There are two stocks of black grouper : Gulf of Mexico /South Atlantic and Caribbean. The groupers complex is not subject to overfishing based on 2019 catch data.
They also have teeth plates inside their throat that prevent prey from escaping after being swallowed. They are particularly associated with the southern Gulf of Mexico, Florida Keys, Cuba, the Bahamas, and throughout the Caribbean.
Both the commercial and recreational fisheries have size limits to reduce harvest of immature black grouper. The commercial and recreational fishing seasons are closed from January through April to protect black grouper during their peak spawning period.
To reduce by catch, there are restrictions on the type of gear fishermen may use and where they can fish. Year-round and/or seasonal area closures for commercial and recreational sectors to protect spawning groupers.
Groupers are managed separately by commercial and recreational sector in Puerto Rico. Seasonal closure for black, red, tiger, yellow fin, and yellow edge groupers from February 1 through April 30.
Additionally, an eastern Gulf reef fish bottom longline endorsement required to use bottom longline for Gulf reef fish in the federal waters east of 85°30 longitude. Gear Non-stainless steel circle hooks are required when fishing with natural baits.
The recreational sector for SG, in or from the Gulf EEA, is closed each year from February 1 through March 31, in the portion of the Gulf EEA seaward of thumb lines connecting, in order, the points in the following table. During the closure, the bag and possession limit for SG in or from the Gulf EEA seaward of the following thumb lines is zero.
Black grouper is found in the western Atlantic from Massachusetts south to southern Brazil, including Bermuda, the Gulf of Mexico, Bahamas and Caribbean Sea. It has a protruding lower jaw and unlike gag, the bottom of the black grouper ’s cheek (properly) is gently rounded with no notch.
Black grouper lives offshore and prefers rocky bottoms and coral reefs. Juveniles inhabit inshore areas in seagrass beds and mangroves.
Spawning occurs during winter months from November to May but varies by region. As protogynous hermaphrodites, black grouper start as female and most transition to male around 15.5 years.
Obama, S., B. Eris man, W. Haman, C. Biggs, N. Farmer, S. Lowerre-Barbieri, M. Karnataka, and J. Brenner. Cooperative monitoring program for spawning aggregations in the Gulf of Mexico : data portal.
Sedan 48 Southeastern U.S. Black Grouper : Data Workshop Report, 2017 Farmer, N.A., Malinowski, R.P., McGovern, M.F. Constant relative age and size at sex change for sequentially hermaphroditic fish.
Gulf grouper are large fish that live in shallow, coastal areas during their first 2 years of their life, before moving on to rocky reefs and kelp beds. Gulf grouper used to be very common in the eastern Pacific Ocean, but they became scarce because commercial and recreational fisherman could easily catch them.
Their abundance has severely declined since the mid-20th century primarily because of direct harvest by commercial and artisanal fisheries. In the Gulf of California, gulf grouper were once abundant and represented approximately 45 percent of the artisanal fishery in 1960.
Outside a known population in Bahia Magdalena, there is no published evidence of gulf grouper along the Pacific coast of the Baja California peninsula. They are naturally rare north of Bahia Magdalena in southern Baja California.
Gulf grouper are also likely protogynous hermaphroditic, which means that they mature as females and later transition into males. They gather at reefs and underwater mountains and form spawning aggregations from April to June.
Activities that may degrade their habitat include the release of contaminants, such as urban runoff, wastewater, or oil and gas spills. Pollution can also reduce the amount of oxygen in the water or deliver chemicals that are toxic to these fish.
Physical barriers, such as shoreline and offshore development can also threaten gulf grouper by limiting their access to important breeding or feeding areas. Overfishing Direct harvest of gulf grouper, especially at spawning aggregation sites, is the biggest threat to the species.
First, adult gulf grouper gather in large groups at the same time every year to reproduce. This means that there are fewer male groupers left in the oceans, which makes reproduction more difficult.
Even if these fisherman release grouper, they can still die from the injuries or stress caused by their capture. Like most grouper species, Mycteroperca Monaco, or black grouper, really doesn’t disappoint the hard core angler.
Even the small ones, at 20-30 pounds can put up a physically draining fight, being known for their short, high torque runs. That’s quite substantial, considering they’re some of the hardest fighting bottom fish in the South Atlantic and Gulf of Mexico.
Many species of grouper consider the Atlantic Ocean and Gulf of Mexico home, and the black grouper is no exception. These guys tend to hang out around offshore wrecks, ledges, reefs, and other structure.
If you’re looking for larger ones, you’ll want to head for areas not frequented by other anglers, leaving the fish pressured with a chance to grow. They’re found on the bottom, but they don’t tend to be very finicky as to what depth to call home.
They tend to prefer the deeper waters during the warmer summer months, but they can be found pretty shallow in the winter and spring. Blue runners, cigar minnows, or any small grunts make good live bait choices.
These guys really pack a lot of punch, so anglers left unprepared will find themselves short a leader… or four. You’ll want to grab a shorter heavy action, stout rod rated for 50 to 80-pound test.
Larger circle hooks work well for these guys since they’re less likely to snag bottom. Dead bait fishing gets a little trickier, employing the use of a hi-lo dropper rig with a 230-pound barrel swivel and a four-foot section of 100-pound fluorocarbon leader, with three dropper loops tied at 16-inch intervals and a 16 to 32-ounce bank sinker looped on at the end by an overhand knot.
Your heavier line, coupled with tight drag are instrumental in making sure you can muscle these fighters away from the structure. Unlike many other grouper, the black grouper isn’t likely to hit the bait again for some time once it’s bit.
Once they strike, they make a fast, mad dash back to the nearest hole, often before you even get a chance to react. Give a couple of quick cranks to turn his head up and prevent him from dogging back down into the structure.
In the past I’ve had sponsorships from Died, Bull buster, Eagle Claw, and I’m currently helping promote Mons ta fishing apparel. I am also an avid tournament angler in many kayak divisions as well as offshore species.