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Best Grouper Fishing

author
Maria Johnson
• Friday, 01 January, 2021
• 12 min read

Some grouper grow to over 500 lbs, and can often be caught with a simple hook and sinker style rig. As with most predatory fish, using live bait for grouper will be your best bet as long as local regulations allow.

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(Source: www.fishheadquarters.com)

Contents

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.

Combine this with a 2 to 3 foot long 80 lb test monofilament leader, a 4-ounce egg sinker, and you’ll be set up for grouper success! A regular bottom fishing tackle setup is a great place to start.

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.

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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. Just so you know, Track Fishing may earn an affiliate commission from the links on this page, at no extra cost to you.

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If you want to engage in fast and intense fishing for grouper, you will need a six or seven-foot spinning rod coupled with a heavy reel. Although heavy reels are not required for inshore fishing with live bait rigs, they don’t hurt.

This will allow you to exert more strength and precision when it comes to extracting the grouper from its hiding places. Shaman TLD 2-Speed Conventional Reel is durable, sturdy, and remarkably powerful.

It offers exceptional lever drag, a unique feature that should be praised for numerous reasons. The Shaman TLD has a unique design that includes a solid graphite frame as well as a side plate with an aluminum spool.

Shift gears easily with the two-speed effect of this reel and know that it has a maximum drag of 42 lbs. With a quick retrieval rate and a line capacity that is far beyond what you could ever need or want, the Shaman TLD is one of the best grouper reels for you to consider.

Easy to maintain with smooth drag Durable and corrosion-resistant Has a low gear ratio A slight upgrade to the Penn Squall series, this reel is not only robust but it’s also durable.

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The Penn Squall Level Wind is corrosion resistant as it is designed for saltwater. Lightweight and strong, this powerful conventional reel is perfect for grouper along with other bottom fish and predatory species.

You aren’t limited just to grouper when you use this reel, however, as it can also be used for other bottom fish or large species, too. Built with a solid aluminum frame, this reel is strong, and resists rust and corrosion.

The Penn US Senator also has the HT 100 drag system, providing you with all the fishing power you might need. It can easily land fish past 50 lbs, offering power and user-friendly design.

It has a power handle that is comfortable to use and easy to hold along with reversible harness lugs. It has a durable gear train and is machine framed, making it more resilient and perfectly aligned.

Known as the Saliva Lever Saltwater Reel, this product has six separate corrosion-resistant ball bearings. You won’t have to worry about replacing any ball bearings any time soon, even when you fish daily in saltwater.

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(Source: miamifishing.com)

It also has a machined aluminum frame and plate that make it super strong and resistant even to being dropped! It has a precision ratchet feature for anti-reverse and a gear ratio of 6.3:1 or 3.1:1, depending on which option you purchase.

Several sizes and gear ratios available Massive stainless steel cut for smooth winding and awesome power Corrosion-resistant bearings It performs well on fresh and saltwater, offering greater versatility and strength than some smaller models.

A highly capable reel, it can hold a ton of monofilament or braided line. This reel has a bail wire made out of heavy aluminum along with an oversized line roller, giving you excellent performance for long term use.

Comes with a manufacturer’s warranty Reduces bulk and maximizes efficiency Comes with a comfortable EVA handle The best grouper fish are often caught in shallow waters of tropical and subtropical seas.

These fish have a distinctive barbell shape, usually gold-brown, that grows almost completely around the dorsal fin. They move very slowly in these water temperatures and can be harder to find, but not impossible.

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(Source: miamifishing.com)

Small sharks are also popular, especially those of the species ‘white tip’, which can grow up to eleven feet long. White tip sharks are very aggressive and a big threat to human life.

The oceanic white tip shark is considered to be the number one danger, as it’s known to get up to fourteen feet in length. Since they live in the deep oceans, marlins are often found hundreds of feet under the surface.

Marlins are thought to grow to about two hundred fifty pounds and are a wonderful tackle for any angler. A company in Australia named “Ocean Sport” offers a line of Marlin lures to fishermen that enjoy deep-sea fishing.

It gives anglers the ability to choose a beautiful lure and catch a hungry fish. They are found in the warmer waters of the Atlantic Ocean, Gulf of Mexico, Caribbean, and points south.

While they are a powerful fish that puts up a strong battle, grouper are prized by many anglers for their flaky white fillets! There are quite a few other species of grouper that are found in deeper waters and throughout the Bahamas and other locations.

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(Source: attractivefishing.com)

For the most part, their habits are very similar and will be treated all the same when it comes to tackle and techniques. The one thing that all groupers have in common is that they are bottom dwelling, structure oriented fish.

