Spearfishing for Hogfish: Florida’s Favorite Underwater Hunt

Florida’s underwater world has an array of exciting marine life, but one of the most prized species amongst seafood lovers and spearfishers is Hogfish fishing. With their crazy elongated snouts and wild colors, Hogfish provide a completely different fishing experience.

Hogfish 101: An Unconventional Beauty

Hogfish get their name from their hog-like snouts which they use to sniff around for food in the sea floor. Needless to say, but they’re a “uniquely beautiful” species. These freaky fish are bright pink-orange with a dark stripe from the eye to the dorsal fin, making them super easy to pick out of a lineup.

Hogfish hang out around reef areas and ledges. They eat mostly mollusks, crustaceans, and small invertebrates. The best time to go Hogfish fishing in Florida is during the months of November through June.

Catching Hogfish: Snorkeling & Spearfishing

Hogfish are particularly dope to catch because traditional rod-and-reel methods are not gonna cut it. You’ll need to swap your shoes for fins and dive in. For those brave enough to venture in, we’ll be hunting these suckers with a spear. (Or you could us a snare, i guess). Hunting underwater with a spear makes for a completely different fishing adventure.

The Ideal Vessel: Black Label Marine Group

To reach hogfish’s favorite hangouts, you’ll need a reliable fishing boat. Black Label Marine Group is your go-to destination for top-quality center console fishing boats. We proudly stock a wide range of Caymas, Sea Fox, and Finseeker brands at our three locations in Ocala, Punta Gorda, and Pinellas. Alternatively, you can view our full inventory of Hogfish fishing boats online.

Dive into the Challenge of Hogfish Fishing

Catching hogfish isn’t just about the hunt; it’s about mastering the art of spearfishing in Florida‘s diverse underwater landscapes. Spearfishing combines the thrill of diving with the strategy of hunting a fish known for its clever evasiveness. Hogfish chill around the reefs and ledges where precision and patience are your greatest allies.

Before heading out, you’re gonna want the right boat. It’s the most important component to your mission and crucial for navigating hogfish hunting environments safely and efficiently. At Black Label Marine Group, we offer a fleet of robust center console boats. Our ships are ideal for both shallow reefs and deeper waters where hogfish thrive. Features that cater specifically to spearfishers are abundant on our Sea Fox, Finseeker, and Caymas fishing boats. These include spacious decks for gear management and powerful outboard motors for swift movement between fishing spots.

The best fishing trips start with a sturdy vessel from Black Label Marine Group. In addition to premium boats we offer expert advice on the best times and locations to find hogfish, making your adventure both productive and enjoyable. With our boats, you’re not just going fishing; you’re setting sail on a gourmet adventure. An incredible journey that rewards you with one of the most delectable catches Florida has to offer.

What is the world record for the biggest hogfish speared?

In August 2022, a Florida spearfisher set a new state record for hogfish off Panama City Beach. Josh Summerville, a seasoned diver with over fifteen years of experience, went on a dive he’ll never forget. Aboard the dive center’s boat, the Steel Slinger, Summerville ventured 40 miles offshore. The course was set to a region known for it rich marine life on rock ledges, the “Three-to-Five” region. Despite an initial rain delay, the dive proceeded.

At a depth of 100 feet, Summerville successfully speared his record hogfish. He knew “it was a big’un”, but had no idea how big it really was. It later turned out to be a new record at 24.2 pounds and 35.55 inches long. The monster catch surpassed the previous state record by several pounds.

Buddy Gandy’s Seafood in Panama City weighed the Hogfish on certified scales and confirmed the record-setting catch. Hogfish are a species typically found further south or to the east near Carrabelle. It was an unusual catch for the Panama City area which added to the significance of the record.

This hogfish far exceed the size of the previous state-record catch. It weighed in at a size that could have potentially surpassed* the IGFA (International Game Fish Association) all-tackle world record.
(*The world record catch was not as large. However, only hogfish caught on rod and reel qualify for consideration.)

Best Times and Locations to Find Hogfish

Hogfish are a sought-after species among Florida’s spearfishing community. They taste great and are exciting to hunt. The optimal time to pursue hogfish is between November and June. That’s when water conditions are generally calmer and visibility is higher. During these months, hogfish are more active and tend to frequent shallower waters, making them more accessible to spearfishers.

Prime Locations in Florida

  • Florida Keys: The clear waters and abundant reefs make the Keys a prime spot for hogfish. Areas around Key Largo and Key West are particularly famous. Spearfishers love their vibrant marine life and there’s numerous spots ideal for spearfishing.
  • Gulf Coast: Check the shallow waters around St. Petersburg all the way to the diverse ecosystems near Sarasota. The Gulf Coast offers numerous reefs and ledges that are perfect for targeting hogfish.
  • Atlantic Coast: Visit the reefs off Jupiter and Fort Lauderdale. They provide excellent visibility and are popular with both novice and experienced spearfishers.

Local Hotspots

  • Dry Tortugas: This remote group of islands is located west of Key West. An area renowned for pristine waters and untouched reefs. Offering some of the best hogfish spearfishing opportunities in the state.
  • John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park: A favorite Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary. Hogfish are abundant at this park. It’s a great spot for those looking to combine their fishing trip with a scenic underwater experience.

Tips for Successful Hogfish Spearfishing

When planning your trip, consider the local regulations and protected areas, as Florida places a high priority on marine conservation. Always check current rules and obtain necessary permits. Additionally, employing a stealthy approach and using appropriate spearfishing gear can significantly increase your chances of a successful catch.

At Black Label Marine Group, we’re committed to enhancing your fishing adventures. Visit any of our three stores for the perfect boat to get you to your best hogfish spots in style. Seasoned spearfishers, and those just starting out, will love our expert advice and dedication to facilitating successful fishing expeditions.

Main Photo Credit: https://www.facebook.com/FishingWithLuiza

Fun Fact: Did You Know?

Hogfish are hermaphrodites! They all start as females and transform into males as they grow larger. This gender-switching ability makes Hogfish a fascinating species in the underwater kingdom!




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