Target Fish Species.
Yellowfin & Bluefin Tuna. White & Blue Marlin. Mahi-Mahi & Swordfish. Golden & Blueline Tilefish.
Thunnus albacares - Atlantic Yellowfin Tuna, Ahi (pelagic)
Weighing up to 400 pounds and almost 7 feet in length, this highly migratory species of tuna has dark blue and yellow to silvery color for their torpedo shaped bodies. The bright yellow dorsal fin is the distinguishing characteristic for a yellowfin tuna. Staying mostly in the upper water column, they feed on small fish, squid, and crustaceans, but they are also prime targets for sharks or larger billfish. Overall, this species is at/or reaching target population size even with the large numbers caught for recreational and commercial fishing.
Thunnus thynnus - Atlantic Bluefin Tuna (pelagic)
Weighing up to 1500 pounds and 15 feet in length, these metallic blue and silvery white fish are popular in both recreational and commercial fishing for putting up a good fight and making a great dish. Due to this popularity and a long sexual maturity time, there are increasing concerns about endangerment. The schools of the torpedo shaped fish can be found both above and below the thermocline, even diving to depths over 3000 feet. These 40 knot swimmers feed on slow moving schools of fish like anchovies and plankton through modified filter feeding as they cross the Atlantic from June to August.
Makaira nigricans- Blue Marlin: Atlantic subspecies (pelagic)
Weighing up to 1800 pounds and over 16 feet in length, the blue marlin is one of the largest species of pelagic fish. Found in the open ocean, they use the round & pointed bill to smack the prey and knock it unconscious. This massive billfish goes after continuously larger prey as it grows in size like tuna, squid, and dolphin. It reaches a point in its adult life where only large sharks will be capable of eating it. Prepare for a long battle if a blue marlin is hooked. They don't give up easily.
Kajikia albida - Atlantic White Marlin (pelagic)
Weighing up to 180 pounds and just over 9 feet in length, the white marlin is one of the smaller billfish but also one of the most sought after billfish, especially in tournaments. While they are normally tag-and-release, during the White Marlin Open Tournament in Ocean City, MD, prize money over $2 million can be acquired for bringing one to the scales. Feeding in the upper water column on mackerel, dolphin, flyingfish and squid, white marlin can be attracted to the surface with teasers and hooked with the outriggers or other trolling lines. They like to overtake their prey with speed, so be ready for a rough fight.
Coryphaena hippurus - Common Dolphinfish, Dolphin, Mahi-mahi, Dorado (pelagic)
Weighing up to 90 lbs and 6 feet in length, this bright blue, green, and gold fish is a favorite for both sport and commercial fishing. This pelagic fish is an excellent swimmer at 50 knots that feasts on flyingfish, juvenile pelagic fish, squid, and crustaceans. Due to its fast maturity and reproduction, the species is able to support the heavy fishing without creating any populations concerns. Larger adults will hunt alone or in a pair, but smaller dolphin will run in schools. These fish can be hooked more easily than other offshore fish due to its aggressive nature towards most floating objects.
Xiphias gladius - Swordfish, Broadbills, Swords (pelagic)
Weighing up to 1400 pounds and almost 15 feet in length, the swordfish is one of the most recognizable billfish for its long, blunt bill which it uses to slash at prey to knock them unconscious. Their eyes and brain can be warmed by a unique arrangement of blood vessels which allows them to dive to depths of almost 10,000 feet in the cold ocean in search of prey. They come to the surface mainly at night to feed on schools of smaller fish which they will eat whole. Overall, its diet consists of a wide range including mackerel, herring, bonito, squid, crustaceans, demersal fish, and more. Although fished heavily in some parts of the world, the general population is not an endangerment concern. They can be caught both by deep dropping and spearing, but be careful as swordfish are very powerful and dangerous fish.
Caulolatilus microps - Blueline Tilefish, Blueline Tile (bottom dweller)
Weighing up to 23 pounds and almost 3 feet in length, these olive-grey fish with gold and fluorescent blue stripe from the snout to eye live on muddy and sandy bottoms from 250 to 800 feet. They feed mostly on crustaceans, marine worms, sea urchin, and small fish. By deep dropping and sometimes dragging the weighted lures or bait on the bottom, tilefish will generally bite any time of day. This, in addition to great taste, make these fish a great choice for Atlantic fishing.
Lopholatilus chamaelonticeps - Golden Tilefish, Golden Tile, Great Northern Tilefish (bottom dweller)
Weighing up to 65 pounds and over 4 feet in length, these gold and blue-green fish feature a large adipose crest on the head. Normally burrowing in the clay substrate or submarine canyons, they feed during the day on crustaceans, marine worms, anemones, and sea cucumbers. Living at depths of 200-1500 feet, deep dropping is essential to reeling in these highly sought after fish. Annual catch limits are in place to help prevent overfishing.