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Fort Lauderdale Sport Fishing Species

Popular Sport Fishing Species of the Fort lauderdale and Miami coast. As you can see when it comes to Fort lauderdale sport fishing there are many great big game species including big billfish. When you make the trip to Fort Lauderdale or Miami for your fishing vacation you certainly have a chance at catching one or most of these pictured species. So check out the fish, book your charter vacation, and get ready to hook up with one of these magnificent sea creatures on your next Fort Lauderdale fishing trip.

FT Lauderdale Blue Marlin

A blue marlin, known in the sportfishing industry as "the man in the blue suit", is on everyone's wish list. The blue marlin of Fort lauderdale also has a cousin. The white marlin, also offshore in the waters of Ft. Lauderdale, Pompano, and Miami Beach.

Whether a rookie watching your first blue marlin or a seasoned blue water angler watching it go down for the hundredth or more time, the speed and brutality of the strike and the ensuing powerhouse runs and leaps will be forever etched in your mind! We typically hook them at around 100 lbs but often much larger! The Marlin My Darlin is fully equipped and ready for the offshore billfish arena.

Atlantic Blue Marlin
Other Names: Aguja Azul
Physical Description:

The Atlantic and Pacific Blue marlin look nearly the same in their appearance. The upper and rear portions of the body are dark, brilliant blue in color, and that includes the dorsal fin. The lower portion has a silver white color. In many cases, there are up to 15 vertical stripes, consisting of small dots and narrow bars, also in a brilliant blue color. These stripes become quite bright when the fish is ready to strike or when hooked, but they rapidly disappear when the fish is removed from the water. The remaining blue marlin fins are generally black-brown in color and the anal fins have a bit of silver-white tinge. The principal way to distinguish blue marlin from their relatives is to examine the shape of the dorsal fin tip, which is more pointed on blue marlin. In addition, the spots found on the fins of most marlin are absent on the blue marlin.


Blue marlin can be found in tropical and warm temperate waters around the globe, mostly in the Atlantic, Pacific and Indian Oceans. It is the most tropical of the billfish and is often found in waters near the equator. In eastern Pacific waters, they can be found in an area generally from southern California along the coast of Mexico to Peru in South America.

Feeding Habits:

Blue marlin feed primarily near the surface, though they occasionally dive to deeper water to feed, depending on where their prey is found. Their diet consists mostly of fish and other sea life found near the surface and is highly dependent upon location. This diet can include tuna, mackerel, squid, octopus and any number of fish species indigenous to the environment.

Sporting Qualities:

Most believe Blue Marlin are the most sought after of all the ocean sport fish. A super strong and powerful bill-fish, blue marlin will fight hard and run fast for many hours on end, especially when you are hooked up to a very large marlin. They can suddenly dive to deep water and can make wild jumps like some type of fish acrobatic. With impressive endurance, it is not uncommon to see a hooked fish make up to 40 or more spectacular jumps. This fish can be a touch test of an anglers deep sea fishing skills.


Very little is known about the biology of the blue marlin including their migrations and spawning habits. They are known to be a highly mobile species that travels the warm ocean currents with the seasons in search of comfortable water temperatures. This species inhabits depths up to about 600 feet and water temperatures between 70 and 86 F. They are primarily an offshore species found along the edges of continental shelves, near oceanic mountains, underwater canyons, especially near a warm ocean current. Within these environments, they are most likely to be found near large sources of tuna, mackerel and squid. Although they may occasionally form schools of up to 10 members, as they age they become more solitary in their habits.


Extremely fast and acrobatic, Atlantic sailfish are always a welcome sighting in our blue water fishing bait spread. Typically around 6 feet in length and easily distinguished by their large top fin or "sail". The waters of Ft. Lauderdale, Pompano, and Miami Beach are abundant with Sailfish, if you know where to find them. Sailfish are caught as a target species best with live baits and kites. We also catch them by trolling with meticulously rigged dead bait. Also taken incidentally while targeting other species.

Atlantic Sailfish
Other Names: Spindlebeak
Physical Description:

Atlantic sailfish are dark blue to dark blue-violet on top, though when excited they become brighter, attaining a color some call “electric blue.” The sides are brown-blue fading to silver-white on the belly. The primary color of the sail dorsal is steel blue. The upper body and the main dorsal fin are sprinkled with light and dark blue spots. The sides often have powder blue or blue-gray vertical stripes. Many Pacific sailfish have a gold or copper tint to the gill covers, especially when fatigued. Averages 30-60 pounds, but many under 30 pounds and a few up to 100 pounds are also taken. Potential maximum is less than 150 pounds in the Atlantic Ocean. World record 221 pounds.


