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Can Red Grouper Florida

author
Elaine Sutton
• Friday, 01 January, 2021
• 7 min read

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.

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Contents

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. 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.

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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.

Prefer water temperatures between 66 and 77 degrees F. Like many other grouper, red grouper undergo a sex reversal, young individual females becoming males as they age. Red grouper are easily recognized by their color and by the sloped, straight line of their spiny dorsal fin.

The red grouper is most closely related to the Nassau grouper, Epimetheus stratus, which has several vertical bars and blotches and is found more commonly on coral reefs in the West Indies. Red grouper are distributed from North Carolina to Brazil, including the Gulf of Mexico and the Caribbean.

The species is most abundant along Florida's east and west coasts, and throughout the Gulf of Mexico. It inhabits ledges, crevices, and caverns of rocky limestone reefs and lower-profile, live-bottom areas in waters 10 to 40 feet deep.

The red grouper is a protogynous hermaphrodite and females are capable of reproducing at 4 years of age. Females usually release an average of 1.5 million pelagic eggs that remain at the surface for 30-40 days before settling to the bottom.

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The maximum age of red grouper is 25 years, with older fish reaching a size of 32.5 inches and 25 pounds. Red grouper usually ambush their prey and swallow it hole, preferring crabs, shrimp, lobster, octopus, squid and fish that live close to reefs.

Open Season: June 1 – December 31 Note: since this species is managed under an Annual Catch Limit, the fishery could close if the recreational Annual Catch Limit is met or projected to be met. Annual Shallow-Water Grouper Spawning Season Closure: January 1 – April 30, except for Red Grouper in federal waters off the coasts of North Carolina and South Carolina, which remain closed through May 31.

The following regulations apply to Regrouped in federal waters (3-200 nautical miles) off the coasts of Georgia and East Florida. Open Season: May 1 – December 31 Note: since this species is managed under an Annual Catch Limit, the fishery could close if the recreational Annual Catch Limit is met or projected to be met.

Annual Shallow-Water Grouper Spawning Season Closure: January 1 – April 30, except for Red Grouper in federal waters off the coasts of North Carolina and South Carolina, which remain closed through May 31. Recreational and commercial fishermen are required to use hooking tools when fishing for snapper grouper species.

At least one hooking device is required and must be used as needed to remove hooks embedded in South Atlantic snapper- grouper with minimum damage. Since minimizing surface time is critical to increasing survival, descending devices shall be readily available for use while engaged in fishing.

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Open Season: June 1 – December 31 Note: since this species is managed under an Annual Catch Limit, the fishery could close if the commercial Annual Catch Limit is met or projected to be met. Annual Shallow-Water Grouper Spawning Season Closure: January 1 – April 30, except for Red Grouper in federal waters off North Carolina and South Carolina, which remain closed through May 31.

The following regulations apply to Regrouped in federal waters (3-200 nautical miles) off the coasts of Georgia and East Florida. Open Season: May 1 – December 31 Note: since this species is managed under an Annual Catch Limit, the fishery could close if the commercial Annual Catch Limit is met or projected to be met.

Recreational and commercial fishermen are required to use hooking tools when fishing for snapper grouper species. At least one hooking device is required and must be used as needed to remove hooks embedded in South Atlantic snapper- grouper with minimum damage.

Since minimizing surface time is critical to increasing survival, descending devices shall be readily available for use while engaged in fishing. The use of non-stainless steel hooks when fishing for snapper- grouper species with hook-and-line gear and natural baits south of 28º north latitude.

This prohibition does not apply to fish harvested, landed, and sold prior to the annual catch limit being reached and held in cold storage by a dealer. From monster Goliath's to delicious Scamps, these big bottom-dwellers are a favorite on most Floridian fishing trips.

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The average catch in Florida is around half that length, weighing between 5 and 20 pounds. Black Grouper live around rocky bottoms and reefs on both sides of the Sunshine State.

They spend their summers spawning in much shallower seas, though, as little as 30 feet deep. Juveniles stick to these inshore spots until they’re big enough to fend for themselves.

Commonly known as “Grey Grouper,” these guys are a staple of reef fishing trips around the Gulf and up the Atlantic. They don’t grow as big as Black Grouper, usually maxing out somewhere around 50 pounds.

However, younger Gags can be found in estuaries and even seagrass beds, so don’t be surprised if you hook one while you’re on the hunt for Redfish and other inshore species. Bigger fish hunt around muddy and rocky coastal waters.

Young Goliath's will head right into estuaries and look for food around oyster bars. Their huge size and fearless curiosity made them an easy target, and they were overfished almost to extinction in the late 20th century.

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Luckily, Goliath Grouper are strictly protected these days, and you can only fish for them on a catch-and-release basis. From teaming up with other predators to catch their dinner to reportedly fanning bait out of traps for an easy snack, they’re far brighter than most people give them credit for.

Sadly, this intelligence comes with the same natural curiosity that put Goliath Grouper in hot water. Nassau Grouper are critically endangered, and their numbers are still falling.

If you come across one, count yourself lucky for the chance to meet it and make sure it swims off unharmed. Nothing says “reef fishing in Florida like a boastful of big, tasty Regrouped.

These deep-water hunters are the reason people bother to go offshore when there are so many fish in the shallows. The average Regrouped weighs somewhere in the 5–10 lb range, and anything over 2 feet long is a rare catch.

According to most people who have caught them, Scamp are the tastiest fish in the family. Your average fish will be well under 2 feet and anything over 5 pounds is a good catch.

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You won’t come across them in much less than 100 feet of water, and you can easily find them in three or four times that depth. They also grow much bigger than Scamp, meaning you’re in for a real feast if you catch one.

They’re one of the easiest deep-water fish to identify, even though catching one is pretty rare. NOAA has declared Speckled Hind a Species of Concern, mainly because they have so little data on them.

If Goliath Grouper are the kings of the shallows, these guys dominate the deep. Add in the fact that they live several hundred feet down, where all fish taste great, and they become the dream catch of many deep dropping enthusiasts.

Their dappled, red body and bright yellow fins provide camouflage around the deep, rocky structure that they hunt around. Yellow fin’s scientific name, Mycteroperca Vanessa, roughly translates to “Poisonous Grouper.” This is because they tend to have very high levels of ciguatoxin.

They’re slightly smaller than Scamp on average, but many anglers say that they taste just as good. Yellow mouth Grouper are uncommon in the Gulf of Mexico, but you can bag yourself a colorful feast all along Florida ’s Atlantic Coast.

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Sources
1 vortexrecipes.com - https://vortexrecipes.com/vortex-air-fryer-parmesan-crusted-grouper/
2 www.allrecipes.com - https://www.allrecipes.com/recipe/260624/air-fried-crumbed-fish/
3 www.tasteofhome.com - https://www.tasteofhome.com/recipes/air-fryer-ravioli/
4 thatfrugalfoodie.com - https://thatfrugalfoodie.com/recipe/grouper-dogs-air-fried-fish-sandwich/
5 forktospoon.com - https://forktospoon.com/air-fryer-air-fried-coconut-crusted-tilapia/
6 www.southernliving.com - https://www.southernliving.com/dish/air-fryer-recipes
7 temeculablogs.com - https://temeculablogs.com/category/recipes/air-fryer-recipes/
8 www.cnet.com - https://www.cnet.com/how-to/15-unexpected-air-fryer-recipes-you-have-to-try/
9 fluffyskitchen.com - http://fluffyskitchen.com/23-simple-air-fryer-recipes-for-beginners/