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.
Reefs, wrecks, artificial reefs, areas of rocky bottom, and ledges are the top spots where anglers catch grouper in open water. Penn is THE name in saltwater tackle and makes some excellent equipment at reasonable prices.
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.
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. With this outfit, anglers can cast lures and live baits towards structure as well as have a decent chance of landing a big fish that might be hooked when bottom fishing.
In water much deeper than 50 feet, conventional outfits are simply a better choice. While the initial cost is higher, braided line last much longer than monofilament.
Braided line is also thinner in diameter, which allows it to sink faster when fishing in deep water. 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.
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.
However, there is another rig that works very well for grouper fishing, particularly in water shallower than 100 feet. With this rig, the sinker slides on the leader and rest right on the eye of the hook.
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.
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.
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.
Some bait shops may have pinkish you can buy, but we recommend going out a day before your grouper trip and catching some above bait fish to store in your live well. 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 recommend using either a 6/0 or 4/0 sized circle hook when using both dead and live grouper bait.
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. 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.
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.
Now that you know what the proper grouper bait is and how to fish it, you’ll be prepared next time you get out on the water. This is because grouper like to live near the bottom close to underwater structures like rocks and wrecks.
The Your Crystal 3D Minnow Deep Diver Trolling Lure is a great option when trolling for grouper (and other saltwater fish like Spanish mackerel) as it’s realistic 3D eyes mimic an actual bait fish’s eyes. The X-Rap has been a trolling favorite for years and works well for many species (like halibut, lake trout, and more) of fish besides just grouper.
These lures look and feel more like the fish grouper are used to eating, and are an excellent choice for trolling. The rubber tail’s action imitates a frantic bait fish trying to escape a hungry grouper.
The rubber tail flutters in the water at all speeds and mimics a scared shrimp or shad. Grouper love feeding on both small crustaceans/bait fish and find the Each Fat Swing Impact Rubber Shad irresistible.
If you aren’t getting any bites on your soft plastic lures or the diving plugs, we recommend trying out a fishing classic: metal spoons. Metal spoons imitate sardines, mackerel, and other small shiny fish that grouper like to eat.
These chrome-covered spoons have been catching many types of fish for years, including grouper. They have a simple action that when trolled with a down rigger looks like a small bait fish that has been separated from its school.
It has a more aggressive action than the Clark spoon which can entice reclusive grouper from where their hiding in underwater structure. The Huntington Stainless Steel Drone Spoon works for many saltwater species (such as smaller yellow fin tuna and bonito) along with grouper, so it’s a solid addition to any tackle box.
Now that you know what the best grouper trolling lures are, let’s discuss the typical kinds of grouper you’ll catch if you use them. Keep in mind that we typically fish for grouper in the southern Atlantic Ocean and the Gulf of Mexico, so these are the species common to those areas.
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 is structure and bait fish nearby.
You usually won’t catch Goliath groupers while trolling because they live in deeper waters and go after larger bait. While this can make figuring out where to fish for them easy, you need to be extra aware of your lure depth and how fast you’re trolling.
This might seem counter-intuitive when trolling, but you don’t want to give a hooked grouper any chance to swim back into the cover it darted out from. If it gets back to the hole it lives in, chances are your line will scrape against the rocks and snap.
A tight drag will not only prevent this but also act to set the hook with the movement of the boat. Grouper are reef-dwelling aggressive fish that are large and make a great addition to any outdoor grill.
Many lures on the market are developed to trick an aggressive predator like grouper. The most effective method is trolling slowly over their prime habitat or reef area, because their instincts naturally tell them to chase their prey and make a quick bite.
Grouper lures are more effective than bait because the fish like to stay close to their reef home. This ideal grouper lure for deep trolling whether you are inland or way offshore can reach depths up to 30 feet and speeds of 13 knots.
The transparent design with an internal cast system means that you will throw it a good distance. Corrosion resistant parts mean it will endure through lots of fishing trips and use.
Since early 1952, Salas jigs have been helping fisherman catch albacore, perch, and grouper. This jig is a popular seller, because it really works to hook those big grouper fish.
With 7 times the light and a 3/0 hook size, you are sure to land some big grouper with this great lure from Salas. For over 50 years, Your has been making quality lures in Japan and shipping all over the world.
Their advanced technology means they lead the industry in products that are among the best in artificial baits in the country. Your Crystal Minnows have a bright holographic finish that reflects light and attracts big game fish even in murky or unclear waters.
Whether you are using a stop and go or steady retrieval, these minnow lures from Your get the job done when it comes to catching big grouper. Whether you are using a stop and go or steady retrieval, these minnow lures from Your get the job done when it comes to catching big grouper.
In addition, they taste great on the grill. Want to show your friends you can land a big fish? With one of the above grouper lures, you will be sure to catch a great tasting fish on your next outdoor adventure.
Sliding sinker rig with 6-foot mono leader, ready to drop sardine, pinkish or other bait. “Sometimes it’s hard to grouper fish with Mali swimming around your boat, but our stretch of offshore reefs can give up some really quality gags and scamps this time of year, particularly on spots deeper than 120 feet,” he said.
The rig consists of an egg sinker sliding on an 18-inch piece of 100-pound mono between two swivels. A 6-foot piece of 100-pound mono leads to a circle hook, with the size depending on the bait.
