tubing with wire through the middle and a hook on the end. Fly casters can make or buy similar lures of braided textile materials. Over reefs and wrecks, casting tackle is still a good choice, with light saltwater gear also capable of providing good sport. Live fish make the very best natural baits. The Barracuda also attacks rigged natural baits, such as Ballyhoo, with great pleasure.


Fishing Systems: Casting; Still Fishing; Trolling

King Mackerel  (Scomberomorus Cavalla)


Other Names: Kingfish, King


Range: Mexican Deep Waters, Eastern Pacific, Caribbean


Habitat: Widely distributed in coastal waters out of the shelf, but greatest concentrations are found fairly close to shore and even right along the ocean beaches. Some of the biggest fish, in fact, are often taken from piers, or from boats working close to the beach, and are sometimes referred as ¨Beachrunners¨.


Description: The body of the mackerel is iron-gray along the back, and silvery on the sides and belly with pale to dusky fins. Small Mackerel may have spots along the sides as do Spanish mackerel, but may be distinguished from the latter species by the lateral line, which dips sharply, and also by the color of the anterior dorsal fin, which is gray instead of black.

Size: in large schools the average size may run from a couple of pounds to about 20 pounds. Big fish, running from 30 to 50 pounds or more, are not schoolers but may gang up. Potential maximum size is possible 100. World record 93 pounds.

Food Value: Rich flesh fine broiled or smoked


Game Qualities: Kings are strong and sizzling fighters, making use of both speed and strength


Tackle & Baits: The most popular gear is light to medium ocean tackle with lines testing from 20-40 pounds, but kings of all sizes can be caught on spinning, baitcasting and even fly tacke. Surf tackle is the best choice for pier fishing. Spoons trolled behind planers are good, as are rigged Cigar Minnows and feather-minnow combinations. King Mackerel respond well to chum, particularly chum containing ground menhaden (bunker) or Menhaden oil. Fishing with live Menhaden, Herring, Cigar Minnows or Sardines is probably the most productive system of all, but drifting with rigged baits, strips or live shrimp can be effective too.


Fishing Systems: Drifting; Still Fishing; Trolling; Casting

Spanish Mackarel  (Scomberomorus maculatus)


Other Names: Mack, Spanish

Range: Mexican Deep Waters, Eastern Pacific, Caribbean

Habitat: Largely coastal, but roams offshore at times.

Description: Dark above with silvery sides. Many spots, which are both yellow and brown. The body is proportionately deeper than with juvenile King Mackerel and the yellow spots appear rounder and brighter, but if in doubt, the only true identifier is the lateral line, which tapers rather gently from front to back with no severe dip.

Size: Common at 1-3 pounds; not too unusual at 5-7 pounds; maximum potential over 10 pounds. World record 13 pounds.

Food Value: If you like rich, rather dark fillets, they are great broiled or skinned and fried. Good smoked, too.

Game Qualities: Outstanding on light tackle, very fast runs.

Tackle & Baits:Spinning, baitcasting and fly outfits. Spinning is often best, because the faster retrieve of a spinning reel is sometimes needed to move a lure at a pace that will interest the Mackerel. Best lures are small white nylon jigs and silver spoons, but many others work, including topwater at times. Flies should be small with lots of flash. Best bait are small silvery baitfish, live shrimp and drifted strips.

Fishing Systems: Drifting. Still Fishing. Trolling.  

BLACKFIN TUNA  (Thunnus Atlanticus)


Other Names: Bermuda Tuna, Football

Range: Cape Code to Mexican Deep Waters; also Bermuda

Habitat: The open seas.

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.

Size: From 10-35 lbs. World record 45 lbs. 8 oz.

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.

Game Qualities: Among the best fighters, relative to size 

Tackle & Baits: Light classes of ocean tackle, plus spinning and baitcasting outfits. For trolling, choose small offshore lures, feathers, spoons and small rigged baits such as ballyhoo or strips. Blackfins can be spooky and so trolling baits often most be pulled far astern. Like Yellowfin Tuna, they can be chummed with live Pilchards, Anchovies or other small baitfish, and fished for with the same bait, or by casting. Best hard lures are white jigs, tied with bucktail or feathers to provide a large profile. Flies should be similarly tied- to imitate size and color of the live chum.

Fishing Systems: Drifting, Still Fishing, Trolling.  