Sailfish can be found in tropical and warm temperate waters throughout the world, mostly in the Atlantic, Pacific and Indian Oceans. Sailfish are very plentiful off the Fort Lauderdale coast and Miami coast. In eastern Pacific waters, they can be found in an area generally running from southern California along the coast of Mexico to Peru in South America.

Feeding Habits:

Sailfish feed primarily near the surface, though they occasionally dive to deeper water to feed, depending on where their prey is found. Their diet consists mostly of fish and other sea life found near the surface and is highly dependent upon location.

Sporting Qualities:

Unsurpassed in its size range for combined strength and spectacle. A highly popular target for sportfishermen, Pacific sailfish are a prized trophy species. Their popularity is a result of the challenge of catching one using light tackle, their penchant for dramatic leaps out of the water, and their stunning beauty. Due to declining numbers resulting from overfishing, most sailfish are now caught and released, though this is not as common off the coast of Mexico and Central America.


Like the other billfish, 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. At times the Sailfish comes right into the surf and quite a few have been caught over the years from beaches and piers.


The "Gladiator of the Sea" richly deserves his nickname. They are heavy bodied, strong and iridescent blue to purple in color. Swordfish are nocturnal by nature, only occasionally seen and rarely taken during daylight. We catch them on 8" to 12" squid and live bait at dusk and into the early evening hours after nightfall. Our unique South Florida fishery offers a very good chance for success. Swordfish trips are a minimum of 8 hours and costs average $1000 ($900 = $100 fuel surcharge).

Other Names: Broadbill, Swordfish, Pez Espada
Physical Description:

A chunky and powerfully built fish with a high, crescent-shaped dorsal fin and broadly forked tail. The pectoral fins are also large and lunate. The swordfish has a large dorsal fin, no pelvic fins, and is generally characterized by the fusion and prolongation of the bones of the upper jaw to form a sword-like beak that constitutes one-third of the total body length. The distinguishing feature, however, is the huge bill or sword - much longer and wider than the bills of Marlins and Sailfish. The eye is also very large. Color is mostly dark brown to purple, with whitish undersides.


Swordfish occur worldwide in all tropical, subtropical and temperate waters of the Pacific, Atlantic and Indian Oceans, though their numbers and average size have decreased dramatically over the past 50 years. They prefer cooler waters in the northern and southern stretches of their range during warmer months and migrate toward tropical and subtropical waters in fall and winter.

Feeding Habits:

The adult swordfish is an opportunistic feeder, preying primarily on squid but also other fish and crustaceans. The bill is often used to kill prey; the swordfish rises from beneath a school of fish, swinging the sword from side to side, then consuming the fish killed. Swordfish are primarily night feeders. They may either forage for smaller fish at the surface of the water or hunt larger prey at depths of 1,200 feet.

Sporting Qualities:

Once hooked, swordfish are strong and stubborn fighters with average encounters lasting more than four hours. Swordfish meat is both delicious and nutritious; factors that make them a profitable commercial species around the world and that have led to reduced numbers worldwide. About 55,000 tons of swordfish is landed annually, with the Pacific fisheries accounting for 40 percent of that total.


Swordfish tend to concentrate along food-rich temperature fronts between cold and warm water masses, with migrations closely associated with surface temperatures between 75 and 84 F. There is some correlation between body size and the ability to tolerate cooler temperatures.

Dolphin, aka Dorado or Mahi Mahi

Dolphin, aka Dorado or Mai Mai, is one of our primary summertime deep sea fishing species but available all year. Dolphins are extremely colorful and acrobatic. Dolphin are typically under 5 lbs. but are often much larger. The smaller Dolphin are found fishing off shore Ft. Lauderdale in schools that can easily number 50 fish. The bigger Dolphin will travel in pairs or smaller schools. Dolphin are a great light tackle fish and a South Florida sport fishing favorite.

Other Names: Mahi Mahi, Dolphinfish, Dorado
Physical Description:

The body of the dolphin is quite slender but fairly deep, with a noticeable tapering from head to tail. The male of the species is distinguished from the female by its high, vertical head. The anal fin has approximately 30 soft rays and stretches over half of the length of the body. The distinctive dorsal fin is long, covering almost three-fourths of the body, and has around 60 soft rays. The caudal fin is deeply forked and contains no spines. -- A blaze of blue and yellow or deep green and yellow when in the water, and sometimes shows dark vertical stripes as well when excited. Small dark spots on sides. Dorsal fin extends nearly from head to tail. Head is very blunt in males (bulls); rounded in females (cows).


