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Team Guidesly

May 18, 2021

Top Game Fish in the United States

Top Game Fish in the United States

Every expert has a list of their best achievements. As a budding or experienced angler, you must also have your own top 10 of the best fish species to catch. Are you ready to take on the American seas and tick every number in this list featuring the United States' best game fish? Dive in! You deserve a trophy for every fish reeled in found in this guide.


Top U.S. Game Fish


1.Blue marlin off blue waters 

Best known for their fearless aerial acrobatics, the blue marlin prove to be one of the most challenging fish for anglers to catch. These powerful fighters are available near the Gulf of Mexico throughout the year. Moreover, it is best to catch them off the waters of Kona in Hawaii, where the biggest Pacific Blue Marlin weighing 1,376 pounds was taken in 1992. The largest Atlantic blue marlin caught set a 1,402-pound measurement on the weighing scale; this was captured in Vitoria, Brazil, in 1979. 


2. Watch the tarpon show off

Another fish that thrives in the Gulf of Mexico is the tarpon, which, like the blue marlin, is known for its excellent aerobatic performance. This species is also abundant in Southern Florida, especially during winter. Tarpon are also regularly caught in Costa Rica and Panama since they spawn a lot in the Pacific. This fierce fighter is known for its amazing jumps and its strikes against any bait or lure.


3. Outsmart the mako shark 

Though this type of shark can basically be found in any temperate and tropical waters all over the globe, this species is particularly abundant in the Florida Keys, the coast of San Diego, and the Gulf of Mexico. Despite its gargantuan size, this shark’s speed is remarkable. In fact, this is considered the fastest shark in the world. The all-tackle record for Mako weighed 1,221 pounds and was captured in Massachusetts.


4. Swim with mahi mahi or common dolphinfish 

Valued both as a commercial fish and game fish, the mahi mahi does not only look stunning but also proves to be one of the most exhilarating fish to catch due to its beautiful aerobatic struggles. Moreover, the meat of Mahi Mahi is extremely delicious. Some anglers dub it as the “perfect game fish”. They can be mainly found in the eastern parts of the Pacific Ocean, from Oregon to California and Peru. Mahi mahi also thrive in Southern California and (particularly in Florida Keys, Miami, and West Palm Beach).


5. Fighting the swordfish 

This alluring fish can be found in many parts of the world, be it in cold or warm oceans. Specifically, anglers target them off Florida, the Caribbean, and the Gulf of Mexico. This species is also abundant in Virginia Beach, Florida Keys, Southern California, and Islamorada. The swordfish is notable for its stamina; it topped the list among other game fish in this aspect. The biggest swordfish on record was caught off Chile in 1953; it weighed 1,182 pounds.


6. Sailing with Indo-Pacific sailfish 

Found primarily in the Gulf of Mexico, and Key West, Florida, this contender is a tad larger than its cousin, the Atlantic sailfish. Known for its pleasing aerial acrobatics, this fish with many names is one of the most sought-after fish by anglers.  The biggest pacific sailfish on record was captured in Ecuador; it weighed 221 pounds.


7. Before the bluefin tuna goes to the chef 

Native to both the western and eastern parts of the Atlantic Ocean, this fish is one of the most important commercial species. In fact, the bluefin tuna’s meat is the primary ingredient for Japan’s sushi. This fish is native to the Mediterranean Sea. Due to its migratory nature, the Bluefin Tuna is presently very abundant from the Gulf of Mexico to Newfoundland. Anglers also target them off the waters of San Diego, California, and the Florida Keys.


8. Get hooked with yellowfin tuna  

Though the bluefin tuna remains the best-tasting tuna globally, the yellowfin tuna is equally famous and delicious and comes at a much lower price. This game fish is usually targeted off the Outer Banks of North California, one of the top places for tuna fishing in the US.  The biggest yellowfin tuna was reeled in from San Diego, California; it was a 405-pounder monster. 


9. Ensnaring the sneaky snook 

One of Florida’s native species, snook, is absolutely a trophy fish you should have in your fishing bucket -- and bucket list! Found in estuaries from Baja to Peru and Galapagos, this fish is worth your time and trouble. The biggest snook was caught near Quepos in Costa Rica in 2014; it weighed 59 pounds, 8 ounces.


10. Why wahoo deserves your wow 

Popular among anglers due to its speed, this fish will make you scream “whooo!”. Many anglers believe that this is the fastest fish in the sea (considering their size). This tasty treat’s name literally means “good to eat” in Hawaiian. This game fish is abundant in all tropical and subtropical waters, especially in North Carolina, Florida, the Bermuda, and the Gulf of Mexico.