4 Inshore Saltwater Species You Need to Chase on the Gulf Coast

The Gulf of Mexico extends from, well Mexico, north, and east along the coastlines of Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, and Florida. The gulf waters host a rich aquatic ecosystem that offers world-class fishing for conventional and fly anglers. 

Anglers will find inshore opportunities and off-shore waters that have a ton of variety and intricate channels and currents for anglers to study and learn. Here are a few of the prized inshore species available on a regular basis in the Gulf of Mexico.

1) Redfish

Gulf Coast Inshore Fishing

They are one of the most pursued species and for good reason. Redfish are found inshore throughout the gulf with serious trophy potential in every state. Texas and Louisiana are both renowned for abundant redfish but don’t discount Florida. They have intricate backwaters where rivers meet the ocean and giant redfish mix alongside manatees. 

Redfish are exceptional fighters and they are highly visible, sometimes being caught in mere inches of water. The ability to sight-cast for redfish in backwaters and their weary nature makes them an excellent species for skilled anglers to chase.

Popular Lures & Rigs For Redfish

2) Snook

Gulf Coast Inshore Fishing

These ambush feeders lurk in the mangroves but also appear in the surf and other random areas when least expected. They strike quickly and can grow to large sizes. Like 10, 20, and 30+ pounds large.  Snook are a prized species with strong populations in Florida specifically. 

Many anglers become obsessed with chasing and fooling snook because they are often selective but also fiercely predatory. It’s not uncommon to have rejections one day and violent strikes the next. As a species, snook are addicting to chase and a favorite for gulf anglers.

Popular Lures & Rigs For Snook

3) Speckled Trout

Gulf Coast Inshore Fishing

Among the most available and consistently caught inshore species are the speckled trout. Found throughout the entire gulf coast, they are great table fare and a blast to pursue. Speckled trout are common at a few pounds but can grow up to 15-pounds. They chase baitfish and finding the schools of bait will often lead to productive days. Trout also frequent areas where freshwater estuaries are present. This reduces salinity and makes for excellent habitat.

Popular Lures & Rigs For Speckled Trout

4) Tarpon

Gulf Coast Inshore Fishing

Florida is a major tarpon destination but schools of these exceptional gamefish roam throughout the gulf, appearing along the shores of every state including Texas. The when and where is difficult to discern and anglers should simply be prepared to make a cast when tarpon arrive. 

Florida is home to annual tarpon migrations where the fish are more predictable in terms of location but remain consistently difficult to hook and land. Tarpon are known for blistering runs and acrobatic jumps that send shivers down the spine. 

They roam the flats and are often within casting distance of the shore in Florida but are more likely to appear in open waters throughout the remainder of the US gulf states. In Mexico however, freshwater estuaries in the state of Tabasco are home to large populations of juvenile tarpon. While on the small side, they are an absolute blast to catch.

Popular Lures & Rigs For Tarpon

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