Fishing Tours in Sarasota, FL

There are a lot of fish in the sea! Before you head out on ocean fishing tours in Sarasota, FL, it’s important to know what you might end up reeling in! The crew at Charter Boat Shark will help you understand what fish are swimming below the boat: no matter where you drop your line, what season it is, what bait you’re using or what casting technique you prefer. We’re local experts on all of the fish of the area!

Expert Captains

With licensed, Coast Guard-Certified captains at the helm of our boats, you’re guaranteed to reel in a catch that’s picture-worthy! Our captains will make sure of it, using sophisticated fish locating equipment to position you in the best proximity to fish. We’ll also be happy to give you advice on best practices or bait options. Whether you’re an expert or a beginner, our captains will make sure you’re given the best possible chance to make the most of your charter.

Local-Area Fish

The Gulf of Mexico is plentiful when it comes to different types of game fish. There’s a huge range of different fish to be had, no matter if you prefer casting, trolling or bottom fishing. Some of the many different types you might have the pleasure of reeling in include:


Fish

Where

How

Season

Bait

Amberjack

gulf

trolling,
casting

fall,
winter

jigs,
flies, spoons

amberjack

what the amberjack may lack in long runs and jumping is easily
overlooked by its super strength. the pull of this fish is sheer
delight to the angler, and this fish makes a beautiful trophy. the
gold and purple vary from locale to locale. however, the black
band across the eyes is the most common identification mark.

Barracuda

gulf reefs

trolling,
casting

all
year

live
bait, lures

barracuda

the
barracuda, nicknamed the “tiger of the sea,” is an
inquisitive, aggressive predator. it is found offshore and inshore
wherever smaller fish are to be found. inshore it provides the
angler with an aerial display, often jumping out of the water two
to three times its own length.

size:
common 3 to 10 pounds, 12 to 20 pounders are regularly
encountered(especially offshore), fish over 30 pounds are
trophies, and 50-pounders are legendary

Black Grouper

gulf

bottom

all
year

live
bait

black grouper

Darkish gray in color with box-like patterns on body and black fins. Although often confused with the more popular and widely distributed gag grouper, the black’s markings are darker, it’s fins are black and the fin edges are black or dark blue.

Black Sea Bass

gulf

bottom

all
year

live
bait

black sea bass

Grouper-shaped bottomfish with heavy scales, distinctive coloring ranging from black to charcoal to olive-black, sometimes with blue tinges and spots that appear as stripes on the dorsal fin. Tail fin in adults may be tri-lobbed. Some males have a green cast on the head, sometimes a “hump” in front of the dorsal fin. Sea Bass commonly change sex as they mature, starting life as females, then changing to males as they grow larger.

Black Tip Shark

gulf

trolling

all
year

live
bait

black tip shark

The Black Tip Shark is a favorite catch on light tackle. As a runner, this shark can match many other fish fir its ability to strip line. This shark has the habit to sometimes leap and spin like a football. This jump is most impressive and often times results in breaking the line.

Cobia

gulf

bottom

winter,
spring

crabs,
shrimp

cobia

The Cobia, a lone wolf type of fish, usually found around buoys and channel markers.

Crevalle Jack

gulf,
passes

trolling,
casting

fall,
winter

jigs,
flies, spoons

Crevalle Jack

The Crevalle Jack, a savage fighter and rightfully called the “bulldog” of the sea for the stubborn fight it puts up when hooked.

Dolphin

gulf

trolling

all
year

live
bait

Dolphin

Found in warm waters worldwide, the Dolphin is amond the most colorful of the gamefish. It’s hard fighting and gold-green and blue colors makes this fish most popular.

Flounder

gulf,
bays

bottom

all
year

shrimp,
cut bait, jigs

flounder

body color brown, its shade depending on color of bottom, with numerous spots and blotches; 3 prominent eye-like spots forming a triangle; one spot on lateral line, one above, one below; numerous white spots scattered over body and fins (albigutta, white-spotted); strong canine-like teeth; caudal fin in shape of wedge, its tip in the middle.

