Those with a Gulf Reef Fish Angler designation will meet the statewide requirement until the Gulf designation expires, even if you are fishing on the Atlantic coast. Gulf state waters are from shore to 9 nautical miles.
Atlantic state waters are from shore to 3 nautical miles. Participation mandatory to fish for grouper in Florida waters.
Expand All | Collapse All 1 gag or black within the 3 grouper aggregate Note: In the Atlantic reef fish fishery, gear rules require hooking tools, and as of Jan. 1, 2021, non-stainless steel hooks in all state waters, and non-offset circle hooks N. of 28 ° N. latitude.
Several species of Gulf grouper (red, black, scamp, yellow fin and yellow mouth) are closed Feb. 1-March 31 seaward of the 20-fathom break. Recreational anglers are encouraged to use electronic charting equipment to plot the 20-fathom break by entering the established coordinates listed on the map below into a route.
Monroe County: Several species of Atlantic grouper (red, black, yellow fin, yellow mouth, scamp, rock hind, red hind, Coney and grays by) are closed Jan. 1 – April 30 in all state and federal waters of the Atlantic including all state waters off Monroe County (Atlantic and Gulf sides). During this closure, anglers can harvest grouper in open federal waters of the Gulf and return to port in Monroe County by traveling through closed state waters of the Atlantic as long as the vessel proceeds directly to port without stopping to fish.
Florida recently announced that it will increase the recreational red grouper bag limit in Gulf of Mexico state waters (excluding Monroe County) on December 30 from two fish to four. The red grouper bag limit increase is one of several fishery management changes made at the November Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FCC) meeting in Key Largo.
This includes the regularly scheduled annual closure from February 1 through March 31 in Gulf state waters. The FCC will revisit state gag grouper management efforts in February 2012, once federal rules are solidified.
In the Atlantic state waters, including Monroe County, the season closes January 1 and reopens May 1. 1: At Big Pier 60 in Clearwater, Spanish mackerel and speckled trout are being caught daily.
The overnights this past weekend again produced multiples nook in the mid to high 30-inch range. Some small pompano have been caught along with mangrove snapper and there're good numbers of sleepyhead on the pilings, reports Big Pier 60 Bait & Tackle (727-462-6466).
2: At Madeira Beach, near shore, lots of big lane and vermilion snapper are starting to show with some mangrove mixed in. The red grouper bite is good in deeper near shore waters along with a few cobra and scattered king fish.
Lots of scamp grouper, big snapper, and porgies are mixed in at that depth as well, reports Capt. A few sheepsheads are still being caught in the pass and around the bridge and the mangrove snapper bite is picking up.
Mackerel, lady fish, and jacks are also inside the pass chasing schools of bait, reports Capt. 4: At Fort De Soto Park, the gag grouper bite is good around the bay, the bridges, and the edge of the shipping channel.
Lots of crabs are flushing on the outgoing tides and the tarpon bite is good on the beach, around the bridges and at Segment. At the piers, there plenty of Spanish mackerel and shook are on the beach, reports the Bait Bucket (727-864-2108).
5: Around the Sunshine Skyway and lower Tampa Bay, gag grouper and mangrove snapper are being caught around the Skyway, the edge of the shipping channel, and the reefs and structure in the bay. The tarpon bite is good at the Skyway, Segment Key, Bean Point, and the beaches.
Inside the sound, the trout are steady on the flats in the holes and depressions in two to three-feet of water, reports Crawford. Mangrove snapper fishing is picking up along the edge of the channel from Port Manatee to the Skyway and on area structure.
The mangrove snapper bite is picking up around the bridges, the reefs in the bay, and area structure. On the flats inside, the shook, trout, and redfish bite is good coming off the new moon, reports Capt.
• At Fort Pierce, offshore, there’s a lot of king fish at 60-80 foot while slow trolling or free-lining live baits. The trout bite is consistent to the north around Harbor Branch, reports Clint Walker at the Fishing Center of St. Lucie (772-465-7637).
Gag grouper is one of the most popular saltwater fishing species anglers enjoy catching each year in the Gulf of Mexico, but special seasons and limits help keep populations in check. Grouper frequent structure changes and cover, such as sunken ships, oil or gas rigs, and man-made reefs.
Targeting grouper requires some stout tackle: a heavy rod, strong line and a good hook that will penetrate their thick lips but not give way during the battle. Florida recently announced a regional recreation harvest season for state waters off the coast of Franklin, Weibull, Jefferson and Taylor counties.
Gag grouper caught April 1 to June 30 in Gulf state waters (from shore to 9 nautical miles out) from off the four-county open region may be landed on the Gulf County side of Indian Pass and the Dixie County side of the Steinhatchee River, but may not be taken ashore in other areas closed to harvest. The FCC (Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission) manages the Gulf of Mexico and Atlantic Ocean differently, and it’s important to know what’s in season and what you can harvest from each shoreline.
The Gulf of Mexico is a unique body of water that provides commercial and recreational anglers plenty of fishing opportunities. The Gulf covers most of Florida ’s west coast, from Pensacola in the Panhandle to the start of the Everglades at the tip of the peninsula.
This is important to keep in mind as there are different regulations for what’s in season and what you can harvest depending on if you’re in state or federal waters. For Gag Grouper fishing in the Gulf, it’s important to note what county you’re embarking from.
For counties of Franklin, Weibull, Taylor and Jefferson (in the Panhandle area from Apalachicola to Steinhatchee) there is open season in state waters from April 1 to June 30, and again from September 1 to December 31. Black, Red, Scamp, Yellow fin and Yellow mouth Grouper all have similar regulations in the Gulf.
It’s open season in both state and federal waters for Rock Hind, Coney, Yellow edge and Snowy Groupers. You can ask your charter captain if the size you have is a keeper or not; or refer to the FCC regulations to make sure you’re staying compliant.
Now moving east to the beautiful Atlantic Ocean where there are excellent opportunities for grouper fishing. Keep in mind, the FCC considers the Everglades and Florida Keys as part of the Atlantic Ocean waters, and all fishing done in these areas must stay within Atlantic-specific regulations.
From the Florida Keys to Jacksonville, anglers have hundreds of cities to choose from to launch your grouper expedition. The real question is, what subspecies of grouper you’ll find at the end of your line.
East Coast anglers should mark your calendars for May 1, this is when Gag Grouper and Black Grouper season opens from the Keys to Duval County (Jacksonville area). Honestly, that’s why there are regulations in place, so that this incredible species is not overfished and the population stays healthy.
Aggregate bag limits apply Regulations only apply in Collier, Monroe, Miami-Dade, Broward, Palm Beach, and Martin counties.