The allure of the Gulf of Mexico to fishermen, for sport and for profit, is well known. The Gulf fisheries are some of the most productive in the world, having eight of the top twenty fishing ports in the nation by dollar value. As to sport fishing, marine recreational participants in 2010 took more than 20.7 million trips catching 145.4 million fish from the Gulf of Mexico and surrounding waters. Our climate is perhaps the best suited for saltwater fishing charters in North America. Florida's Gulf Coast is primed as a great spot to charter a boat and spend a day on the sparkling water having a truly exhilarating experience of peace and action, thanks to the salty air and gently rolling waves. Read on for four of the most interesting catches available to catch for fun and food! (And don't forget a bag to bring home your prize!) Your charter should be able to tell you what fish is in season to catch.
Grouper is harvested commercially in the reef fishery , mainly off shore in federal waters, in the Western Atlantic from North Carolina, throughout the Gulf and Caribbean, to Brazil. Recreational fishermen also target this fish but they are hard to get because they tend to live alone or in very small schools over rocky and soft bottoms in deep water. Good luck getting this tasty fish! Or...head over Madfish Grill and let them serve it up for you in a casual, upscale retro-fit diner. This place brings the dining car of the past into the future with innovative new dishes and twists on the classics.
Tilefishes, also known as Blanquillo, are an important fish for commercial fisheries, with the smaller variety being better for aquariums. They are usually found in sandy areas, especially near coral reefs. It is a mild tasting white fish that usually eats shrimp and crab, giving the tilefish a sweet flavor often compared to lobster or crab. Tile fish live in burrows, sometimes forming undersea pueblo villages. For many people, this is tastier than the ever popular grouper. If you don't want to catch it yourself but maybe swim with the fishes before enjoying a delectable bite, the Rumfish Grill offers 'Tanked', an enormous aquarium where visitors can be fully immersed in a watery underworld without the leaving shore. Guy Harvey showcases art in the food and surroundings at this wildly entertaining spot.
Snapper is a fish native to the western Atlantic, including the Gulf of Mexico and is important commercially as well as being sought after as a game fish. It favors environments that include reefs and wrecks, giving rise to the term 'Wreck Snapper'. They are aggressive little predators and can make for a fun fishing excursion. An alternative to preying on the prey is to stop by Snapper's Sea Grill for it's namesake crowned with jumbo shrimp, over roasted asparagus and lobster risotto. You may decide to skip fishing and just head to the yumminess available from a 'loco fisherman'.
There are many types of Amberjack, with the largest being the Greater. The usually have dark stripes extending from nose to in front of their dorsal fins. Adults are common at various depths, ranging from reefs to several hundred feet deep to fairly shallow wrecks and reefs. Artificial wrecks and reefs all along the Gulf Coast often harbor schools of smaller Amberjack, and many Gulf wrecks are home to the big ones as well. Greater Amberjack is a popular fish because of it's sweet, mild flavor and buttery texture. To have this in a laid back on the water, with deck dining and free boat dockage for diners, seek out Sea Critters Cafe and enjoy it in a unique casual dining setting.