After extensive research that included interviews and many inquiries, we came up with the following list of 15 most delicious fish from the Florida Keys. We know that taste is a matter of preference. There is no scientific evidence that can prove that our list is correct. The selections and rankings are intended to be entertaining and provoke discussion amongst our followers. It makes sense, after all, that the Islamorada spirit and Florida Keys spirit, during these crazy times, would it not?
The best tasting fish is the one that was caught the same day, cooked to perfection and served immediately. Here’s our list, provided that all of these requirements have been met and that the fish is native to the Florida Keys waters.
- Trout–The number of trout has increased significantly in the past, making it one of most popular species in Florida Bay and Gulf of Mexico. They are light-flavored and flaky with good moisture. There are many ways to prepare trout. You can fry it in batter, bread or deep-fried.
- Kingfish–The best time to catch fresh Kingfish is during the fall run. Kingfish, which are related to the Spanish Mackerel have a slightly oily texture. Although thick steaks can be grilled, they are best smoked.
- Amberjack–Although not the most common Reef fish, Amberjack can be caught and are fun to eat. They have a light flavor and surprisingly tender white meat. Great fish for grilling.
- Mangrove Snapper – Winter season is a great time for Mangrove Snapper. Although it’s not as well-known as the Yellowtail Snapper, many claim that it is the most delicious snapper in the Keys. It enhances the flavors of the fish with its flaky, light texture. Try it with Pineapples.
- Cobia–A hard fish to catch but worth the effort once you are aboard. The Cobia can grow to 100 pounds and is a tough fighter. The Cobia is a meaty, white fish with a distinct flavor. You can grill it without adding any other ingredients and then enjoy the sweet and nutty taste.
- Yellowtail Snapper–This is a very popular species and is the most sought after for patch reef workers. They can be found almost any time of the year. They are pinkish in color and have a flaky texture. They can be prepared in many different ways at a variety restaurants. Yellowtail Snapper is a great choice.
- Swordfish– We do catch swordfish in Florida Keys. Although we don’t have as many as Sailfish, it is still a popular game fish. They are very meaty and can be cut into steaks or pan-fried with your favourite seasonings.
- Blackfin Tuna – Those who are most knowledgeable can tell the difference in fresh Blackfin Tuna from fresh Yellowfin Tuna by tasting it. Experts recommend that you keep the Tuna on ice, and that you never rinse it with water. Cut the meat into strips and sashimi.
- Red Snapper–The red Snapper is the most popular of all snapper varieties. It has a bright red-pinkish color. The fish is a thin, white fish that tastes great and can be roasted whole.
- Yellowfin Tuna – We don’t catch nearly as many Yellowfin tunas as we do Blackfin because they are deep-water offshore fish. Maybe not.
- Wahoo – This fish was voted the Best Tasting Fish in Florida Keys. They are a beast to catch due to their speed and long runs. The Wahoo, a firm and lean fish, has mild flavor and can also be prepared in many ways. This delicacy can be grilled, baked or poached.
- Mahi Mahi– Also known by Dolphin or Dorado. The fishing for Mahi in Florida Keys is unmatched. They are available all year, though the season runs from April through August. They are either a Bull (large) or a schoolie, a white meaty fish that is very popular in America. They are great for grilling or pan searing.
- Grouper–There is a variety of species of grouper. There are many species of grouper, including Gag, Black and Red. They have many delicious species, which is why we ranked them high. Although we thought of doing the same for snapper, there are many snapper species in the Keys. Groupers can be difficult to catch as they love to hide in the rocks and artificial reefs of the ocean floor. They will try to escape once hooked, and the lines can often be snagged or snapped off. This famous fish family includes the Goliath Grouper which is only available for catch and release. You can enjoy them in many different ways. But, if you’ve never had a blackened grouper sandwich, you are missing out on one of the most delicious lunches in Florida Keys.
- Tripletail–While not as well-known as the other top 5, Tripletail is still a popular fish. It has a strong flavor, yet is mildly flavored. It is both dense and light. It is firm and flaky. This may seem absurd, but you’ll see why when you try it.
The number one best-tasting fish in the Florida Keys is …..drumroll please ….. This was based on no scientific evidence.
- Hogfish–Is it the cool name “Hogfish?” It’s their exotic appearance. Are they spearfisherman-trapped? No. Hogfish is simply the best fish in Florida. It is a well-known fish in Florida, but it is not so well known outside of the state. It is a delicate, white fish that cooks quickly and is very thin. It will enhance any flavor that you add. Our top dog is great with tomatoes, basil, and lemon.
The article was written by a professional charter captain at Salty Knots Fishing Charters with 15+ years of experience in the Gulf of Mexico. Salty Knots Fishing Charters is a local fishing charter service based out of St. Pete Beach, Florida. “We know what it takes to catch a giant trophy fish!” Click here to learn more!