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. They’re often caught using down riggers and keeping your trolling lure 10 to 15 feet off the bottom.
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. If your lure bounces off the bottom when you’re trolling over underwater structure, you’ll most likely snag and end up losing equipment.
While most groupers won’t be larger than 40 lbs, some grow to enormous sizes! 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.
Which grouper jig (s) have you tried and got good results? 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.
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. Big Pro buck tail or any vertical jigs that you bounce a few feet off the bottom.
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.
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.
I've never caught a decent grouper on a metal jig, but the guys I fish with whom have love the white Roscoe jig 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. It's more to entice a big grouper to come up and away from its zone.
That you will need lead but still off a large slip bomber or big jug. When you know your favorite spot is holding them, but they are being finicky on baits, jigging can often be the ticket producing a reaction based strike that triggers their predatory instinct.
Best places to jig for black, gag, red, and scamp grouper include hard bottom outcroppings, reefs, wrecks, oil rigs, and other structures that hold bait fish and provide hiding spots for ambushing their prey. The Shaman Saragossa 8000 and 10000, Died Saltiest 5000, and Penn Slammer SLAIII6500 are all more than capable if you are just getting started.
Black Hole Cape Cod Special 250g, Otis Fathom Blade 300g, and Shaman Arévalo 58XXH rods in both spinning and conventional models are all fantastic options that are super light weight with plenty of power and action to fool and whoop up on the best of them. If you are using a buck tail, you can simply attach directly to the jig and avoid the rest of the terminal tackle.
Otherwise, keep your jig at the bottom and reel in about 20-30’ towards the surface and then drop back down to stay in the strike zone longer. The higher you get in the water column also increases the probability of hooking amber jack aka Reef Donkeys, king mackerel, and more.
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.
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.
The diving birds and breaking fish finally moved within the 100-yard mark, and every angler sprang into action. I unleashed a Herculean cast with my 11-foot surf rod and listened to the line pour through the guides, carried by the weight of the lure.
Three turns into my retrieve, I hooked up, and a quick glance down the beach revealed that every angler using a metal lure was leaning back into a fish. Reaching distant fish, however, is not the only reason to stock up on metal lures, or “casting tins,” as they are often called by surf casters.
For years, I used metal lures for two reasons only: to reach out-of-range blitzes and to feed bluefish an offering they couldn’t destroy. The combination of heavy weight and relatively small size allows anglers to load up the rod and send the lures seaward with minimal wind resistance.
Metals can be worked in a variety of ways: bounced along the bottom, swum through the middle of the water column, even splashed across the surface as top waters. I’ve caught stripes, blues, fluke, weakfish, craters, cow- nose rays, false albacore and Spanish mackerel on metal lures cast from the beach.
Your local tackle shop probably has a whole wall devoted to metal lures, and the question of which to buy can be a bit confounding. Choosing a metal depends largely on the target species, the prevalent bait fish and the water conditions.
Sand-eel-imitating metals, like the Point Jude Power and the Ava Jig with tubing, are permanent fixtures in my plug bag. They will burrow into the sand, so occasionally dragging your metal along the bottom to send up a puff of debris might get the attention of any nearby bass.
When diving birds or spraying bait fish aren’t betraying the location of feeding fish, try casting these metals over sandbars and working them through the white water formed by breaking waves. Waves breaking over sandbars dislodge the skinny bait fish, and bass and blues wait in the deeper water at the edges of these bars for an easy meal.
Lures from 1 to 2 ounces will work under most conditions, but if the current is running hard or there is a strong onshore wind, bumping up to a 3-ounce metal could save the day. Given its small profile, this type of metal lure will sink quickly, so it requires a relatively fast retrieve if you want to keep it above the bottom.
I’ll add in the occasional stop to let the lure flutter to the bottom, and quite often the strikes will come as soon as I resume my retrieve. I’ll cast them along the edges of peanut bunker schools or next to jetties or rock piles that slow down the bait fish on their migration south.
