No photo

I realize it is nearly impossible to make an identification without a photo.  I am interested in your thoughts, your educated guesses.

I put my scuba gear on in the water.  Yesterday I was gearing up to make a dive in Key Largo, Florida, near the red nun, in 25 feet of water; my camera was not handy.  I saw a huge fish about to swim past me.  I was on the surface; it was about ten feet down.  I was about to point it out to my wife and say, "Shark."  It was probably nine-feet long, and I have seen nurse sharks come by like this before.

But this was not a shark; it was a very large fish.  There were two of them, swimming side by side.  The second one was about four feet.  I am pretty sure they were both the same species.  The huge one looked like a giant barracuda, but I think it was much too big to be a barracuda.  Also, these two fish were swimming steadily by; barracuda tend to "hang."

Any guesses?  My hope is one of you will have a suggestion that I will check out and recognize.

Thank you so much.  Diving is education.


No photo

My guess would be 1. Cobia or 2. Common Snook. Check the ID book and let me known if either is correct.

Best Fishes,

Jonathan Lavan

Head Fish Geek

Thank you

Thank you for your two suggestions.  This is a discussion forum, and your participation is what makes it work.  I looked at the cobia and common snook on the interactive DVD.  Both are too small; the fish I saw was nine-feet long; according to the DVD neither snook nor cobia get that big.  The cobia didn't really look just like the fish I saw, and I am familiar with common snook, and I am sure I would have noticed its distinctive lateral line.

If you or anyone else has suggestions, I am very receptive.  Even if I never identify this fish, I will learn with each suggestion.

Thank You,


My guesses

If it was really that long, it would be huge even for a Wahoo or King Mackerel, but those do behave similar to the way you mentioned - swimming on by without hovering.  There are also any number of billfish that could reach that size.  I had a sailfish slowly cirlcle around me once.  Then there are tunas, goliaths, greater amberjack, and jack crevalles or giant trevally, although 9' would be a stretch for most them.  Is there a chance they were dolphins, the mammals?  

Maybe king mackerel

A knowledgeable friend suggested king mackerel.  I went to the interactive DVD, and the photo did look like what I remembered, but it said the maximum length was 5.5 feet.  Then I looked king mackerel up on line, and the all-tackle record is 93 pounds.  A 93-pound fish would be significantly longer than 5.5 feet. 

For now, I am going with king mackerel, and I am assuming I saw a remarkably large individual, world-class size.



Did you check out Wahoo?  They get bigger than King Mackerel and are similar in shape to a barracuda.




I have long admired your posts.  No, I did not consider wahoo because the only one I ever saw had dramatic bars, and the fish I saw did not.  But the photos in the interactive DVD show no bars, and the wahoos there surely could be the fish I saw.  And, on line, it says wahoo can grow to over eight feet. 

So, thank you Carol; I am now going with king mackerel or wahoo.  That is good enough for me, and, as always, thanks to contributors like you, it has been a learning experience.


Did you jump in right away?


That would have been one hell of a Wahoo!

Carol's suggestion of a billfish is a good one too (even though its too early in the season for them), nine foot long fish species are limited. 

Big fish

I agree Carlos.  Whatever I saw was a world-class fish.  If I honestly feel it was nine-feet long, even if I am mistaken, and I think I am not, it would have to be at least eight-feet long.  It clearly was not a bill fish.  Whatever it was, wahoo or king mackerel, it was remarkable.  Hopefully, it is a sign of a healthy fishery.


Comment viewing options

Select your preferred way to display the comments and click "Save settings" to activate your changes.
Design by Joanne Kidd, development by Ben Weintraub