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.
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. To reduce by catch, there are restrictions on the type of gear fishermen may use and where they can fish.
Year-round and/or seasonal area closures for commercial and recreational sectors to protect spawning groupers. 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. 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 you can 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.
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.
If you want to catch red grouper with lures, best jerk baits and jigs are always a good call. 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. 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. Scientific Livestock Status RecreationalCommercialSeasonClosed February 1 through March 31 beyond 20 fathoms (120 ft or 36.6 m), Open in January and April 1 through December 31. Season Red grouper is managed under an individual fishing quota (If) program.
Anyone commercially fishes for red grouper must possess allocation and follow established protocols. Additionally, an eastern Gulf reef fish bottom longline endorsement required to use bottom longline for Gulf reef fish in the federal waters east of 85°30 longitude.
The recreational sector for SG, in or from the Gulf EEA, is closed each year from February 1 through March 31, in the portion of the Gulf EEA seaward of thumb lines connecting, in order, the points in the following table. During the closure, the bag and possession limit for SG in or from the Gulf EEA seaward of the following thumb lines is zero.
Red grouper is present in the Western Atlantic from the Carolina's south to Brazil, including the Gulf of Mexico, Caribbean and Bermuda; however, it is most abundant in the eastern Gulf of Mexico. In general, red grouper is a dark brown color with a reddish hue on its back and sides, fading to a pale pink underneath.
The anal, dorsal and tail fins have dark margins. The spawning season occurs anywhere from January to early June depending on the area.
Obama, S., B. Eris man, W. Haman, C. Biggs, N. Farmer, S. Lowerre-Barbieri, M. Karnataka, and J. Brenner. Cooperative monitoring program for spawning aggregations in the Gulf of Mexico: data portal.
Sedan 61 Gulf of Mexico Red Grouper Final Stock Assessment Report, 2019 Farmer, N.A., Malinowski, R.P., McGovern, M.F. (2016), Stock Complexes for Fisheries Management in the Gulf of Mexico.
Marine and Coastal Fisheries, 8: 177-201. Doi: 10.1080/19425120.2015.1024359 Like, E. and R. Myers, 1994. Constant relative age and size at sex change for sequentially hermaphroditic fish.
Miles of mangroves and pristine waterways lead to the Gulf of Mexico where the saltwater fishing for red grouper can be as sizzling hot as the summer temperatures. One can pretty well set a clock by the afternoon thunderstorms in this area, but they serve to cool down the atmosphere enough for the natural world to come alive before sunset.
Riding two hours from port into the Gulf of Mexico to reach the fishing grounds, Captain Rick Polio positions the 35-foot vessel over a live bottom area before anchoring the boat. Once a bite is felt, any hesitation by the angler gives the fish an advantage, since it will move into the underwater structure and cause the line to part.
If the rod is doubled over, anglers can bend their knees and use their body to generate more upward force, moving the fish away from any rocky outcrops. The season on Regrouped in Florida is year-round, but the limit to keep is two fish per person, and they must measure 20-inches in total length or be returned to the estuary.
The coloration of the red grouper make it a compelling species to photograph, with a brownish- red body that is accented by irregular white blotches that serve as underwater camouflage.