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 toucan 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.
Toucan 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.
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.
Grouper are well known for putting up a good fight, while also being one of the better tasting fish youcancatch. Usually they have a large body and mouth and can come in a variety of different colors depending on the specific kind of grouper.
In terms of size grouper can commonly be well over 3 feet in length and weigh upwards of 200lbs. Grouper are a saltwater fish that are commonly targeted in the southern regions of the United States and parts of South America.
In the autumn grouper tend to stay in deeper waters until the weather starts to cool down in the late season. When the weather cools they will move to waters ranging from 50 to 100 feet deep.
In the winter months, grouper will move close inshore or just offshore. Toucan find them in estuaries near shipping channels or near shallow reefs.
In the summer grouper continue their migration into deeper cooler waters. The colder winter months are a good time to catch them because they are closer to shore, however, feeding activity can be high during spring, which makes that a good opportunity to catch them as well.
When the grouper are closer to shore, spinning rods are a good choice. Stick with a heavy fast action rod around 6 to 7 feet in length.
The best ones for catching grouper are made specifically for deep trolling over shallow reefs. These kinds of lures are versatile and can be fished in a wide variety of different settings.
Though toucan also use chunks of dead bait productively when targeting grouper. Sardines are considered most effective by many anglers, but toucan also use squid, pinkish, mullet, and other small fish.
This is why you need to fish near coral ledges, rock piles, and other structure where they will likely be hiding in. Just because the cold weather is bearing down, there’s no need to take a break from setting the hook!.
These large fish are typically caught in the two to 12-pound range, though they can be found up to 20-30 pounds. Toucan find them along the East Coast of the Americas from Brazil through the Caribbean and the Gulf of Mexico to as far north as New England.
Juvenile fish take shelter on the inshore glass flats and shoals until they mature. During most of the year, mature gag grouper like to hide around any type of structure that can give them shelter.
They can be found in ledges and holes and love to populate offshore reefs and shipwrecks. As winter approaches, a massive migration of gags head for the warmer protection of the inner shores, especially within the Gulf of Mexico, to spawn.
During the late fall and early winter, they’ll show up a few miles off the shoreline along with Spanish mackerel, king fish, speckled trout, blacktop and spinner sharks that are chasing the schools of bunker and herring close to the beaches. Many anglers catch lots of gags on spinning and plug tackle, but live bait tends to be the best option.
By law, you ’re required to use a circle hook when bottom fishing in much of Florida’s cost, including the Gulf of Mexico. When hooked, these are very powerful fish that want nothing more than to run back into a hole or ledge and take you with them.
You ’ll need to have heavy gear with you to prevent the fish from taking your line. Most anglers crank the drag on their reel down all the way to prevent the fish from reaching a hole.
This is where the grouper will run into a hole or under a ledge and spread its gills locking itself in place. Keep your rod held low so toucan immediately lift it as soon as the fish strikes, turning it away from the rocks.
Start to cautiously reel in all slack to the point that your rod is low to the water and tight to the fish. I am currently on the field staff team for Penn Reels from Pure Fishing.
In the past I’ve had sponsorships from Died, Bull buster, Eagle Claw, and I’m currently helping promote Mons ta fishing apparel. 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.
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.
It maintains a WoW add-on called the Towhead Looter, which collects data as you play the game! And when you do go, these 7 tips will help you know where to go, what gear to bring, and the know-how to catch big grouper.
Grouper are found in abundance in the Gulf of Mexico, along the Atlantic Coast, and throughout the Caribbean, providing anglers with a wealth of opportunities to catch one of the tastiest fish in the sea. In the summer, as nearshore water temperatures rise, grouper relocate to deeper dwellings offshore.
Shipwrecks, oil rigs, and offshore reefs are where you'll want to focus your efforts when fishing for grouper in the summer. They are classic ambush predators, spending most of their time holed up in heavy structure waiting for smaller fish to swim by.
To have the most success when fishing for grouper, your boat electronics need to be powerful enough to key into the structure you seek. Shipwrecks are the most notorious grouper hideouts, and fishing these tangled-up messes of debris requires accurate depth readings, patience, and the understanding that you'll probably lose some tackle.
To catch big, heavy, powerful fish, your gear better be up to the task. There are times when artificial lures work great for catching grouper, but you'll have more success if you show up prepared with the freshest live bait toucan find.
Goggle-eyes, pilchards, blue runners, and grunts all make excellent live bait for grouper. Grouper spend most of their time on the bottom, so that's where you'll want to send your baited hook.
Vertical jigging with live bait is a very popular technique for catching big grouper, simply because it works. A struggling bait fish bouncing up and down at the bottom of a shipwreck is irresistible to an opportunistic grouper.
Slide the hook point underneath the twisted rubber band. No matter what kind of rig you're using to catch grouper, you'll have the most success with circle hooks.
How you handle the first few seconds of a grouper fight often determines whether you land the fish or get cut off by structure. When a grouper takes your bait, as soon as it feels the pressure of your line, it will run straight back to the safety of structure as fast as possible.
And if you hook into a huge fish, it'll do whatever it pleases unless you take charge of the fight. Reel and pump as fast as toucan in the first few moments of the fight and try to get the fish to come up.