By Terry Tomalin

With more than 7,700 lakes, 10,550 miles of rivers and 2,276 miles of tidal shoreline, Florida has no shortage of places to fish. So it is no wonder that the state has produced more than 900 world records, more than any other state or country for that matter. But with dozens of potential species to catch, how does a discriminating angler get started. You can’t possibly catch them all at once, but here is three species you should try to add your “life list” this spring.

Spotted sea trout is a schooling species usually found in the shallow waters of bays and estuaries. It has two large canine teeth in the upper jaw and feeds mainly on shrimp and small baitfish in grassy areas. One of Florida’s most popular sportfish, spotted sea trout will hit everything from top water plugs to saltwater flies.

Snook are highly sensitive to changes in water temperature, and as a result, tend to be found in the state’s warmer waters. A strong, voracious predator, the species will rip a fishing line to shreds. Great sport on light tackle, snook are a cagey prey but well worth the time it takes to catch them.

Red drum, commonly known as redfish, is a shallow-water schooling fish found in both salt and brackish water. It can be distinguished from the black drum by its lack of chin barbels and its more elongated body. It also has a large black spot (sometimes several spots) just before the tail. Once heavily over-fished, this species is now a conservation success story.

But these are just a few of the more than a dozen sportfish you can catch in Florida waters. What is your favorite fish? Let us know!