Baby Game Fish

See our roundup of these game fish at a young age — we all have to start somewhere.

Sailfish Baby Larvae Fish

Sailfish Newborn

In the first year of their lives, sailfish can often be observed off the coast of Florida. At six months, a juvenile may weight 6 pounds and be 4.5 feet long. And, if they’re lucky, they can grow into IGFA monsters — weighing upwards of 128 pounds in the Atlantic or 220 pounds in the Pacific. Courtesy of Cedric Guigand of University of Miami’s School of Marine & Atmospheric Science
Swordfish Larvae Baby Fish Photo

A Little Sword

Swordfish have been observed spawning in the Atlantic Ocean, in water less than 250 ft. deep. Estimates vary considerably, but females may carry from 1 million to 29 million eggs. The most recognized spawning site is in the Mediterranean, off the coast of Italy. As the only member of its family, the swordfish has distinctive larvae. The pelagic larvae are 4 mm long at hatching and live near the surface. At this stage, body is only lightly pigmented. Courtesy of Cedric Guigand, Joel Llopiz, and Dave Richardson of University of Miami’s School of Marine & Atmospheric Science
Flounder Baby Larvae Fish Photo

A Floundering Tike

Lefteye flouders are part of the Bothidae family. They are called “lefteye” because most species lie on the sea bottom on their right side, with both eyes on the left. They range from 4.5 cm to 5 feet in length. Photo Credit: NOAA
Blue Marlin Baby Larvae Fish Photo

Baby Blue

Blue marlin eggs hatch dependent upon temperature, but likely occurs well within a week of spawning. A single spawn produces millions of eggs. Larvae are blue-black on the sides. They measure around 12.6 mm to 22.1 mm, but these blue beasts of the sea can grow like no other. The IGFA all-tackle record for the Pacific is 1,376 pounds and 1,402 pounds for the Atlantic. Courtesy of Cedric Guigand, Joel Llopiz, and Dave Richardson of University of Miami’s School of Marine & Atmospheric Science
Snapper Baby Larvae Fish Photo


Snappers are part of the Lutjanida family. These little guys can grown up to be a wide arrange of snapper: Queen snapper, Red snapper, Schoolmasters, Lane snappers, and many more. Photo Credit: NOAA
Tarpon Baby Larvae Fish Photo

Silver Prince

Female tarpon can release up to 12 million eggs at once and produce between four million and 20 million eggs per breeding season. Tarpon, bonefish, ladyfish, and true eels are the only fishes that have a leptocephalus life stage. One day, they will rise to be king — the Silver King. Photo by University of Southern Mississippu Gulf Coast Research Laboratory
Grouper Baby Larvae Fish Photo

Guppy of a Grouper

Grouper are part of the Serranidae family. Little is known about the seasonality and distribution of grouper larvae in the Gulf of Mexico and Atlantic Ocean off the coast of the southeast. Photo Credit: NOAA
Blue Marlin Baby Larvae Fish Photo

Baby Blue, Too

Another look at the blue marlin larvae (preserved). These larvae feed on a variety of zooplankton along with drifting fish eggs and even other larvae. Courtesy of Cedric Guigand, Joel Llopiz, and Dave Richardson of University of Miami’s School of Marine & Atmospheric Science
Dolphin Fishing Photo Larvae Baby

Dinky Dolphin

Dolphin are some of the fastest-growing species in the ocean. In one study by University of Michigan, 70 percent of the youngest larvae collected in the northern Gulf of Mexico were found at a depth greater than 500 feet. Photo Credit: NOAA
Snook Baby Larvae Fishing Photo

Snookie, Not from MTV

Snook larvae may grow as much as 1 mm per day. According to the Smithsonian Marine Station at Fort Pierce, Florida, adult snook may utilize fresh water habitat, they are unable to spawn in fresh water. Photo Credit: National Museum of Natural History Departmen of Systematic Biology
Bluefin Tuna Larvae Fishing Photo

Tiny Tuna

In the Atlantic, bluefin tuna spawning has been detected in only two areas: the Mediterranean and Gulf of Mexico. In the Pacific, spawning occurs off the Philippines. Little is known of the spawning of bluefin, as it has not been observed, but it’s known that average females produce up to 10 million eggs per year. Photo by University of Southern Mississippi Gulf Coast Research Laboratory
Spotted Seatrout Larvae Baby Fish Photo

Little Spotted One

During the spawning season of spotted seatrout, mature males produce a “drumming” sound by contracting muscles near the swim bladder. All fish belonging to this family produce these noises (hence the common name of “drum”, to which seatrout are related). Larvae are transported by tidal currents to shallow estuaries such as tidal creeks, muds flats, oyster bars, and marshes. Photo Credt: NOAA
Red Drum Larvae Fishing Photo

Litte Red

Because of the difficulty in sampling adult red drum stocks, very little is known of their biology. We do know, specifically in the South Carolina waters, that larval red drum feed on crustaceans and small fishes. The smallest feed on copepods, and as they grow, they eat ghost shrimp known as mysids, and eventually consume grass shrimp and panaeid shrimps. Photo by South Carolina Department of Natural Resources
Black Drum Larvae Baby Fishing Photo

Little Drummer Boy

Black drum have lived up to 30 years of age, and beyond. They have a fast growth rate for the first three years. Eggs and larvae are planktonic. Photo by South Carolina Department of Natural Resources

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