A great deal of changes takes place when you approach triple digit mile distances offshore. Help isn’t readily available, long range communication can be difficult and if any mechanical issues arise, you have better be self-reliant.
A large 100-mile wide shallow flat slowly tapers out as it meets the ridge line far west into the gulf. I’ve often laid awake in bed, imagining the boxes being filled with trophy fish pulled from the depths of the fabled grounds.
One to two days before a planned trip, we will head out and fill all the wells with sand perch, pinkish, grunts and spot tails. I prefer conventional and heavy spinning reels from Shaman paired on Sewell Custom Offshore Rods.
Although elephants eat peanuts, frisky, over-sized bait fish can work wonders when presented properly. These heavily weighted soft baits were dynamite on grouper while drifting over live bottom areas.
Owner of The Intrepid Angler, Captain Ross hails from the historic waters along the Caloosahatchee River. He now permanently resides in Cape Coral offering anglers exciting opportunities to target trophy game fish around Southwest Florida on a custom Pathfinder 2500 Hybrid Bay Boat.
The fish, identified as a Goliath grouper, took the smaller shark near the town of Bonita Springs. NOAA Fisheries issued the final rule requiring descending devices to be rigged and ready for use onboard all vessels fishing for or possessing snapper- grouper species in South Atlantic federal waters.
The American Sport fishing Association and CCA led by example educating the angling public through their programs Fishman Conservation Project and Releases, respectively. “Requiring best fishing practices and descending devices is good conservation and responsible management of our natural resources,” said Kellie Alston, southeast fisheries' policy director for the American Sport fishing Association.
“Today’s decision requiring descending devices for a key sport fish population is a major victory for the conservation community, which has long advocated for this exact policy,” said Nicole Vasileios, senior vice president of government and legal affairs for the National Marine Manufacturers Association. Furthermore, all hooks are required to be non-stainless steel when fishing for snapper- grouper species with hook-and-line gear and natural baits throughout South Atlantic federal waters.
The recreational fishing community stands ready to work with the SFMC, NOAA Fisheries and anglers in the implementation of these important conservation measures. While many restaurants feature fish and chips made from fresh cod, for this classic fish fry I choose a tasty reversal that resides along the deepest ledges of The Bahamas and extreme South Florida.
The tender, flaky white meat of mystic grouper is regarded among many culinary artists as the premiere deep water fish and its thick fillets make for the perfect deep-fried dish. The key to culinary success is cold batter, hot oil and fresh fish.
Grouper fillets 1/4 cup corn starch 1/2 pint Guinness 1/2 cup baking powder 2 ears of corn 1 1/2 cup all-purpose vinegar 2 tablespoons sugar apple, sliced cabbage, sliced 2 tablespoons mayonnaise celery seed sea salt fresh ground black pepper capers, minced garlic, diced pickle parsley fresh lemon juice If your batter is too thick, add ice water until you’ve achieved the desired consistency.
Tartar Sauce Blend mayonnaise, capers, pickles, parsley, lemon juice, and salt & pepper. Method Heat canola oil in deep fryer until temperature reaches 350° Fahrenheit.
Dredge fillets in beer batter and cook for approximately two-minutes per side or until you’ve achieved a golden brown hue. To plate arrange ½ ear of grilled corn, parsley, tartar sauce, coleslaw and fish around center of deep serving dish.
It is found in Anguilla, Antigua and Barbuda, Aruba, the Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Bermuda, Brazil, Cayman Islands, Colombia, Costa Rica, Cuba, Dominica, the Dominican Republic, French Guiana, Grenada, Guadeloupe, Guatemala, Guyana, Haiti, Honduras, Jamaica, Martinique, Mexico, Montserrat, Netherlands Antilles, Nicaragua, Panama, Puerto Rico, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Suriname, Trinidad and Tobago, Turks and Pieces Islands, the United States, Venezuela, the British Virgin Islands, and the U.S. Virgin Islands. Its natural habitats are 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.
The diet is varied but commonly includes Jutland and spared fishes, mantid and portend crabs, spiny lobster, and snapping shrimp. Red grouper are unique in the fact that they are protogynous hermaphrodites, beginning life as females, with some later transforming into males.
Red grouper are easily recognized by their color and by the sloped, straight line of their spiny dorsal fin. Red groupers usually ambush their prey and swallow it hole, preferring crabs, shrimp, lobster, octopus, squid and fish that live close to reefs.
This past week I have fished from South Biscayne Bay Flamingo and Ft Lauderdale area. These large fish are typically caught in the two to 12-pound range, though they can be found up to 20-30 pounds.
You can 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 you can 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.
Offshore Wreck Fishing for Sharks, Cobra, Snapper. Fishing has remained good with Pompano showing up and Mackerel and Bluefish also.
Jigs tipped with Shrimp seem to work best for catching volume. This could be anything from the shipping channels inside the bay to rock piles and ledges in the gulf.
What you may not know is that many anglers are hauling up this highly desirable big game fish right just outside the waters of Lands End Marina in the bay. They might take up residence around a small rock, it could be a ledge, or along the vertical wall of a shipping channel.
Newcomers or anglers hoping to land fish should look for grouper hiding around any of these types of bottom that provide cover. Use the current or wind to drop your anchor away from where you're fishing and swing back to the spot.
Sometimes adjusting your spot by letting out anchor rope or hauling it in can make a huge difference in catching fish. Use enough weight to get down and hold, a 2 to 8 ounce sinkers on a 2- to 3-foot heavy monofilament or fluorocarbon leader will reduce break offs.
Remember to use circle hooks when bottom fishing to stay compliant with the law. Trolling is one of the most popular ways to catch grouper in the area due to the many shipping channels that Kris cross the bay.