The 10 Most Difficult Fish To Catch In Florida

Florida offers many terrific fishing spots for people who are passionate about the sport. Many seasoned anglers enjoy the challenge of trying to catch rare fish. The following 10 fish are some of the most difficult species to catch.


big tarpon jump

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Tarpon are very fussy eaters and some anglers use sardines to lure them. It is very difficult to hook a Tarpon because they have bone-hard mouths and very fine sharp teeth. They are very large fish and those who manage to hook one have the challenge of reeling it in as the fish thrashes and jumps about. Only around 37% of those that manage to get them on the hook actually bring them in. The fish is often able to release itself from the hook rather quickly. It often takes an angler several tries before they manage to catch a Tarpon. That is why it is such a catch when you do finally get one.

Check out the fight this lady in Florida has trying to bring in this Tarpon!


sail fish

Sailfish so named because of their stunning dorsal fin that stretches nearly the length of their body. This fish species is very hard to catch because they are just so damn fast.

They have large, hard bills, which are hard to hook. Once a sailfish is hooked it puts up a challenging fight. Most seasoned anglers wait until the fish grows tired before trying to pull it up to the boat. That is one of the reasons you need the best gear, including a great backpack to store it all, to catch this fish, including the right rod and reel.

You can check out these guys hauling in a lucky three Sailfish in around three minutes, not something most of us are going to experience out on the water in Florida!


Grass Carp


Grass Carp are tricky to catch in Florida because they do not take bait easily. Anglers can try baiting them with bread, corn or dog kibble. It can take a few days of throwing food into the water before the fish finally take the bait. Most Grass Carp weigh between 4 to 24 pounds but can be as large as 50 pounds. The larger the fish, the more difficult it can be to catch if it puts up a fight.



The Permit is one of the most difficult fish to catch in Florida and many anglers spend a lot of time, energy and money trying to accomplish the challenging task. Even though Permit fish are often quite large, they can be extremely difficult for an angler to see. The nervous fish has extraordinary eyesight and a keen sense of smell. The fish flees the scene quickly once it detects the presence of humans. If an angler does manage to catch a Permit the fish puts up a huge fight, which can last anywhere from 20-45 minutes.


Bluefin Tuna


Bluefin Tuna are massive, ranging from 300 to 800 pounds. Their sheer size alone poses a huge challenge to anglers. In order to catch a Bluefin Tuna you must have a permit, a very large boat and the right heavy-duty fishing equipment.

Blue Marlin


The Blue Marlin is a rare Florida fish and those who are lucky enough to hook one need to be ready for a big fight. The Blue Marlin is not only very large it is also extremely tough. Determined individuals who have both physical strength and stamina may be able to pull one of these fish in but it may take quite a few tries before they are successful.

Broadbill Sword


The Broadbill Sword is rare, which makes it very hard to find. Those who manage to find the swordfish have a difficult time hooking it. Most anglers lose the fish if they do manage to hook it because it usually manages to escape pretty quickly. The Broadbill Sword weighs around 100 pounds on average so using large bait is the best way to attract the fish. Anglers need enough fishing line to go down around 1500 feet and should be prepared for a struggle if they manage to actually hook one of these beauties.



Tilapia spook easily, especially in undisturbed areas. They are not quick to take bait either. Some anglers find the behavior of the fish so annoying that they decide to quit trying to catch them at all.

Giant Grouper

giant grouper

Fishing in Florida for Giant Grouper is both fun and challenging. The Giant Grouper is a bottom feeder who may eat during the day or night. People may need to wait a while before they finally catch one of the large fish but if they are lucky, they will have a chance to see one. The harvest of Giant Groupers is illegal so anglers will have to place their catch back into the water.

Flathead Catfish

flathead catfish

Flathead Catfish are hard to catch because they are nocturnal. Anglers must be willing to participate in some nighttime fishing in Florida if they want to increase their chances of catching one. Another great way to increase the odds of catching a Flathead Catfish is to use live bait.

Sam Moser is a freelance web content writer who graduated from the School of Journalism at Ryerson University in Toronto, Canada. An avid traveller, Sam decided to try the Miami beach chartered fishing boats.

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