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8 Most Sought-After Sport Fish

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Every angler has a bucket list of fish they want to catch. Whether they’re fish that fight hard, move fast, have impressive size, or are simply a sight to behold, these are the ones that many fishermen dream of catching one day.


Blue marlin


Pacific Blue Marlin
Pacific Blue Marlin. Image source: NOAA Fisheries Species Directory


Get ready to put up a fight that lasts for hours once you encounter one of these massive fish in the ocean. Definitely not for the faint of heart, the blue marlin can grow up to 14 feet long and weigh up to 2,000 pounds. As soon as they are on the line, they also like to show off some impressive acrobatic moves. They are cobalt blue on top and silvery-white on the bottom, have a big dorsal fin, and a spear-shaped upper jaw.


Commonly found in: tropical and subtropical waters of the Indian, Pacific, and Atlantic Oceans.



Giant trevally


Giant trevally. Image source: Randall, J.E./Fishbase


The giant trevally packs a powerful punch, reaching 170 cm (67 inches) in length, 80 kg (176 lbs) in weight, and speeds of 60 kilometers per hour. Found in the Indo-Pacific region, this predatory fish has a steep head profile and is silvery to black in color. Shore and boat anglers alike can aim to catch this fish.


Commonly found in: Indo-Pacific region, with a range spanning from South Africa in the west to Hawaii in the east, including Japan in the north and Australia in the south





Sailfish. Image source: University of Western Australia (UWA)  / Fishbase

Sailfish. Image source: University of Western Australia (UWA)  / Fishbase

Named after their huge dorsal fin that looks like a sail, this predatory fish is the fastest the ocean. Reaching speeds of over 60 mph means they’re a challenge for any angler. Sailfish are found in the Pacific and Atlantic Oceans. They have a long bill similar to the ones on marlins and the swordfish. Most anglers try to catch them with a rod and reel, line, or a kite.


Commonly found in: tropical and temperate waters of the Indo-Pacific region




Roosterfish. Image source: Reddish, Paul Edward / Fishbase

Long spines on its dorsal fin that look like a rooster’s comb inspired the name of this fish. Both stubborn and strong, the roosterfish frequents warm waters. As soon as they're on the line, they're likely to jump. Roosterfish can measure over 1.6 m (5 ft 3 in) in length and over 50 kg (110 lb) in weight.


Commonly found in: the Eastern Pacific region



Mahi-mahi or dolphin fish are one of the most beautiful fish on this list because of their bright blue, green, and golden colors. But don't be fooled by their looks. Its name, which comes from the Hawaiian words for "very strong," suggests that anglers have to put in a lot of work and patience when catching these fish. Mahi-mahi are often drawn to floating objects, which fishermen often use to their advantage.


Commonly found in: Atlantic, Indian, and Pacific Oceans


Bluefin tuna

Bluefin tuna

Bluefin tuna. Image source: National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Photo Library


Bluefin tuna are sought-after both as commercial and sport fish. In fish markets, large bluefin tuna fetch thousands of dollars in prices, especially in Japan. In the world of sport fishing, they are known for their big size as well as power and speed. Bluefin tuna can weigh up to 680 kg (1500 lb) and measure about 3.7 m (12 ft) long.


Atlantic bluefins are found in the western and eastern Atlantic Ocean. Pacific bluefins are found widely in the northern and southern Pacific Ocean.


Mako shark

 Shortfin Mako shark. Photo © Mark Conlin, SWFSC Large Pelagics Program
Shortfin Mako shark. Photo © Mark Conlin, SWFSC Large Pelagics Program


The mako shark, which is said to be the fastest shark in the ocean and one of the fastest fish, isn't just known for its speed. It also performs incredible jumps. Makos can leap up to 20 feet in the air once they're hooked. They’re found in both tropical and temperate waters.


Commonly found: off the East Coast, from New England to Florida, in the Gulf of Mexico from Florida to Texas, and in the Caribbean Sea




Tarpon. Image source NOAA's Southeast Fisheries Science Center
Atlantic tarpon. Image source: NOAA's Southeast Fisheries Science Center.

The tarpon is a great fighter and jumper, with a body length of about 4 to 8 feet and a weight of about 60 to 250 pounds. Because their meat is very bony and not very tasty, they are usually caught and then released.


Commonly found in: Atlantic, Indo-Pacific Oceans

One of the things that makes fishing so exciting is the chance to catch one of these sought-after fish. As some would say, it's all about the bite and the fight. Which of these would you want to catch on your next fishing trip?



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