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The Most Popular Offshore Gamefish

Offshore fishing targets some of the largest, most elusive, and unique fish species in the world. By heading miles from shore and fishing deep open water, only the most extreme fish can survive. The most popular offshore species are usually sought after for their size and power, or exceptional meat qualities that make them delicious table fare. Here are some of the most popular fish you can target on an offshore fishing charter.

Huge Tuna

What Do You Fish for Offshore?

Offshore fishing can generally be broken down into two categories: open water predators and reef fish. The open water fish consist of marlin, tuna, mahi-mahi, and plenty of other pelagic species and are usually targeted by trolling. Reef fish include red snapper, amberjack, and grouper. These species typically live near the ocean floor or suspended around structures. To catch these fish, anglers use bottom fishing gear near the ocean floor.


Depending on the time of year and location, the species that can be caught while trolling will vary dramatically. The largest and most sought-after fish caught while trolling include marlin, tuna, sailfish, swordfish, mahi-mahi, wahoo, and kingfish. While all of these fish are frequently eaten, the most popular fish to eat are tuna, mahi-mahi, and wahoo. These three fish have clean meat that can be prepared in a variety of ways, from blackened to consumed raw.

These fish cover miles of water every day, searching for food while moving along their annual migration route. Every species varies, but these migrations can cover thousands of miles. The seasonality of these fish depends on their preferred water conditions and migratory pattern. These fish are constantly chasing food resources and water temperatures to survive and make it back to their spawning grounds.

Bottom Fishing

Reef fish and other deep-dwelling species also have a seasonal bite, but they usually don't travel very far. The most popular fish targeted while bottom fishing includes various snapper and grouper species, along with amberjack, tilefish, and occasionally sharks. While sharks do migrate all over the world, the other species generally move from between water depths.

Instead of covering thousands of miles, reef fish stay put in the same general area because they are better equipped to handle different temperatures. Seasonal movements for reef fish generally mean moving to shallower or deeper waters depending on temperature, weather, and spawning season.

While sharks are eaten in some places around the world, it’s less common in America. All of the other popular deep-dwelling fish are well known for their delicious meat, most notably snapper and amberjack.

Deep Sea Fishing

The most popular deep sea fishing trips use some variation of these two styles of fishing. While there are many more species you can catch while on a deep sea fishing charter, these are some of the most common and sought-after species. If you want to get out there and target these deep sea monsters, check out our damn good fishing guides.