man pulling a hook out of a fish

Every year around 3 million people fish in the Gulf of Mexico. This body of water is among the most ecologically diverse and provides both expert anglers and first-time fishers with the opportunity to see sea turtles, dolphins, and sharks. From fishing on the Bay or Jetty with friends or family to Spanish Mackerel deep-sea fishing, the following are some different kinds of fishing trips that you can enjoy on your Gulf Coast visit.

Deep-Sea Fishing: While you are on a deep-sea fishing trip, typically you can expect a combination of jigging, drift fishing, trolling, and bottom fishing from 10 up to 100 miles away from shore. That will give you the chance to experience a wide range of different fish species while on your trip.  Due to the distance and amount of time spent on the water, it’s crucial to bring a fishing hat, sunscreen, and other clothes to keep your skin protected from the intense sun.

On certain days you might be limited to bottom fishing and trolling because of weather conditions. However, those methods can bring in a high number of fish. Among the most common kinds of fish that you can see while on an offshore or deep-sea gulf fishing trip are Wahoo, Sailfish, Jack Crevalle, Sharks, Cobia (Ling), Dorado, Tripletail, Spanish Mackerel, and King Mackerel. For a deep-sea fishing trip, the best places include Destin, Florida, and Galveston, Texas.

Jetty & Bay Fishing: These types of fishing trips are an excellent way to enjoy time with friends and family,, especially if you happen to have young kids. This type of trip gives you the opportunity to catch a wide range of different species of fish while also allowing you to see dolphins and perhaps a few sharks. During a Jetty & Bay fishing trip, you can try out a combination of bottom and light tackle fishing. Both dead and live bait can also be used. Jetty & Bay fishing trips are very popular all year long.

Some of the more common kinds of fish that you can see include Spanish Mackerel, Pompano, Whiting, Flounder, Sharks, Black Drum, Speckled Trout, Red Drum (Redfish), White Trout, and Sheepshead. For jetty fishing, the most comprehensive habitat is located in Galveston, Texas, which is home to the world’s biggest jetty complex.

Shark Fishing: On the Gulf Coast, it is best to fish for sharks is from May through September. Waters are warmer during this time and sharks are the most plentiful and abundant in the nearshore waters and along the beachfront of Galveston, Texas. Different kinds of bait can be used to catch sharks including both dead and live baits. Bottom fishing or drifting can also be used.

Catching sharks can be fun, especially since they are hard fighters. This kind of trip is best suited for catch-and-release fishers who are wanting to have a big fish battle. Some sharks can be kept if it is legal and you are planning on eating them instead of wasting them.

What Types of Fish Can You Find On The Gulf Of Mexico

You will be told by local fishing guides that the Gulf of Mexico offers hundreds of different species that you can search for when you are fishing. Not all of them might be hungry on your fishing trip. However, a great surprise might be in store for you on your next fishing trip.  Go to this website if you’d like to learn more about all the rules and regs of fishing in the Gulf: https://gulfcouncil.org/fishing-regulations/federal/

So whether you are planning on catch-and-eat or catch-and-release, the following are some of the more common kinds of fish that you can expect to find:

Red Snapper: On the Gulf, this is among the most highly sought-after fish. Red Snappers range from 3 pounds up to 30 pounds and tend to be found in 50 to 300-foot water. Red Snappers are commonly found around various artificial reefs and bottom structures. However, there are regulations that set a limit on the number of fish that can be caught by each person in order to help protect the population and help to ensure that generations in the future will also be able to enjoy outstanding fishing experiences.

Kingfish: Also called King Mackerel, they can range from 1 pound up to 60 pounds. They have a large mouth full of very sharp teeth and put up a huge fight. Typically kingfish are caught from April through November while they are making their yearly migration. A variety of different baits can be used by anglers to catch them, including artificial lures and whole fish. Each person is limited by regulations to catching three Kingfish each.

Ling: Also called Cobia, these are large fish that tend to weigh fro20 pounds up to 50 pounds, with some fish growing up to 100 pounds. April through September is the best time to catch Ling. They are dark gray or brown and are commonly found under anchored shrimp boats, buoys, and platforms. You can bait them with dead fish, squid, shrimp, live pinfish, crabs, cigar minnows, and mullet.

Amberjack: This type of fish can weigh from 30 pounds up to 50 pounds but also can weigh as much as 100 pounds. Since they are really strong, they are among the hardest fighting fish that can be caught. Often these fish are found on reefs ranging from 60 feet to 400 feet deep. You can use live bait to catch them and are commonly caught on 12-hour and longer deep-sea fishing trips.

Redfish: Also called Red Drum, these fish have a white underside and reddish or bronze color. They range from 10 pounds up to 30 pounds, with the heaviest ones going up to 50 pounds. You can find them along jetties, shallow flats, rocky shorelines, and grassy shorelines. They feed on various live baitfish including crabs and shrimp.

Speckled Trout: Typically these fish are caught in the bay. They can be had to find since they prefer waters with slightly lower salinity and follow baitfish. They belong to the drum family and are a very popular fish to catch. They tend to weigh between 3 pounds to 5 pounds and range from 19 to 32 inches long.

Sheepshead: Also called Bay Snapper or Convict Fish, these fish have protruding teeth and black vertical bands. They also have very heavy and strong fins, making it difficult to catch them even though they are small. Sheepshead weighs an average of fewer than 4 pounds. They feed on small crabs, shrimp, and shellfish that are found in bulkheads, jetties, and rocky areas.

Shark: This is the biggest species of fish that you can expect to catch while on a Gulf of Mexico fishing trip. Some of the more common kinds of sharks that can be caught include Sandbars, Spinners, and Blacktips. Bull and Tiger sharks can also be caught occasionally also. However, many sharks cannot be kept and are intended for catch-and-release fishing. The average size of a shark caught in the area ranges from 4 feet up to 7 feet and weighs an average of more than 100 pounds.

The Gulf of Mexico is an excellent place for both experienced anglers and first-times to fish for different interesting species of fish. Whether you are going on a corporate getaway or fishing trip with your family, consider going to the Gulf this year for an exciting fishing adventure.