Game Species

We have many game species available to spearfishing divers due to the confluence of the cold Labrador current and the Warm gulf stream, creating ideal habitat for tropical and subtropical species. The cooler and more green colored inshore water host a wide variety of inshore species.  We probably have the most variety of fish anywhere on the East Coast.

Grouper:

Gag, Scamp, Red.  Considered by many to be the ideal fish because of its brilliant white flesh and mild flavor.

Gag Grouper

Red Grouper

Scamp Grouper

Reef Fish:

Triggerfish.  A delicious fish with a nasty bite and the ability to dull any knife when cleaning them.

Gray Triggerfish

Spadefish.  Very often found above wrecks.  Can be confused with Sheepshead in coloration, but not in taste.  The sheepshead wins.

Atlantic Spadefish

Snapper.  A very hard fish to hit- they’re always moving, but a prize when landed. The trick is to realize that they do not appear red on the bottom, they are more silver in coloration.

Red Snapper

Silver Snapper

Black Sea Bass.  A common and easy fish to bring home.  The size is small, but they are related to grouper in taste and form.

Black Sea Bass

Hogfish, or Hog Snapper, is the favorite of the spearfisherman.   Not the brightest fish in the sea, but likely the tastiest.  It is so rarely caught on hook and line that most fishermen have never heard of it.

Tog, Tautog, or Blackfish is a northern species of the wrasse family we find off our coast.  In the same family as the hogfish and just as delicious.  Some have said it has the body of a grouper and the head of a sheepshead.

Cobia.  Often mistaken as a shark at first glance, there’s no telling where they turn up, inshore, offshore, at the surface, or cruising along the bottom.   A meaty fish, and a very hard fighter.  Don’t bother spearing one unless you’ve got a big speargun, the cobia are commonly 50# or more. If you can get one to the boat, you have a real prize, they are the Captain’s favorite eating fish, and he will happily accept a Cobia fillet as a tip.

Cobia

Inshore:

Sheepshead.  An ‘inshore’ fish, that is found everywhere.  It is elusive, flashing in front of you, then disappearing.   A favorite fish, if large enough to make it worthwhile to clean.  Tortuga is the charter that landed the world record sheepshead for spearfishing on scuba.

Sheepshead

Flounder.  The targeted fish of inshore trips.  It takes a careful eye to pick out these flatfish on the bottom.

Flounder

Amberjack:

Amberjack are common to all reefs and wrecks off the Crystal Coast, both inshore and offshore. They swim in large schools, most weigh over 30# and they seem to be very interested in divers.