Common Saltwater Fish

No matter if your goal is to catch a trophy spotted seatrout inshore or head out to sea in pursuit of big game species like marlin or sailfish, you can find a saltwater fish species to target that fits your level of angling ability.

Saltwater Fish Species

The number of saltwater fish species that inhabit our oceans, bays and inlets make saltwater fishing trips among the most exciting types of fishing trips you can take. There are saltwater fish that can be caught on light tackle from a pier or in backcountry waters, and types of saltwater fish that can only be landed with an experienced crew and the heaviest of gear in offshore ocean waters.

Habitats of Saltwater Fish

Saltwater fish species live in one of three basic types of marine habitats or environments.

  • Pelagic fish:  Species that live in the pelagic zone of the ocean inhabit areas that are neither close to the bottom or near the shore, but usually spend a significant amount of time swimming through the water column on a migratory route. Many popular game fish, such as tuna and wahoo, are pelagic fish species.
  • Demersal fish:  Fish species that live on or near the bottom of the ocean are referred to as demersal fish. Flounder and halibut are two examples of demersal fish species.
  • Reef fish:  As you may have already guessed, reef fish are species that live either within or in close range of coral reef systems. Red snapper and gag grouper are both examples of reef fish species.

Fishing for Saltwater Species

Now that you have an overview of the different types of saltwater fish species and the habitats they live in, you can learn more about each specific saltwater species you want to target by using the Fish Species Explorer tool.

If you are a beginning saltwater angler or if you are fishing an area for the first time, it's always a good idea to hire an experienced guide or charter captain that can help educate you about the best strategies and techniques for each species. You can also read through a list of saltwater fishing Q & A before you go in order to make the most of your day on the water.

Popular Saltwater Fish

  • Bluefish


    A migratory fish that can be found along the East Coast, this fish is known for its sharp teeth. Find suggested baits and lures for this voracious saltwater fish.

  • Redfish


    Redfish or red drum can be found from the Gulf of Mexico up the east coast of the Atlantic. Learn more about fishing methods for this hard fighter.

  • Pacific Halibut

    Pacific Halibut

    The largest Pacific flathead, halibut are popular species to catch when pier and surf fishing. Find out more about this fish species and how to catch this coldwater dwelling fish species.

Just remember, before you plan a saltwater fishing trip, it's important that you check your state fishing regulations to make sure you know the slot limits, bag limits, and seasons for each type of species.