If you’re targeting a rock pile or wreck, anchor your boat up current and throw some old cut bait in the water. This technique works great for both bottom fishing and spearfish, as long as you have a solid pair of free diving fins.
We like using a 6 to 7-foot long heavy action rod paired with a bottom- fishing reel and 50 lb test braided line. Like we mentioned earlier, we usually fish for grouper off the coast of Florida and the Gulf of Mexico, so these are the species you’ll most likely encounter there.
They are gray and brown and love living close to coastal rock piles and underwater wreckage. Gag groupers will even hang in water only a few feet deep if there are structure and bait fish nearby.
Their massive size means you need to fish with an extra heavy-duty set up in order to stand a chance. Lastly, we wanted to share some grouper fishing tips that will improve your chances of catching grouper significantly if you follow them.
One of the first mistakes amateur grouper fishermen make is keeping their drag at a normal level. This is a big mistake when fishing for grouper due to their tendency to retreat back to rocky holes and tunnels after they take your bait.
IF your drag is set high, it will be much harder for them to make it back to their rocky hideouts before you can reel them away. Drifting allows you to cover more water and get your bait in front of more fish than if you anchor your boat.
Since oftentimes the difference between catching a grouper and not is just finding them, drifting allows you to maximize your chances enticing them to bite. As long as the current isn’t too strong and your lures aren’t down too deep, you should still be able to keep your live/dead bait right where you want it.
Since they live at deeper depths than other sports fish, they still enjoy feeding when the surface bite is off. This is why it’s always a good idea to have a bottom fishing reel and rod ready for off days.
Grouper put up a great fight and taste delicious if you prepare them correctly. There's nothing more disheartening for a serious angler than spending a day on the boat only to come home empty-handed.
When catching Red Snapper or Grouper, the right bait makes all the difference. Red Snapper, in particular, are not necessarily picky, but if you are targeting the larger fish there are definitely better baits to use than others.
Red Snapper tends to be wary, and they don't bite if they notice anything suspicious. Regardless of what you're hoping to catch, tailoring the bait to the type of fish is common sense.
Live bait is King when fishing Red Snapper and Grouper, and they do have their favorites. Grouper also prefer large live bait fish, but they tend to be less picky than Red Snapper.
You can opt for either frozen or fresh fish purchased from your local bait shop. These fish flit through the water quickly, easily attracting a predator's attention, plus they're shiny and oily, making them even more visible.
Other options include squid, blue runner, mullet, pinkish, and grunts. Drop your baits (ideally cigar minnows or pilchards for red snappers or sardines for groupers) down deep into the water column.
Many of the trophy sized fish are in holes and covered areas where they tend to rest and stay safe from other predators. If you fail to do so, your live bait may come loose on a heavy current.
Red Snapper love this and tend to strike the bait before it even hits the bottom. Simply cut a strip of Bonito (we leave the skin on), attach with both hooks on your double Snell rig and slowly drop the bait to the bottom.
Vertical jigs, in particular, can trick the fish, which confuse the shiny objects with an easy bite. Diving plugs are ideal for groupers if you're fishing in reef areas, allowing for deep trolling at depths of 20 to 40 feet.
Finally, you can try a butterfly jig, a thin but heavy lure that moves erratically in the water. This movement mimics a real fish as the lure free falls through the water.
Generally, Southern California, the Gulf of Mexico and around Florida are great places to fish for grouper and red snapper. Isolated areas are also preferable and the Florida Gulf Coast is a great location.
Not only are these fish very intriguing to tackle and catch, their meat is always soft, fluffy and very tasty. They require special types of bait to lure, and very hard tackles to secure them, and to pull out of the waters.
However, you also stand to lose your bait, your hard-earned grouper game and you will definitely feel some pain if your rod finds itself hitting your gut. Even though you can use frozen mullets from local bait shops, it would be even more fun and practice to catch some on your way to fishing groupers.
Live and hooked mullets provide an even more attractive allure to groupers, especially when they look slow due to injuries. Fishing pros attribute the impressive bait qualities of squid to their smelly and oily nature.
You might find that you could be lazy and fail to go to the exact spots where groupers lounge and breed, but you will still catch some other tasty giant fish. Squid can also be caught easily or bought at local bait shops at very affordable rates.
Because of their shiny and lively visibility, and of course their tasty and oily fleshy, sardines make very great grouper baits. Even when dead and frozen, sardines will still do the trick of luring groupers out because of their shiny bodies.
Pinkish are great bait because they really hate being on hooks and complain a lot by making grunts. The grunts and their average size of about 7 inches make groupers eager to just swallow them whole in feeding anticipation.
You can fish them out with traps as you go out on the deep waters to catch groupers, or you can buy them cheaply at local bait shops. These fish baits are great because they are big enough to catch Goliath groupers and small enough not to be wasted food.
They will be very helpful to you, especially if you would like to isolate giant groupers and tackle them hard when they are distracted with their own hunting success. Most live bait fish will get eaten by grouper.
Below are some of the more popular baits that anglers use for catching grouper. Fish them alive or dead, however, the lively ones tend to be more productive for grouper.