Keep the sinker pinned against the bottom swivel and at the first sign of panic in the bait, let him swim away from the weight unencumbered. Johnson says he’d always prefer to hook his live spots, grunts, and pinkish behind the anal fin, but cautions that you have to consider the current.
As A Fishing Booker Affiliate I Can Earn Small Booking Commissions At No Extra Cost To You Want To Go Grouper Fishing? These Florida fish ambush their prey, so they have very hard, powerful strikes.
This means you have to fight, drag and pull this unwilling heavyweight up from its dark depths. To prevent this from happening, immediately crank down hard on your drag so the fish can't take more of your line.
Then begin to reel the fish in as quickly as possible so it can't get back into it's hiding spot. Hoisting one of these fish up can feel like raising the Titanic, or at least a cement truck.
The hooked fish is not moving as fast as normal because it's attached to you and your line. The Goliath have learned that this is the perfect opportunistic moment for a quick and easy meal, and will often attack and eat your fish before you reel it in.
Two Large Hooked Black Grouper Florida Keys Public Libraries, Don Maria Collection, Flickr It's a simple formula that works perfectly for this monster saltwater fish.
The sheer prospect of lifting that amount of weight through that much water, is a recipe for pure exhaustion. Deep drop fishing is where you use a heavy duty electric reel loaded with lots of heavyweight line.
You also set up multiple hooks at different lengths with strobe lights attached to attract the fish. You then attach live or freshly cut bait to the hooks and set the line so it's vertical in the water.
The best choice for bait is squid because this is the most common food source for fish living at these greater depths. Traditionally, deep drop equipment has been quite expensive, but it has begun to come down in price making it more affordable.
This has increased the number of people who are now actively pursuing this exciting, productive, and challenging form of fishing. The electric reels and rods that you can use run the gambit in terms of usability and price.
You also won't want to forget employing some critical components that pull this all together such as the strobe lighting. When grouper fishing Florida Keys deep waters, it would seem that your objectives would be obvious.
Trolling for gag, black and other grouper species is another popular technique when fishing in 15' to 25' of water. Another fun technique to try when trolling is to throw out some chum to bring these Florida fish to the surface.
Jewish Fishing Before the Ban Florida Keys Public Libraries, Don Maria Collection, Flickr Knowing this, anyone sport fishing Florida Keys can expect the same kind of action whether targeting gag, snowy, black or even Warsaw.
A 6-foot piece of 100-pound mono leads to a circle hook, with the size depending on the bait. The Canal connects directly to Lake Rousseau (inland) and Withlacoochee Bay and the Gulf of Mexico.
Deep Sea Charter Fishing from Cape Coral and Fort Myers, Florida, with offshore permitted Professional Captain, Craig Best. The first and most experienced Gulf of Mexico deep drop offshore charter boat.
In the Gulf of Mexico, grouper anglers use magnum diving plugs that will go as deep as thirty feet or more. The Gulf has fairly calm water most of the year (except for our new 11-month recent hurricane season).
1) Fort DeSoto Park in south St. Petersburg leads the list on Florida’s left coast. Top Southwest Gulf Coast Fishing Charters & Tours: See reviews and photos of fishing charters & tours in Southwest Gulf Coast, Florida on TripAdvisor.
Crystal River, Florida offers the best fishing for grouper, without the long boat rides, that you will ever experience. We have been fishing Pulley ridge and beyond since 2007 Specializing in limited pass deepwater multi day trips.
The closest boat ramp is about half a mile away, with access to the Cross Florida Barge Canal. Along the gulf coast, anglers will be catching grouper, snapper, trigger fish, and amber jacks that fight hard and are delicious to eat.
Fish the deep waters of the Gulf of Mexico off Fort Myers Beach and Daniel Island for grouper, grunts, King and Spanish mackerel, cobra, amber jack, sharks and more! Renowned for prolific freshwater and saltwater fishing opportunities, Franklin County is every angler’s paradise.
The grouper were so thick and hungry, even I managed to catch a few, including this one, on a (way-too-light) little Obama Helios So spinning reel with 12-pound braided line. Gary Golden, Strike Zone, 27 Ocean Masters, Clearwater We all pretty much use an egg sinker with molded-in … There is an abundance of fishing locations along with untouched natural scenery in every inshore charter.
Exceptional tasting and hard fighting, grouper in Florida are most often found in deeper waters as these broad, heavyweights favor rocky bottoms, outcroppings and … First he's on the all new Andres Offshore 32 with Andres president Andy Eggebrecht, this is a sleek, purpose built sports craft, armed with all the electronic gadgets you could wish for and it soon gets them into an area teeming with a variety of big species. The grouper season in South Florida closes for four months on January 1, so time is running short to catch one of the hard-fighting, great-tasting fish.
Catching grouper, snapper, shook and triple tail, plus hunting hogs, on Florida’s unspoiled west coast. We’ve curated a list of some of our favorite Florida fishing spots to help you decide which place to check out next.
* Zero bag limit for captain and crew of for-hire vessels applies to gag, black, and red grouper only. So close that you giggle as a pod of dolphins plays in your bow wave in the Indian River Lagoon, near Stuart, Sebastian or Titusville.
The Forgotten Coast is home to an array of experienced captains who can take you out on a guided offshore fishing charter. Gulf Coast RV Resort is located in Levy County, with access to waters in the North Central region, among others.
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