YELLOWFIN TUNA  (Thunnus albacres)

yellowfin tuna

Other Names: Allison Tuna, Ahi

Range: Mexican Deep Waters, Eastern Pacific, Caribbean

Habitat: The open seas, but frequently near dropoffs.

Description: Distinguishing the Yellowfin Tuna from the Blackfin or Bigeye is sometimes difficult as many visual features are similar. Finlets of the Yellowfin are yellow, trimmed in black. Gold stripe along side. Light underside usually shows spots and/or wavy lines. Second dorsal and anal fins of very large individuals are elongated and lunate – a feature not found on any other Tuna.

Size: May run anywhere from a few pounds to more than 200 pounds. Maximum upwards of 380 pounds. World record is 388 pounds, 12 ounces; Caribbean record 230 pounds.

Food Value: One of the best.

Game Qualities: Second only to Bluefin Tuna, and only because of smaller size.

Tackle & Baits: Heavy outfits are indicated – 50 or 80 pound. Light and medium ocean outfits are often used. Most are probably caught trolling with offshore trolling lures or rigged baits, but in certain areas the best approach is to anchor on a reef near deep blue water and bring in the fish by chumming with Pilchards or similar small baitfish. In that situation they can also be hooked by casting artificial lures with spinning, baitcasting and fly tackle – and landed, if the size is right and luck is with the angler.

Fishing Systems: Drifting, Still Fishing, Trolling.

Little Tunny (Euthynnus Alletteratus)


Other Names: Florida Bonito, False Albacore

Range: Mexican costal and Deep Waters to Cape Cod; more numerous un southern waters

Habitat: A roamer, from close inshore to deep sea.

Description: Color is rich blue above, silvery below; with wavy patterns un the upper side, aft of the dorsal fin, and spots around the pectoral fin.

Size: Common in various sizes from less than a pound to 10 or 15 pounds; occasionally exceeds 30 pounds. World record 35 pounds, 2 ounces.

Food Value: Not highly valued by most, but very good especially if the darker meat is trimmed away.

Game Qualities: Another outstanding battler that struggles long and stubbornly on light tackle. Unfortunately, many are caught on heavy gear by anglers seeking bigger game.

Tackle & Baits: Schools can often be approached and cast to with jigs, spoons and small plugs. They can be moody and selective, however, so you may have to try various baits and retrieves. This also is a great target for fly casters, and rather common catch for anglers on ocean piers, who usually get them on small live baits.


Trollers take them on everything from offshore lures and rigged ballyhoo or Cigar Minnows to small feathers.

Fishing Systems: Drifting; Trolling; Casting

GROUPER (Mycteroperca bonaci)


Other Names: Bonaci, Arara, Aguaji, Mero

Range: Mexican Coastal Waters, Pacific Coast, Deep Waters, Caribbean.

Habitat: Groupers of many sizes and varieties are commonly found around the edges of coral reefs and rocks, from about 30 feet of water out to the deepest dropoffs. Even big fish, however, may roam to much shallower patch reefs, especially in cooler seasons. Small Blacks may also frequent creeks in some areas.

Description: Overall color is dark gray. Markings are blacker than those of the Gag, and form box-like patterns. Fins are black, their edges also black or deep blue.

Size: The largest of our Mycteroperca groupers, the Black, frequently exceeds 50 pounds in weight and can top 100. World record 114 pounds.Food Value: Excellent. Yum Yum!!

Game Qualities: Nice fighter – Black Groupers are considered the best of the family.

Tackle & Baits: For all-around work, ocean gear with lines of 30-pound test or higher gets the call. Light tackle fishermen in Banderas Bay, however, have caught many Blacks over 50 pounds. One key, besides a huge helping of luck, is to hook the fish while drifting instead of at anchor. The drift of the boat adds to the power of the tackle and just might help drag the big fish far enough away from his rocky “hole” that he cannot get back. For drifting or still fishing, the best baits are frisky live fish such as Blue Runners or other small jacks. Pinfish and Pilchards are good too, as are Mullet heads and other large cut baits. Best casting lures are leadhead jigs, weighing from 1-4 ounces, depending on depth. Trolling over the reefs with rigged, swimming Mullet, feather-and-strip combos, and large plugs also takes many.

Fishing Systems: Drifting, Still Fishing, Trolling

AMBERJACK (Seriola dumerili)


Other Names: Amberfish, AJ, Coronado, Cavilia

Range: Mexican Coastal Waters, Eastern Pacific, Caribbean

Habitat: Adults are common at various depths, ranging from reefs several hundred feet deep to fairly shallow wrecks and reefs. Big ones also come close to shore at times, particularly in the Keys and the Islands. Artificial reefs and wrecks all along the Gulf Coast often harbor huge schools of smaller Amberjack, and many Gulf wrecks are home to big ones as well.

