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Can You Red Grouper Use

author
Brent Mccoy
• Monday, 16 November, 2020
• 7 min read

Red grouper are beautiful fish that can weight very heavy on the hook, even when caught in smaller sizes. They’re tough predators, can put quite a fight and can provide the angler with a lot of thrills.

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Contents

They prefer muddy and rocky bottoms, but can be caught in a variety of habitats such as open seas, shallow seas, subtidal aquatic beds, coral reefs, rocky shores, sandy shores, estuaries waters, intertidal flats, intertidal marshes, coastal saline lagoons, coastal freshwater lagoons, and karts. In colder months they move back inshore, and sometimes toucan get big ones in water as shallow as 20 ft.

Like most predator fish that feed close to the bottom, when a red grouper grabs the bait and feels resistance, it will try to run to the nearest hiding place. Don’t let them do that, and the first thing to do after hooking one is crank the reel and lift the rod up as much as toucan.

However, they are also interested in lures, and catching them with jigs and jerk baits in shallower water can be very entertaining. A red grouper will basically gulp any fish passing by, if it looks appetizing and it can fit in its mouth.

Make sure though that you hook them by the dorsal fin or their lower jaw, to live longer. Cutting bigger bait fish in half at a 45° angle seems to have quite a great effect on the presentation, resulting in more bites.

Some lures to try out are Your Minnows, Mirror Deep Divers (red, orange and black silver), Salas Jigs in Green / Blue Sardine, or squid imitating jigs such as the ones from Charities. Shakespeare makes quite a few Ugly Sticks for this purpose, with an OK price / quality ratio.

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So, equip your rod with a 4/0 Penn Senator or Abu Garcia Seascape bait casting reel. It’s always best to go with braided line for groupers, because it gives you a better control of the fish right away, as it doesn’t stretch.

Depending on the bait used, depth and fish size targeted, your line can be between 40-60lb. Since groupers in general, have a big mouth, sizeable circle hooks are the best for these fish.

Although some populations are below target levels, U.S. wild-caught red grouper is still a smart seafood choice because it is sustainably managed and responsibly harvested under U.S. regulations. Fishing gear used to catch red grouper rarely contacts the ocean bottom and has minimal impacts on habitat.

They engulf prey whole by opening their large mouths, dilating their gill covers, rapidly drawing in a current of water, and inhaling the food. Large sharks and carnivorous marine mammals prey on adult red grouper.

Red grouper are found in the western Atlantic Ocean from Massachusetts through the Gulf of Mexico and south to Brazil. Annual catch limits are used for red grouper in the commercial and recreational fisheries.

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These fisheries are closed when their annual catch limit is projected to be met. Both the commercial and recreational fisheries have size limits to reduce harvest of immature red grouper.

The commercial and recreational fishing seasons are closed from January through April to protect red grouper during their peak spawning period. Minimum size limits protect immature red grouper.

Year-round and/or seasonal area closures for commercial and recreational sectors to protect spawning groupers. 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.

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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.

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.

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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.

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.

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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. 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. 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.

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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. Honestly, that’s why there are regulations in place, so that this incredible species is not overfished and the population stays healthy.

Other Articles You Might Be Interested In

01: Goliath Grouper Adaptations
02: Goliath Grouper Age
03: Goliath Grouper Aggregation
04: Goliath Grouper Aquarium
05: Goliath Grouper Are They Dangerous
06: Goliath Grouper Attack
07: Goliath Grouper Attacks On Humans
08: Goliath Grouper Attacks Shark
09: Goliath Grouper Australia
10: Goliath Grouper Average Size
Sources
1 en.wikipedia.org - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Atlantic_goliath_grouper
2 www.floridamuseum.ufl.edu - https://www.floridamuseum.ufl.edu/discover-fish/species-profiles/epinephelus-itajara/
3 myfwc.com - https://myfwc.com/fishing/saltwater/recreational/goliath/