Almost always found in groups. Experiencing a run of fresh fish is a thrill, and picking one out of the pack to take home for yourself is all part of the fun. Unfortunately, the catch is your only real reward, as they’re not the best tasting fish in the sea. They’re best to dump on a desperate friend back at the pier after you’ve gotten your praise for bringing her in.
Trophy fish: bonito
The Hot Emo Chick
Solitary, clothed in dark scales, and sometimes dangerous, this slender minx is nevertheless a gorgeous fish with a body up near the best of them. Almost always found alone, you may find yourself on the receiving end of an unprovoked attack. However, hauling one of these up into your boat after a flirtatious fight will erase any doubt you ever had about their stellar status.
Trophy fish: swordfish
The Cali Girl
You always know when you’re casting in California. A beautifully marked and curvy specimen, this highly sought prize is tied to its preferred habitat: the rich and exclusive kelp communities of posh SoCal beaches and offshore islands. This is the saltwater bass that all other saltwater bass aspire to be.
Trophy fish: calico bass
The Hot Crazy Chick
You best watch yourself around this one. Possessing a distinctive smell akin to fresh cucumber, it becomes immediately obvious when one of these enters the scene. In addition to a mouthful of razor-sharp teeth and crazy eyes, these fish roam in large packs, biting and slashing everything in their path, including helpless bystanders. Will destroy you if given the chance, but I’ve heard they’re pretty wild in the boat.
Trophy fish: bluefish
The Southern Dime
A real SEC belle. Not picky with baits, will quickly and easily flirt with your hook. Once snagged, however, it becomes real tough to land back at the craft. Stubborn with a feisty disposition, the real work is following through on your catch.
Trophy fish: amberjack
The Hot Foreigner
Exotic, vaguely tropical, and undeniably attractive, this distinctive fish will be the prize catch of the day if you can land one. An athletic specimen, you’ll be fighting to keep up as it takes your rod from one side of the boat to the other. Although viewed as somewhat strange in the U.S., actually very common, and is even pedestrian when abroad.
Trophy fish: mahi-mahi
The Hippie Chick
A wanderer, highly migratory, and seemingly always on the move. This ephemeral beauty can be found in large groups, in your life one day and out the next. Most common in the summer, your best chance to locate one is at a big feeding festival tripping out in a sea of deep blue.
Trophy fish: mackerel
The “Big” Girl
Un-athletic, a poor fighter, and increasingly shy when hooked, this fish is a big, rotund catch that appeals to some specific anglers. Apparently great in the kitchen, this one is anything but a looker. The biggest goliaths, now needing protection from overhyped anglers, require safe spaces and protected areas to recoup and eat in peace.
Trophy fish: grouper
The quintessential trophy fish. Any serious angler will one day catch “the one,” and what better prize to bag than a gorgeous billfish. Highly rated by damn near everybody, this graceful yet powerful specimen will give you the fight of your life. You have to be absolutely on your game to bag one, but everybody will be completely envious as you hang your prized piece on your wall and in your friend’s faces.
Trophy fish: marlin
Almost a marlin, but with some key differences. While initially acrobatic, this billfish tires quickly, and will eventually just lay there as you bring it into the boat. Most anglers are thrilled to catch one, and indeed, it’s a fine snag. But though there’s no shame in swiping this fish, and you might be dazzled by its gymnastics, in the end, it’s just not quite top tier.
Trophy fish: sailfish
The Party Girl
Gorgeous, fast, and full of excitement, you may need a little something extra to keep up. This fish will take your bait and run, leaving you breathless and filled with adrenaline as the chase begins. You have to be quick and nimble to land this one, and it’s often a surprise when it takes your line in the first place. It often hits when angling for something else. Be careful around those teeth.
Trophy fish: wahoo
Well studied, this prize is recognized around the world. Sleek predators with pretty colors, this is an all-around quality catch. Firm-bodied, full of muscle, and fast on the hook, no angler is ever disappointed by catching one of these terrific trophies. Can bring vast fortunes to the person who hauls it in. A real global icon that you’ll enjoy having one in the boat.
Trophy fish: tuna.