Description: Overall brownish or goldish. Heavy body. No scutes forward of tail fin. Dark oblique line through the eye that ends at the dorsal fin.

Size: Schools of young fish are common at 5-20 pounds. Average size over deep wrecks and reefs is 30-60 pounds, but 100 pounders are not too rare and the potential maximum exceeds 150 pounds. World record 155 pounds, 10 ounces; Florida record 142 pounds.

Food Value: Excellent smoked or fresh.

Game Qualities: A strong, punishing fighter that powers deep and defies lifting. Fairly long runs can also occur early in the fight. A great deal of stamina matches their strength. Novices may fight Amberjack of average size for an hour or longer.

Tackle & Baits: Amberjack are most often caught aboard charter boats and party boats, on heavy rods and reels with lines testing 50 pounds or more, and are no patsies even then. Experienced light-tackle anglers can successfully battle them with spinning and baitcasting rigs, and even fly rods. Around wrecks, they frequently follow hooked fish to boatside, and also may rise to the top voluntarily, when they can be cast to with surface plugs, spoons, jigs, or big fly rod streamers and poppers. Live chum will also draw Amberjack from the depths. Best bait with heavy tackle is any sort of live fish, the friskier the better.



Fishing Systems: Casting, Drifting, Trolling

SNAPPER  (Lutjanus buccanella)


Other Names: Blackspot Snapper, Bahamas Red Snapper


Range: Mexican Pacific Ocean, Sea of Cortez, Caribbean


Habitat: Nearly all are caught along outside dropoffs at depths of 200 feet or greater. Roams the deep blue water, but anglers can find them by working dropoffs, seamounts, weedlines and other favorable feeding locations.


Description: Vivid red overall, with black crescent-shaped mark at base of the pectoral fin.

Size: Averages 3 or 4 pounds; usual maximum is 10 or so. World record 7 pounds, 3 ounces.

Food Value: Excellent

Game Qualities: Strong fighter like other Snappers

Tackle & Baits: Blackfin Snapper generally stay well beyond the depths of anchoring. Most are caught while drifting and jigging off cliffs and ledges. Blackfin eagerly strike a heavy bucktail or nylon jig.

Fishing Systems: Drifting, Trolling

CREVALLE JACK  (Caranx hippos)

crevalle jack

Other Names: Jack Crevalle, Crevally

Range: Mexican Coastal Waters, Eastern Pacific, Caribbean

Habitat: The Crevalle may show up at any time in virtually all Mexican waters, from the deep reefs to well up coastal rivers. Usually runs in schools and the smaller the individual fish, the larger the school. The biggest Jacks often cruise in pairs and are usually found in or near major inlets and around offshore wrecks and reefs of both coasts, but may come into deep bays and canals where they chase Mullet and often herd the prey against seawalls. Banderas Bay has a large population of this species.

Description: Deep, compressed body. Blunt head with black spot on rear edge of gill cover. Hard scutes forward of sickle-shaped tail. Color usually yellowish with white undersides.

Size: Common at 1 pound or less to about 5 or 6 pounds. Plentiful up to 12 pounds in most areas. Sometimes tops 20 pounds and can reach 50 pounds or even more. World record is 57 pounds.

Food Value: Poor by most tastes. Most of the meat is dark red and of strong flavor. A delicacy for our fine finned friends however.

Game Qualities: Few fish can out-pull a Crevalle of equal size. The fight is unspectacular but dogged, the usual pattern being a long first run. Jacks use their flat sides to good advantage when waging a tug-o-war.

Tackle & Baits: Most Jacks are fairly small and are caught on the full range of light tackle by anglers seeking other game. If you target larger Jacks, say 10 pounds or more, sturdy spinning, baitcasting and fly tackle should be used, with lines no less than 8-pound test. Small Jacks, such as those frequently encountered on shallow flats, will gulp down almost any sort of natural bait, live or dead, as well as all the popular casting and flyrod lures. Big Crevalles, however, generally like their meals moving very fast. To assure hookups, you have to use fresh and frisky live fish, or retrieve your artificial lures rapidly, noisily, or both. Topwater plugs are good, as are fast-whipped jigs. Fly rodders often have to work very hard, stripping their streamers or poppers as fast as their elbows will move.

