Just for fun, here is a list of Pelagic Fish species in the Gulf of Mexico.

As you might expect, a pelagic fish is one that spends most of its time in the “pelagic zone”. This means that the representative fish species will typically inhabit the ‘middle to upper layer’ of the water column. They will usually not be found close to the bottom, or close to the shoreline.


You will usually find them in the water column, close to the water surface and roaming freely around the Gulf of Mexico. There are always exceptions, right?


Coastal pelagic fish species may go as deep as 655 feet deep, but above the continental shelf. Many of them can also be highly migratory species.

The pelagic zone is the largest habitat on earth. It is estimated that the zone contains a water volume of 330 million cubic miles.

Pelagics can also be an important indicator for the marine ecosystems they inhabit.

List of Pelagic Fish Species in the Gulf of Mexico


African Pompano

african pompano photo
Photo by lakshmioct01

The African Pompano is prevalent in a horizontal band around the world, as well as in the Gulf of Mexico. The pelagic game fish species prefers the warmer water temperatures.

African Pompano Alectisciliaris distribution map
African Pompano Alectisciliaris global distribution map – wik-PD.


Blackfin Tuna



Blue Marlin


Bluefin Tuna



Cobia fish picture

Fishing for Pelagics in the Gulf of Mexico?
Be on the look out for floating objects! 

Pelagic fish species love to hang out around floating objects like floating seaweed, rafts, wooden planks and anything floating that casts a shadow. Smaller fishes will be there for the gamefish to feed upon.

Dolphin (Mahi-Mahi, Dolphinfish)

Mahi Mahi - Dolphinfish - Pelagic fish species in the Gulf of Mexico


Great Barracuda

The Great Barracuda (Sphyraena barracuda, Cuda), shows tendencies of both a reef fish and pelagic predator. Its range has been documented Florida to Nova Scotia.

Greater Amberjack


King Mackerel


Ocean Sunfish

Ocean Sunfish Picture

Pelagic Shark Species

Yes, they are fish too. For the Gulf of Mexico, the representative species, would include tiger shark, blue shark, great white shark and mako shark.

Great White Shark

Great White Shark picture



Spanish Mackerel




Tarpon (Megalops atlanticus), the Silver King:

Tarpon swimming


Wahoo picture - pelagic fish species in the Gulf of Mexico

Whale Shark

whale shark photo
Photo by Marcel_Ekkel

Yes, whale sharks are definitely roam the Gulf of Mexico. I have personally seen one while fishing in the Gulf. The super large pelagic was within 10 feet of me, as I was looking straight down at its wide head. But, that is another story.

They can also be found through out most of the warm and tropical Gulfs and Oceans around the world. They are magnificent looking sea creatures.

White Marlin


Yellowfin Tuna

Yellowfin Tuna picture

Other pelagic fish species in the Gulf of Mexico

These include the largest group of latent resource species in the Gulf of Mexico. Think about the smaller bait fish such as scaled sardines, thread herring, chub mackerel, Spanish sardines and Gulf menhaden.

As you could imagine the pelagic zone, as well as the representative fish species inhabitants, are worth protecting. We want them to be even more plentiful in the future as they are now.