Big fish are incredible, and seeing one at the dock will make any angler jealous. At some point, every angler starts looking to catch bigger fish. But naturally, some species grow bigger than others.
While the biggest bass easily grow over 10 pounds, the fish on this list hit weights that are ten to 100 times heavier than that. If you're looking to catch something massive, and only the biggest will do, here are five truly giant species that dwarf all others.
The blue marlin is a deep-sea game fish easily recognized by its large bill that it uses to stun, injure, or kill its prey. While they can change color, marlin are typically blue on top with a silver belly and around 15 rows of pale cobalt stripes. Small teeth line their jaws. Above that is a long, stout bill.
They’re considered the king of all fish and can be found throughout the waters of the Atlantic, Indian, and Pacific Oceans. When you hook into one, these fish are powerful, making them highly prized by anglers.
Marlin are highly migratory and travel the world, with one study even following a tagged marlin for 9,254 miles. They are the largest of the billfish and have excellent eyesight, stamina, cold tolerance, and hunting skills. Blue marlin can reach sizes of up to 2,000 pounds and around 12 feet long, making them one of the truly giant sport fish.
Swordfish are a huge pelagic species with a distinctive long, flat, pointed bill which is where their name comes from. While swordfish may be elusive, they are one of the most popular billfish species among anglers around the world.
Swordfish are elongated, round-bodied, and lose all teeth and scales by adulthood. The typical size of a swordfish is from eight to ten feet long, weighing 200 to 400 pounds. That being said, swordfish can max out around 15 feet long and over 1,400 pounds.
Swordfish are found throughout tropical and temperate waters, and can typically be found from near the surface to a depth of 1,800 feet. Fishing for swordfish in the mornings and evenings can be done trolling or drifting bait, but during the day, fishing near the bottom is most effective. During the day, swordfish can be caught while deep dropping, bottom fishing, or just drifting bait.
Bluefin tuna are the largest of the tuna species, which can grow to 15 feet long and weigh as much as 1,500 pounds. Bluefin are torpedo-shaped, strong, and fast swimmers. They are dark blue, fading to silver on their bellies.
These fish are popular among anglers and seafood lovers as both sport and food. The best way to catch a bluefin is by trolling or drifting bait near the Continental Shelf. If you’re lucky enough to hook into a big one, these fish are formidable fighters and the battle will last for hours.
Bluefin tuna can be found spread out through the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans and its adjacent seas, with a high concentration in the North Atlantic. Some of the best places to catch these bluefin are in Massachusetts and California.
While these fish can be caught here regularly, they’re also highly migratory and will travel thousands of miles from Japan to California. This can make finding them difficult. Luckily, they tend to follow a pattern related to their spawn, allowing anglers to hone in on the peak seasons.
The Goliath Grouper is the largest member of the grouper family, with a stocky build, small eyes, and large head. They’re yellowish-brown to grey in coloring, with spots that help to camouflage them against coral and muddy bottoms. They are known to be fearless and will aggressively defend their territory with their size, using their swimming bladder to make a rumbling sound.
These massive fish can grow to over eight feet in length and over 600 pounds in some cases. Goliath grouper grow slowly, but with a lifespan of over 50 years, they have plenty of time to get big. That being said, the average catch will be between 75 and 150 pounds. Goliath grouper eat sea turtles and crustaceans, but some great bait to include would be burrfish, catfish, toadfish, octopus, ladyfish, and jack crevalle.
The cubera snapper record stands at 124 pounds and was caught by a fisherman out of Louisiana, but the average catch is around three feet long and over 40 pounds. Despite their size, they’re generally found in shallower water than other snapper species, with a usual depth between 50 to 200 feet. Similar to the Mangrove snapper, cubera snapper have a gray to dark brown coloration.
Cubera snapper have a blunt snout, thick lips, and large teeth. These fish can be found in a similar area to most other snapper species, ranging from Canada to Brazil. This giant snapper species feeds primarily on baitfish and some crustaceans. Thanks to their large canine teeth, feeding on lobster or crab is no problem. Like most snapper species, cubera forage near the bottom or in the vicinity of hard structures.
While taking a boat out to target any of these massive fish is fun, it’s also a lot of work. Depending on the area you plan to fish and what season it is, catching one of these fish will require local knowledge and proper rigging. Having the proper set up can make or break a trip targeting one of these trophy sized fish and makes hiring a guide that much more worthwhile.
Guides have been targeting these species for years and are happy to show you how to catch one. If taking months to learn how your target species sounds like too much work, there are plenty of guides that will take care of everything and get you in on the action. To make the most of your time spent on the water, you can check out our guides and find your net trip here.