Fishing Systems: Casting, Drifting, Still Fishing, Trolling

Roosterfish (Nemastistius Pectoralis)


Other Names: Pez gallo, papagallo

Range: Pacific Ocean, Mexico Sea of Cortez

Habitat: Surf and Rocky areas offshore. Can also be found near islands and reefs.

Description: Gray back, silver body with two pronounced diagonal stripes. Pectoral fin long and sickle shaped, dorsal fin very elongated and supposedly has a likeness to a rooster's comb, hence the common name. Tail fin is deeply forked as is typical of all members of the jack family.

Size: 10 to 30 lb. average, but can reach 100 lb. World and Mexican Record is 114 lb.

Food Value: Not the best, but certainly not the worst.

Game Qualities: An angler will see the roosterfish come up on and boil on the trolled bait. They will typically circle and whack at the offering before actually crashing on it. A furious fighter with unequaled stamina, unpredictable slashing moves, jumps and long screaming runs.

Tackle & Baits: live bait, with mullet and sardines their favorite. Rarely taken on lures, but when feeding will hit surface jigs.

Fishing Systems: Casting, Drifting, Still Fishing

Cobia (Rachycentron canadum)


Other Names: Ling, Cobbeo, Lemonfish

Range: New England to Mexican Waters

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

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.

Size: From 15-70 lbs. world record 135 pounds, 9 ounces

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

Game Qualities: Cobia are rugged fighters but individualistic, and so the tussle can be rather unpredictable. Usually, a big fish will get off several long and fairly fast runs, and resist doggedly for long periods in between them.

Tackle & Baits: 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.

Fishing Systems: Casting, Drifting, Still Fishing Trolling

Bonefish (Albula Vulpes)


Other Names: Boneyfish, White Fox, Gray Ghost

Range: Tropical species, it is largely confined to South Florida, Mexican costal waters and Bermuda, although wandering species have been encountered as far north as new England.

Habitat: Although they stick to deep water most of the time, bonefish regularly explore the shallows for food- and there is where most fishing takes place. Over mud, sand or grass flats, or near calm beaches,

Description: The back is dark green. The sides are silver with prominent scales; the head pointed and the tail forked. The body is thick and muscular.

Size: Average from 3 to 4 pounds but is fairly common to 10 pounds and can exceed 15 pounds. World record 19 pounds.

Food Value: Seldom eaten. They are indeed very bony, to say of being too highly prized as gamefish to kill for a mediocre dinner.

Game Qualities: The long-distance running capability of a bonefish in a foot or so of water is legendary. In deep water the battle is rough and bullish.

Tackle & Baits: Classic sight-fishing for bonefish makes use of either spinning outfits, preferably with light, 7-8 foot rods and lines up to 10 pound test. Bonefish rank among the top favorite for fly fishermen, whose standard gear is an 8-weight outfit. Lighter fly rods get some spot use, if wind conditions allow, and 9-weight outfits are not too heavy for good sport. Live shrimp, small crabs, and cut pieces of shrimp, crab or other shellfish make the best natural baits. Most productive spinning lures are horizontally flattened jigs, often-called skimmer jigs, weighing up to ¼ ounce. Most fly rudders prefer very small flies with monofilament weedguards on No. 2 or 4 hooks, but simple bucktails or streamers on No. 1 or 1/0 hooks have taken Bonefish.

Fishing Systems: Casting, Still Fishing 

Tarpon (Megalops Atlanticus)


Other Names: Silver King, Sabalo

Range: Mexican costal Waters; Primarily inshore fish, although adults spawn offshore where the ribbon-like larval stage of the fish can be found.

Habitat: Primarily INSHORE fish, although adult fish spawn OFFSHORE where the ribbon-like larval stage of the fish can be found. We find our larger tarpon off the beaches in the summer. They are often found rolling on the surface and gulping air in while lurking for food or taking it easy between feeding sessions.
Tarpon can often be found in brackish or freshwater near mangroves or in residential canals. Look for tarpon to show up almost anywhere on the lagoons and beaches in the Caribbean, but tarpon "promise land" is found in Ascension bay and other locations around the Atlantic.

Description: Tarpon have one single dorsal fin (the fin on the top) that extends into long filament. A tarpon's back is dark blue to green or greenish black, shading into bright silver on the side. Their color may vary and be brownish gold in estuarine waters. Tarpon have huge scales that are often kept as trophies by anglers and a large mouth that points upward.

