While there are hundreds of species of fish that you can catch off the coast of Tampa, Florida, there are a few that you should definitely not miss if you are wanting to really put your muscles to the test! Our top three picks for the fish that put up the biggest fight are the Goliath Grouper, Bull Shark, and Jack Crevalle.
#1 Goliath Grouper
The Goliath Grouper is by far our captains’ favorite fish to fight! This massive species is the largest in the western hemisphere, reaching lengths of up to 8 feet and weighing in around 800 pounds. It truly feels like you’ve hooked up to a bus when you’re trying to reel them in! They put up a really strong fight, but once you’ve gotten them to the surface, you have officially won. Additionally, despite having teeth, they typically engulf and swallow their prey whole. This means that once they’re hooked, you better hold on tight!
#2 Bull Shark
The Bull Shark gets its name from their short, blunt snout, as well as their commonly aggressive disposition. Bull sharks have a tendency to head-butt their prey before attacking, so you’ll know when the fight is about to begin! They prefer hunting in shallow water and are not bothered by brackish or freshwater, meaning they can easily venture from the bay into the river. This shark species is the angriest out there and they do not give up. You could be hooked up to one and fight it for an hour to get it to the boat, but as soon as it reaches the surface, they’ll take off again. This fight tactic could go on for hours, but it will be more than worth it when you get one in the boat!
#3 Jack Crevalle
The Jack Crevalle is a common inshore fish species that puts up one heck of a fight! Pound for pound, it is the best fighting fish inshore and will be sure to challenge even the most experienced angler. A typical adult Jack can grow up to 40 inches in length and weigh as much as 60 pounds. Even though this may seem small compared to the two previously mentioned, we definitely believe that sometimes it’s not about the dog in the fight, it’s about the fight in the dog (or, in this case, in the fish). Just like you, the Jack Crevalle may be grunting as you fight him to the surface!