In these situations, when soft-plastic lures, buck tails and even most plugs won’t reach the fish-holding water, I turn to “general purpose” metals. One early September morning, I walked along about a mile of sandy beach casting a Hopkins Shorty.
I made my way down the beach, casting indiscriminately, switching my retrieve from slow and steady to fast and erratic to bottom-bouncing. For example, 34- to 1-ounce Deadly Dicks and Swedish Pimples are outstanding false albacore and bonito lures, but I rarely, if ever, use them when these speedsters aren’t around.
In the spring, once the blues show up, it’s pretty much guaranteed that tackle shops will sell out of Crocodile spoons and Postmasters. Once the stripes begin gorging on sand eels in the late fall, finding Ava jigs in the right size can be a chore.
Metals make an excellent lure to “deliver” lightweight teasers to fish that are focused on small baits. In the fall, when bass, blues and allies key in on small bay anchovies or sand eels, fishing a teaser will sometimes be the only way to get a bite.
Which slow pitch jigs are good to use?” It seems to me that some people just think “slow pitch jigs are good.” and “I want to use them in my game.” Well, sometimes you have to know how to use each jig so that the piece of metal turns into a lively movement. They say that micro baits are the main prey for predatory fish.
So, the idea of micro jigging is simply to mimic what fish eats the most. So the size of the jig is the most important factor.
We can’t talk about micro jig without Tungsten metal. It’s difficult to process because it’s so hard that you need a diamond cutter.
Its specific gravity is 1.7 times greater than lead which other jigs are made of. Probably the most popular jig is Micro Flip by Gear-Lab.
I’ve just done it a couple of times at 30 m to 50 m of water from a free drifting boat. With PE1.5, it was harder to feel the touch down and it felt like it blew the jig up off the bottom faster.
PE1.5 catches more current which blows out more line slack, which, as a consequence, lifts the jig upward. It helps it swallowed well and doesn’t flip off bites.
I don’t think there’s a slow pitch jig that is smaller than 6 cm size. The key factor of micro jigging is Tungsten metal, I think.
Because of its specific gravity, the jig can be low profile for the weight. And because of that size and weight, it catches much less water resistance than lead.
But with a slow pitch jig as we know it, we need to use certain weight. Usually 1.5 or 2 times heavier than conventional jigs.
Heavy weight helps the jig fall against the current pushing the line, which tries to pull the jig upward. Heavy weight makes the rod bend deep and spring back, getting a nice slow pitch action going, while light weight would just bend the tip and that would lead to up-up-up fast pulling action.
(It may work OK, but then it doesn’t have to be an expensive slow pitch jig.) But if the jig is too heavy, it falls unlikely fast.
That is the most important sense that slow pitch jiggers need to refine. So, we are in the same physics of water, but micro jigging and slow pitch jigging have the total different approach to the fish.
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When surf fishing you need a lure that can withstand corrosion due to saltwater. It is designed to be cast long distances and features a fish-attracting darting action as it travels through water.
Cons Some anglers prefer a different style of lure over a crank bait for surf fishing The lures feature internal balls that are designed to enhance casting distance, have three sharp treble hooks, and feature lifelike vibrant colors and eyes to attract fish.
Pros Three sharp treble hooks Budget-friendly 5 lure packs Vibrant lifelike colors to attract fish If you’ve never tried this kind of bait we recommend you give the Dr. Fish Buck tail Jig Set a chance.
Cons Some anglers prefer other kinds of lures over buck tail baits for surf fishing These lures were designed for inshore fishing California waters, but have been proven to be effective in saltwater everywhere.
These lures measure approximately 7.3 and weight 4.5 ounces, making them great for large fish species. They have an internal balancing ball system which helps the lure travel over long distances.
These lures are made to imitate bait fish which makes them appealing to other larger fish. We always recommend every serious angler carry a good walk-the-dog lure and popper in their tackle bag.
The hard darting action of a good jerk bait is always effective in the saltwater. Properly fishing a jerk bait takes a little of experience to get a good darting action from your lure.