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Can You Catch Grouper In Florida

author
Paul Gonzalez
• Thursday, 15 October, 2020
• 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 toucan harvest from each shoreline. The Gulf of Mexico is a unique body of water that provides commercial and recreational anglers plenty of fishing opportunities.

grouper florida catch keys
(Source: www.youtube.com)

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 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.

grouper broomtail catch caught panama mariato fish fishing places bass any howtocatchanyfish
(Source: www.howtocatchanyfish.com)

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.

On August 26th, Joshua Anyzeski caught the prohibited species, removing it from the water to take a picture. The picture circulated on social media, which tipped off officers with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.

The Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council would like to gain a better understanding of what’s happening on the water. All anglers on the Atlantic and Gulf coasts of Florida who intend to fish for or harvest certain reef fish from a private vessel are required to obtain the State Reef Fish Angler designation.

Those with a Gulf Reef Fish Angler designation will meet the statewide requirement until the Gulf designation expires, even if you are fishing on the Atlantic coast. Gulf state waters are from shore to 9 nautical miles.

Atlantic state waters are from shore to 3 nautical miles. Participation mandatory to fish for grouper in Florida waters.

grouper florida types warsaw
(Source: fishingbooker.com)

Expand All | Collapse All 1 gag or black within the 3 grouper aggregate Note: In the Atlantic reef fish fishery, gear rules require hooking tools, and as of Jan. 1, 2021, non-stainless steel hooks in all state waters, and non-offset circle hooks N. of 28 ° N. latitude.

Several species of Gulf grouper (red, black, scamp, yellow fin and yellow mouth) are closed Feb. 1-March 31 seaward of the 20-fathom break. Recreational anglers are encouraged to use electronic charting equipment to plot the 20-fathom break by entering the established coordinates listed on the map below into a route.

Monroe County: Several species of Atlantic grouper (red, black, yellow fin, yellow mouth, scamp, rock hind, red hind, Coney and grays by) are closed Jan. 1 – April 30 in all state and federal waters of the Atlantic including all state waters off Monroe County (Atlantic and Gulf sides). During this closure, anglers can harvest grouper in open federal waters of the Gulf and return to port in Monroe County by traveling through closed state waters of the Atlantic as long as the vessel proceeds directly to port without stopping to fish.

Western boundary of the 4-county gag grouper recreational harvest region. Eastern boundary of the 4-county gag grouper recreational harvest region.

Reading Time: 7minutesGroupers are some of Florida ’s most iconic fish species. From monster Goliath's to delicious Scamps, these big bottom-dwellers are a favorite on most Floridian fishing trips.

grouper goliath caught record kayak florida
(Source: www.pinterest.com)

In this article, toucan learn all about the different types of Grouper in Florida. 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.

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.

grouper fishing catch rod theonlinefisherman
(Source: www.pinterest.com)

Luckily, Goliath Grouper are strictly protected these days, and toucan 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. 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 Red Grouper. These deep-water hunters are the reason people bother to go offshore when there are so many fish in the shallows.

The average Red Grouper 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.

You won’t come across them in much less than 100 feet of water, and toucan 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.

grouper goliath catch
(Source: floridafishingshow.com)

If you ’re set on landing a “Snowier,” get ready for a long ride. Speckled Hind usually live 200–400 feet down around rocky bottom.

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 toucan bag yourself a colorful feast all along Florida ’s Atlantic Coast.

grouper goliath catch fishing
(Source: www.howtocatchanyfish.com)

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Sources
1 www.yummly.com - https://www.yummly.com/recipes/grilled-marinated-grouper
2 www.myrecipes.com - https://www.myrecipes.com/recipe/pan-seared-grouper-balsamic-brown-butter-sauce
3 www.cooks.com - https://www.cooks.com/recipe/1y5zr27w/grilled-marinated-grouper.html
4 www.tampabaycharter.com - https://www.tampabaycharter.com/fish-species/red-grouper/
5 www.homeandplate.com - https://www.homeandplate.com/blog/cast-iron-blackened-grouper/
6 capersincooking.com - https://capersincooking.com/