Seldom will one be found high up in the water column or on sandy bottom with no structure. Penn is THE name in saltwater tackle and makes some excellent equipment at reasonable prices.

This can handle most the bottom fishing situations as well as some light tackle trolling. Anglers using conventional tackle for grouper fishing can choose a reel with a level wind or one without.

Level winds are nice in that the line is spooled up evenly as it is retrieved. Many old school grouper fishing reels such as the venerable Penn 4/0 do not have a level wind.

Goliath grouper grow hundreds of pounds and requires special tackle. Anglers fishing in hundreds of feet of water in the Atlantic Ocean with heavy lead will need a stouter outfit than those fishing in 40 feet of water in the Gulf of Mexico.

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(Source: www.howtocatchanyfish.com)

Anglers fishing in shallow, clear water sometimes find that lighter spinning tackle makes a more natural presentation. Some anglers simply prefer the comfort and feel of a spinning outfit.

This mostly occurs in the shallow waters of the Bahamas and the Gulf of Mexico north of Tampa. Therefore, anglers anchor or drift a decent distance from the spot and cast live baits or lures in towards the structure.

A 7-8 foot heavy action rod with a 6000 series real is a good all-around combination. In water much deeper than 50 feet, conventional outfits are simply a better choice.

Anglers shopping for grouper fishing tackle and lures will have quite a few choices when it comes to fishing line. While the initial cost is higher, braided line last much longer than monofilament.

This is very important when grouper fishing as it allows anglers to feel the take as well is get the grouper away from the structure. Braided line is also thinner in diameter, which allows it to sink faster when fishing in deep water.

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(Source: miamifishing.com)

Many use a strong black swivel to connect the leader to the main line. A sliding sinker is often placed on the main line and then the swivel stops it from going any further.

Leader length and strength varies greatly, depending on the fishing situation. Many anglers fishing in deep water use a very long leader, up to 20 feet and even longer.

Anglers grouper fishing in the Gulf of Mexico are required to use circle hooks. The hook may look huge, but the important part is the distance between the tip and the shank.

Standard short shank live bait hooks are also popular for grouper fishing as well. In very deep water, just reeling and coming tight as is done with circle hooks works the best anyway.

The weight is generally placed on the running line ahead of the swivel that attaches the leader. With this rig, the sinker slides on the leader and rest right on the eye of the hook.

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Also, when snagged up, the sinker jerking up on the line then banging the eye of the hook will often free it. With this rig, multiple hooks are tied off of dropper loops on the main line.

The bank sinker works well as it tends to walk and bounce off of rocks and other snags. While most grouper are caught on live or natural bait, there are a few situations when they can be taken on artificial lures as well.

Trolling with deep diving plugs is an incredibly effective technique when grouper are in fairly shallow water. It allows anglers to cover a lot of water over a large piece of structure in search of fish.

Trolling is effective anywhere that there is submerged structure in the 50 feet deep or shallower range. The shallow waters of the Gulf of Mexico, channel edges and large bays such as Tampa Bay, and coral reefs of the Caribbean are prime spots to troll for grouper.

They are categorized by size, giving anglers a good idea of how deep they will go. Papal and several other lure manufacturers also make quality deep diving plugs for grouper fishing.

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(Source: spanishsardine.com)

With the boat idling along at 4 to 5 knots, the plug will dig down to the maximum depth, putting out a lot of flash and vibration. A down rigger is a device with a cable and a heavy ball which takes the lure down deep.

This technique is used extensively in the Great Lakes region for walleye and salmon. Grouper can also be caught by anglers casting artificial lures, though there are limited situations where this can occur.

Basically, when grouper are holding over structure in fairly shallow water, usually 10 feet deep or shallower, casting lures over the structure and retrieving them back in can produce jarring strikes from grouper. Plugs will dive to a determined depth, while jigs can be worked through the entire water column but are extremely effective when bounced on the bottom right on top of the structure.

White buck tail jigs are often used and can be tipped with a strip of squid or cut fish. There are basically four types of grouper that are found in good numbers in the United States.

Gag grouper are very aggressive and are the species most often targeted by anglers fishing with artificial lures. Black grouper are normally found in the deeper waters of the Atlantic Ocean and down around the Florida Keys.

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(Source: www.fisheyesportfishing.com)

Surprisingly, they are often encountered in the inshore waters, as shallow as five or 6 feet deep. Many a large Goliath grouper has surprised an angler casting to the mangroves for shook or redfish.

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