Gag Grouper

gulf

bottom

all
year

pinfish,
jigs

Gag Grouper

Brownish gray with dark worm-like markings on sides. Often confused with Black Grouper, a Gag’s markings are lighter in hue and it’s fins are bluish. Most Gags begin life as females and change sexes to males as they grow older.

Gray Snapper

gulf,
bays

bottom

all
year

shrimp

Gray Snapper

The Gray Snapper,also called the Mangrove Snapper, is the wisest and most alert member of the snappers. While quite numerous they are not easily caught.

Hammerhead Shark

gulf

bottom

all
year

live
bait

hammerhead shark

Hogfish

gulf

bottom

all
year

live
bait

hogfish

Colors vary with this species, but it usually has a soft reddish hue over a deep body that gradually fades to white on it’s belly and lower jaw. It’s first three dorsal fin rays taper into streamers. This fish, which is also called a Hog Snapper, Hog Wrasse, and Captain, has a long tapering mouth with protruding teeth.

Jewfish

gulf

bottom

all
year

live
bait

jewfish

The Jewfish, the giant of the groupers, averages 20 lbs., often 100 lbs., and records of 800 lbs! The muscle required to get one off the sea bottom is what puts the Jewfish in the game fish class, although they can move fast for a short distance. They prefer deep holes where they seem to sulk and pull straight down when hooked. Now commonly called Goliath Grouper.

King Mackerel

gulf

bottom

all
year

live
bait

King mackerel

The King Mackerel’s back is iridescent blue-green, and it’s sides are silvery; it has a very streamlines body and tapered head. No black pigment is found on the front of the dorsal fin. The lateral line is easy to see; it starts high behind the gill plate and drops sharply toward the belly near the second dorsal fin. The King Mackerel is sometimes confused with the larger-on-average-sized Wahoo, but Wahoo have numerous deep blue-black vertical bars running along the flanks. The Wahoo’s head is also longer and more tapered to a point, with a second dorsal fin usually lower in silhouette than the first dorsal; whereas the King Mackerel’s first dorsal often is lower in height than the second dorsal. It is also known as the Kingfish

Ladyfish

gulf,
passes

casting

all
year

live
bait

ladyfish

The spectacular Ladyfish is silverish in color and has a long, slender body with a deeply-forked tail. It looks similar to a bonefish, but during a battle, is a prolific jumper and strong runner. Due to it’s flamboyance during a fracas on light tackle, it’s often referred to as a “poor man’s Tarpon.” Other nickname is the Skipjack.

Lane Snapper

lane snapper

A pretty fish, the Lane Snapper features reddish or rosy hues with yellow bars on it’s higher back area, merging with a white underside. It’s also noted for a single black spot beneath it’s dorsal fin. The Lane is also known as a spot or candy snapper.

Lizardfish

gulf,
passes

casting

all
year

live
bait

lizardfish

The Inshore Lizardfish, a voracious feeder, it feeds on small fish, crabs, shrimp, worms, or almost anything.

Nassau Grouper

gulf

bottom

all
year

live
bait

nassau grouper

This fish has a similar shape and pattern to a red grouper, however the Nassau has a light background with brown or reddish-brown bars on it’s sides. Other characteristics are stripe in the shape of a tuning fork on it’s forehead, black dots around the eyes, and a “saddle” in it’s caudal peduncle. The fish is also known as the White Grouper, Bahamas Grouper, and Rockfish.

Permit

gulf

casting

spring,
summer

jigs,
crabs, shrimp, flies

permit

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.

Red Grouper

gulf

bottom

all
year

pinfish,
jigs

red grouper

color brownish red; lining of mouth scarlet-orange; blotches on sides in unorganized pattern; second spine of dorsal fin longer than others; pectoral fins longer than pelvic fins; squared off tail; margin of soft dorsal black with white at midfin; black dots around the eyes.

Red Drum

red drum

This important and excellent Florida gamefish has a copper, subtle rust “red” color along the dorsal half. It’s pale or white along the underside. Fish from clear water, or just in from the open ocean, can be very silvery, with fins tipped in a subtle blue hue. No confusion with the Black Drum is possible, since the Black Drum has chin barbels and the Red Drum is clean shaven.

