20 Great Fishing Photos of Warm-Water Game Fish

Photographer Hunter Ledbetter hops in the water to get up close and personal with popular sport fish.

Hunter Ledbetter retired from the military and headed down to the Florida Keys to dive and fish. He actually stumbled into photography, taking pictures to keep his family and friends updated with everything happening during retirement. The more pictures he took and shared, the more he realized how much people appreciated getting exposed to tropical waterscapes and fish species. Ledbetter is self-taught as a photographer, receiving plenty of help from friends along the way.

Cabo Striped Marlin

striped marlin release
Pictured is an in-water release of a nice striped marlin off Cabo San Lucas, Mexico. Whenever possible, Ledbetter likes to keep the larger pelagic fish in the water for their photo capture.Hunter Ledbetter

Sandy Bonefish

Bonefish on a flat
This bonefish was caught on a beautiful white-sand flat near Key West.Hunter Ledbetter

Ocean Oasis

bamboo floating
Bamboo floating in blue water off the Keys is a gamefish attractor. Just about any chance he gets, Ledbetter will jump in and get photos of the life around bluewater flotsam.Hunter Ledbetter

A Short Reprieve

striped marlin
This striped marlin regains its strength after a lengthy battle in blue water.Hunter Ledbetter

Cobia Capture

cobia feeding
This big cobia chops on a chummed pilchard at the surface. Ledbetter spotted the cobia on a ray and he jumped in the water to capture this photo.Hunter Ledbetter

A Sailfish Soars

sailfish jump
Ledbetter got extremely close to this jumping Atlantic sailfish. "I love to get in the water with the fish and shoot them in their element," he says. "This sail was still early in the fight and I was able to get close while it jumped."Hunter Ledbetter

50/50

sailfish release
Ledbetter particularly likes to shoot 50/50 shots of fish next to the boat. That's part of the fish in the water and part of the fish out of the water. This sailfish was caught off Miami on the HELLREYZER.Hunter Ledbetter

Sunrise Launch

kayak launch
Launching kayaks at sunrise for some beach fishing off Baja, Mexico.Hunter Ledbetter

Picture Permit

Permit release
Permit on the flats are some of the best-fighting gamefish available in the Florida keys. Plus, the fish are beautiful, and the angler is always happy to have landed the fish.Hunter Ledbetter

Keys Redfish

Keys redfish
Redfish in the Lower Keys are a rare catch in the clear waters.Hunter Ledbetter

One Angler's First Striped Marlin

striped marlin catch
Ledbetter captured this shot of an angler's first striped marlin catch in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico, fishing on the boat Blue Sky.Hunter Ledbetter

AJs at Night

amberjack fishing
This amberjack comes to the boat on a night fishing trip out of Bradenton, Florida.Hunter Ledbetter

Sheepshead Release

sheepshead release
Not every fish photo has to be an amazing fish or exotic fishing location, says Ledbetter. "I love capturing the look on an angler’s face when they are loving the moment of being on the water."Hunter Ledbetter

Key West Sunset

Key West sunset
Key West has some of the best sunsets on the planet. These anglers end a day of flats fishing as the sun sets over the horizon.Hunter Ledbetter

Keys Tarpon

tarpon fishing
Tarpon have every attribute an angler wants in game fish, making the species a favorite for Ledbetter to shoot.Hunter Ledbetter

Flats Permit

permit fishing release
An in-water release shot of a permit caught on the crystal clear sand flats skirting Key West.Hunter Ledbetter

Tournament Fishing

sailfish jump
Tournament fishing can a challenge for the photographer. The crew wants to get the leader, the release and back to catching fish. This sailfish is still very green from a short fight, as the mate grabs the leader and gets the release.Hunter Ledbetter

Lady Anglers

throwing castnet
Ledbetter shoots with a lot of lady anglers. "If we are honest, female anglers often have to work harder to get the respect of other anglers," he says. "I like to capture images of them getting it done on the water."Hunter Ledbetter

The Long Run

running offshore
Running far offshore, the activity on the boat and the boat’s interaction with the ocean can often provide a great backdrop for some pictures, says Ledbetter.Hunter Ledbetter

Dolphin Dinner

dolphin catches
Ledbetter changes up the standard grip and grin pictures of fish. "Changing where you normally place your camera, or how the fish are held by the angler, can sometimes give photos a different perspective" he says.Hunter Ledbetter

The rise of social media has influenced a lot of where Hunter Ledbetter's photography has gone. He mostly shoots promo work for companies that have products they need to advertise. He shoots with a lot of anglers who need pictures for their social media profiles and websites too. Fishing publications and online media have a steady demand for new images and often require very specific images.