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Best Grouper Lures

author
Bob Roberts
• Monday, 21 December, 2020
• 19 min read

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.

grouper lures rigs baits florida 8k
(Source: forums.floridasportsman.com)

Contents

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.

That is because they are predators that love the chase and catch the action of a fish in the water. 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.

grouper lures trolling plug rap rapala deadly reefs around fishcrack bait water ledges shallow
(Source: www.fishcrack.com)

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.

With one of the above grouper lures, you will be sure to catch a great tasting fish on your next outdoor adventure. 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.

rapala grouper lures trolling plug rap reefs deadly around fishcrack ledges
(Source: www.fishcrack.com)

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.

grouper lures trolling plug rapala rap reefs deadly around fishcrack ledges
(Source: www.fishcrack.com)

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. Some grouper grow to over 500 lbs, and can often be caught with a simple hook and sinker style rig.

By the end of this article, you’ll be extra prepared for your next grouper fishing trip. As with most predatory fish, using live bait for grouper will be your best bet as long as local regulations allow.

trolling grouper rapala lures rap plug deadly reefs around fishcrack ledges
(Source: www.fishcrack.com)

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.

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.

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.

lures grouper fishing three depth trolling catch way reel choose
(Source: www.reelfishingguru.com)

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.

There are quite a few other species of grouper that are found in deeper waters and throughout the Bahamas and other locations. 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.

game lure trolling mirrolure grouper series lures deep fishing bait rod saltwater fish catching clothing tackle thelongfin tools
(Source: www.shopmirrolure.com)

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.

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.

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.

grouper tuna amberjack topwater lure saltwater popper bait game lures fishing wood
(Source: www.aliexpress.com)

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.

fishing grouper bait bottom rigs rig saltwater carolina fish lures sea bass water baits hook fun crappie tips well ways
(Source: www.tortugasfishing.com)

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.

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.

lures reef shallow grouper rapala fishing casting fish killer deep rap catching mj fishonmag
(Source: www.fishonmag.com)

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.

bait fishing grouper amberjacks
(Source: www.youtube.com)

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.

grouper fishing tail paddle pro nearshore hogy swimbait angler reports fell techniques fall desktop hd offshore custom wallpapers
(Source: theintrepidangler.com)

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. Sand perch are also great baits for grouper.

Cut pieces of squid can also be great bait. Some popular bigger fish to use as bait are large mullet and jack crevasse.

A lot depends upon time of year, where you are fishing, water depth, Deep-sea fish provide a very challenging fight for the beginner and advanced fisher alike.

For example, groupers may be found near docks, fishing buildings, or other areas that provide a great place to hide. Just as important, fishers need to understand that the grouper does have an aggressive streak when presented with bait and lures that catch its attention.

grouper fishing rod shimano telescopic eclipse spotted orange mini reel glen adventures tackle 4kg
(Source: glensfishingadventures.blogspot.com)

The higher the poundage on the line, the heavier the fish a person can catch, so aim high when going for groupers. A large, live bait sunk to the bottom of the ocean probably results in the most success with the grouper.

If going for artificial lures, try to find jerk baits that emulate the look and feel of an injured fish. When reeling in the line, let the lure more in erratic and jerking actions to attract the grouper's attention.

Map out the location using appropriate nautical charts and seek out deep water with thick rock groupings littering the bottom of the ocean bed. These ledges typically hang over fairly rocky areas and provide excellent shade and protection for the mysterious and often quite aloof and grumpy grouper.

Anyone trying to catch a grouper should hire a professional to not only get them out on the water safely, but to also provide even better tips for fishing. It’s a true test of patience and persistence, even if you’re a seasoned professional.

Saltwater fish species like drum and sleepyhead both feed on crustaceans. Many saltwater game fish, including dolphin and greater amber jack, love squid and octopus.

grouper lure fishing boating snapper gags hogfish limit had well easy hull truth
(Source: www.thehulltruth.com)

Simply cut the squid into strips or the octopus into chunks for bait, or use smaller ones whole. 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.

grouper jigging tomorrow nov nc fishing offshore
(Source: www.thebassbarn.com)

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.

The season runs until December 31, and each angler can collect one or the other each trip within the 3 grouper aggregate. Honestly, that’s why there are regulations in place, so that this incredible species is not overfished and the population stays healthy.

Big buck tail deep jig tipped with squid or goggle eye . Followed by diamond jig ... then flat fall, bent hos/vortex. But a lot of this can be answered in depth by using the search button here.

Can’t beat a glow buck tail but I prefer to put Gulp on mine. Have caught well with Mr Twister tails in glow, as well.

grouper trolling florida zwy
(Source: www.youtube.com)

Squid when you want a bigger profile. Haven’t done much of it to confirm this is best but live bait would entice them as well.

The Biggest gag came on one tipped with a nice size live bait. All the fancy paint jobbed new creations can’t compete with good ole buck tail.

Pro type jigs in white work well but the hooks are a bit weak. A very old timer once said to use just a round white jig head with a hook embedded, no tinsel, Mylar or furry skirt.

My experience is that it works as good or better than a Carolina rig here in north Go, especially in the Big Bend area. Also had luck with the Lucas style jigs.

I use them for a sinker when fishing dropper rigs and catch fish on them especially when something is spanning on the dropper rig. I have jigged Grouper, As, AJ and even big Triggers on these.

grouper fishing gag jigs ring snapper oz assist dacron sharp hook strong ultra solid short super
(Source: www.tormentertackle.com)

View attachment 75385 10OZ Lucas STYLE VERTICAL GLOW JIGS W/ SQUID SKIRTS I use them for a sinker when fishing dropper rigs and catch fish on them especially when something is spanning on the dropper rig.

We would sometimes insert a skinny bait fish inside the body of a squid and hook the head of the fish wearing the squid coat. I lost two big fish due to someone else's knots but my 12/0 electorate may have been overkill.

I have been wanting to drop a live bait straight down while drifting with no weight. Mark your bottom depth somehow on your line (and I haunt figure out this yet) maybe a rock or something you can quickly release (rubber band) and hold that meal just off the bottom, darting around.

I have been wanting to drop a live bait straight down while drifting with no weight. Mark your bottom depth somehow on your line (and I haunt figure out this yet) maybe a rock or something you can quickly release (rubber band) and hold that meal just off the bottom, darting around.

Mark the distance off bottom with a rubber band to keep the bomber above it. Proper hook placement also helps encourage them to go down.

grouper fishing bait gag jig surefire tactics summer hook
(Source: miamifishing.com)

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Sources
1 www.allrecipes.com - https://www.allrecipes.com/recipe/19517/super-grouper/
2 www.allrecipes.com - https://www.allrecipes.com/recipe/132522/key-west-style-baked-grouper/
3 oureverydaylife.com - https://oureverydaylife.com/cook-grouper-oven-35621.html
4 www.gritsandpinecones.com - https://www.gritsandpinecones.com/easy-crispy-oven-baked-grouper/
5 www.gritsandpinecones.com - https://www.gritsandpinecones.com/easy-baked-parmesan-grouper-fillets/