Size: From a foot to about 75 pounds, on average, although big fish of 100 pounds are numerous, and a 200-pounder is always a possibility. World record 283 pounds, 4 ounces.

Game Qualities: Tarpon are world-famous for the spectacle and frequency of their jumps. Giant tarpons don’t quite match the acrobatics of the smaller ones, but when hooked in shallow water, they leap almost as much and with even more fury.


Size:Tarpons come in all sizes there fore all sizes and descriptions of tackle find good use.


Anglers seeking big fish should choose surf rods or stout boat tackle with salt water reels and lines testing at least 30 pounds and preferable 50 pounds


All sizes of spinning, baitcasting and fly tackle get lots of play in areas where small and medium-size fish are encountered. Typical fly tackle consists of a 10-12-weight outfit with 16-pound leader and heavy tippet of 80 or100-pound monofilament.


Tackle & Bait: Live crabs and baitfish, as well as cut baitfish make for the best natural baits, while plugs, jigs and spoons make for the best artificial bait.

Fishing Systems:  Casting; Trolling; Drifting; Still Fishing

Permit (Trachinotus falcatus)



Other Names: Round Pompano, Great Pompano

Range: The great majority of them are caught in costal waters, in Florida and the Mexican Caribbean but numerous catches have been recorded from Cape Hatteras southward, and a few north to Cape Code

Habitat: OFFSHORE on wrecks and debris, INSHORE on grass flats, sand flats, and in channels; most abundant in south Florida, with smaller specimens from every coastal county.

Description: color gray, dark or iridescent blue above, shading to silvery sides, in dark waters showing golden tints around breast; small permit have teeth on tongue (none on pompano); no scutes; dorsal fin insertion directly above that of the anal fin; 17 to 21 soft anal rays.

Size: Fish weighing 20 to 30 pounds are common, both on inshore flats and offshore wrecks and reefs. World record 56 pound, 2 ounces.

Food Value: Small Fish are excellent. Large ones are edible but should be released.

Game Qualities: Considered by many as perhaps the best shallow-water gamefish in the world, combining long distance runs with great power.

Tackle & Baits: In deep water, a large Permit can give an excellent account of itself against saltwater tackle and lines up to 30-pound test, but are sportiest on rather stout spinning and baitcasting outfits.  The glamorous approach is to stalk them by sight Bonefish style- on shallow flats, and cast directly to them . Rather light spinning, baitcasting and fly tackle can be used in the shallows- provided the angler has a good supply of line or is able to chase the fish. Best natural bait is any sort of small live crab.  Dead pieces of crab and lobster also work well. Live shrimp are often accepted. Skimmer-type Bonefish jigs are the best spinning lures. Once a Permit takes up the chase, the lure should be stopped and allowed to sink to the bottom. Weighted flies-some of them resembling skimmer jigs made of epoxy-are fished in similar manner.

Fishing Systems:  Casting; Still Fishing


Common Snook (Centropomus undecimalis)

common snook


Other Names: Lineside, Robalo, Ravillia

Range: Western Atlantic Ocean and Caribbean sea from southern Florida and Texas to Rio de Janeiro in Brazil.

Habitat: Usually INSHORE in coastal and brackish waters, along mangrove shorelines, seawalls, and bridges; also on reefs and pilings NEARSHORE. They are usually low light or nocturnal feeders so get up early or fish at night for these large inshore predators.

Description: They are generally a golden yellow in color with a dark black lateral line (stripe) running the length of their body. Their mouth is similar to a large mouth bass' size & shape, yet their gills are razor sharp

Size: Average is about 3 to 15 pounds. Snook weighing 20 to 30 pounds are common, especially during summer spawning season, usual maximum is about 40 pounds, but the potential is to 60 or more. World record 53 pounds,10 ounces.

Food Value: Excellent. The meat is white, mild

Game Qualities: All-around fighting ability is first-rate, with big specimens delivering long and repeated runs, often ending in boiling half-jumps. Smaller fish leap higher and more frequently. A major tactic of all sizes is to foul and the line on any handy object.

Tackle & Baits: Baitcasting outfits, medium-heavy spinning gear, and light saltwater outfits are best suited to live baiting in the inlets and around pilings. Fly fishermen choose large streamers and poppers, while hard-lure casters rely heavily on jigs, spoons, swimming plugs and topwater plugs. Live Mullet and pinfish head the list of natural baits.

Fishing Systems:  Casting; trolling; Still Fishing; Drift Fishing