Red Snapper

gulf

trolling,
drifting

spring,
fall

spoons,
plugs, spanish sardines

red snapper

The Red Snapper, is a deep water fish, taken mostly by commercial fishermen. When a school is located, they usually bite fast and the catch is heavy.

Rock Hind

gulf

casting

all
year

live
bait

rock hind

The Rock Hind, is a valuable food fish that is commercially important and one of the most beautifully patterned of the groupers.

Spanish Mackerel

gulf,
passes, bays

trolling,
casting

all
year

jigs,
spoons, flies, live bait

spanish mackeral

With it’s streamlined shape, similar to that of a torpedo, the Spanish Mackerel has a green back with silvery sides and numerous yellow or brown spots covering most of it’s body. It also has lots of sharp teeth and a lateral line that tapers gently from the front to the back with no severe dip. Also called a Mack, Sierra, or just plain Spanish.

Sailfish

gulf

trolling

all
year

shrimp

sail fish

One of the world’s great gamefish, Sailfish are also among the most easily identified species. The dorsal fin runs along almost the entire back. It’s a towering, wispy, sail-like fin, a deep iridescent blue with blue or black spots on the “sail” fin sides. The back of the fish also is dark, almost glowing blue, and vertical stripes mark the fish’s flanks, especially when first caught or still held in the water. A long pointed “bill” grows from the fish’s nose.

Scamp

gulf

bottom

all
year

jigs,
spoons, shrimp, flies

scamp

It’s overall coloration is light gray or tan with reddish-brown spots on it’s side that tend to be grouped onto lines. Some yellow around the corners of it’s mouth. The elongated rays of t’s caudal fin give it a broomtail appearance. This is a popular species that is sought by many offshore bottom-fishing enthusiasts. In some circles it’s called a brown grouper or a broomtail grouper.

Sheepshead

bays,
gulf

bottom

all
year

shrimp,
crab, sand fleas

sheephead

The Sheepshead,gets it’s name from the resemblance of it’s teeth to that of sheep. The pwerful jaws and strong teeth are used clip the bait in quick bites which makes it a difficult fish to hook. Average weight, 2 to 3 pounds, sometimes 20 lbs. or more.

Tunny

gulf

casting

all
year

jigs,
minnows, flies, plugs, shrimp

tunny

The little Tunny is a short, stocky, tuna look-alike, with a green-blue back, a number of irregular dark lines along the back on each side, and prominent black spots just below the pectoral fins.

Tarpon

gulf,
bays

casting,
bottom

may-july

pinfish,
crabs, flies

tarpon

Warm inshore waters are home for this popular catch. The Tarpon is a most difficult fish to hook. It’s hard boney mouth allows it to often throw the hook while jumping. This fish, perhaps more than any other gamefish, is known to continue to jump throughout most of the battle.

Tripletail

bays

casting

nov-feb

shrimp,
jigs, flies

triptail

The Tripletail, caught mostly still fishing, rarly taking a trolled lure. Readily takes a hook baited with shrimp, crabs, and such. Good eating, but bony. Weight up to 20lbs.

Wahoo

gulf

trolling

all
year

shrimp,
jigs, spoons, flies

wahoo

Wahoo is a gamefish known for its long hard runs at speeds up to 45 mph! Because of the limited number of Wahoo caught, it is considered a rare trophy fish.


Possession of saltwater fish, shellfish & crabs is regulated. Federal, state & local laws may apply for certain areas & seasons. New rules are pending. We will provide current rules. This chart is for Catch & Release.

Our experienced captains can help you understand what the best cast method is for the fish you’re trying to catch. We also know all of the local fishing areas that are best-known for producing catch rates of certain types of fish. The moral of the story is that we’ll help you land something you’ll be proud to reel in!

Schedule a Fishing Tour

Are you ready to plan an ocean fishing tour in Sarasota, FL? Contact Charter Boat Shark today to schedule your excursion. We can be reached at 941-365-2161.