While the greatest concentrations of dolphin are believed to be in the Indian Ocean and the western Pacific, they are found worldwide in tropical and subtropical waters and warmwater currents. All offshore waters of Florida, the Bahamas and the Caribbean.

Feeding Habits:

Dolphin are known as voracious predators. While their favorite prey is the flying fish, they also consume squid, shrimp, crustaceans and even smaller dolphin. Using a keen sense of eyesight the dolphin locates most food near clumps of floating vegetation and objects.

Sporting Qualities:

The dolphin is considered one of the top offshore game fish and is highly targeted by anglers around the world. It is famous for its leaps and flips over the surface when hooked. Because of their speed and agility, dolphin provide for an exciting catch as they run long and jump often.


Dolphin are a warm-water fish usually found in deep waters, close to the surface. While sometimes found in coastal waters, they often concentrate in the open ocean around floating objects such as buoys, driftwood and seaweed clusters. They are considered to be the most surface-oriented of all big-game fish.

Yellowfin Tuna fishing in Miami Beach

Yellowfin Tuna
Other Names: Thunnus Albacares - (Scientific Name)
Physical Description:

Yellowfin tuna have a muscular, streamlined body like a swimming torpedo and like all tuna they can swim fast as lightning. A tuna's color is dark blue to black on the back and tail fin, yellow and silver on the side and belly. The second dorsal and anal fins are yellow and very long in older fish. Finlets run down the back and belly from these two fins to the tail fin and are a bright, canary yellow with black edges.


Yellowfin tuna are found worldwide in tropical and some subtropical waters. These bodies of water include all three warm oceans Pacific, Atlantic, and Indian oceans and all warm seas except the Mediterranean.

Feeding Habits:

Various baitfish, crustaceans and squids make up the bulk of their diet. They will hit chunks of cut up fish, (called chunking). Drift near a school, cut up your bait fish into halves and use for chumming while you place a fish head or half a fish on your hook. Toss out your line, no lead, and work it back into the chum pieces you throw over the side. A tune may hit the bait right near the surface. The feed most often at or near the surface and are often active at night.

Sporting Qualities:

Yellowfin tuna are considered an excellent food and sport fish and are highly sought after by anglers and commercial fishermen alike. After hitting a lure or bait, they often go deep and will fight with great power and tenacity.


Though they can withstand cooler water, yellowfin tuna prefer warm water and are found mainly in waters between 62 and 80 F. Yellowfin tuna, particularly young fish, usually school below the surface but over deep water, often several hundred feet. They avoid depths because of their intolerance for low concentrations of oxygen.

Fort Lauderdale and Miami Wahoo

Other Names: Peto, Ono
Physical 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.


Wahoo are present in the Atlantic, Pacific and Indian Oceans in clear, tropical and subtropical waters. Heavy seasonal concentrations occur off the Pacific coasts of Panama, Fort Lauderdale and Baja California in the summer. Offshore of all Florida coasts, like Fort Lauderdale, Miami, and especially the Keys, but much more plentiful in the Bahamas and many Caribbean Islands.

Feeding Habits:

While the wahoo is perfectly capable of biting chunks out of large fish, it primarily feeds on whole small fishes, such as sardines, scads, mackerel and squid. They are frequently solitary feeders, but they may sometimes be found in small, loose groups. Wahoo are sub-surface hunters that hang several feet below the surface and shoot up to attack prey with tremendous speed. Although they feed at all times, they tend to be more active in the morning and evening hours.

Sporting Qualities:

May strike a surface bait in spectacular, greyhounding 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.


Roams the deep blue water, but anglers can find them by working dropoffs, seamounts, weedlines and other favorable feeding locations.

More Fort Lauderdale and Miami Sportfishing Species

  • Blue Marlin
  • White Marlin
  • Sailfish
  • Swordfish
  • Wahoo
  • Dolphin
  • Yellowfin Tuna
  • Grouper - Many Varieties
  • Amberjack
  • Barracuda
  • Snapper - Many varieties
  • Jack Crevalle
  • Mackerel
  • Sharks
  • Snook
  • Tarpon

When fishing in Fort lauderdale or even when fishing in Miami you are subject to catch any number of a multitude of saltwater species that are available. Although our trips usually are for larger fish like marlin, tuna, or wahoo there is still the possibility of hitting another popular species while fishing for something entirely different. That is what is great about South Florida fishing, there is always something available so if one fish isn't hitting then we can change up and target another species entirely.

Contact South Florida Sport Fishing

Marlin My Darlin Sport Fishing

Bahia Mar, Ft. Lauderdale
Florida 33316

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