DESCRIPTION: Gray or light brown with wavy markings on the side that generally do not form boxes or circles. Color deepens to dark brown shortly after removal from water.
GAME QUALITIES: An aggressive striker and hard fighter at all depths. Offshore bottom fishermen tend toward stout rods with 50- and 80-pound-test lines, but such grouper digging” rigs are strictly necessary only in very deep water.
Many anglers catch lots of Gags on spinning and plug tackle. Hard-lure casters use Deadhead jigs, mostly, while rollers rely on large deep-diving plugs.
Live bait fish of various sorts are the best natural offerings-try Pilchards, Pinkish, Grunts or Sand Perch (Squirrel fish). Dead small fish and large cut baits also work well.
BLACK GROUPER (Mycteroperca Monaco) OTHER NAMES: Monaco Ararat Again RANGE: Sometimes encountered in the deep Gulf and upper Atlantic, but common only in South Florida, the Keys and the Bahamas. HABITAT: Blacks of many sizes are commonly found around the edges of coral reefs, from about 30 feet of water out to the deepest drop offs.
Even big fish, however, may roam to much shallower patch reefs, especially in cooler seasons. SIZE: The largest of our Mycteroperca groupers, the Black frequently exceeds 50 pounds in weight and can top 100.
TACKLE AND BAITS: For all-around work, ocean gear with lines of 30-pound test or higher gets the call. One key besides a huge helping of luck is to hook the fish while drifting, instead of at anchor.
The drift of the boat adds to the power of the tackle and just might help drag the big fish far enough away from his rocky “hole” that he cannot get back. Pinkish and Pilchards are good too, as are Mullet heads and other large cut baits.
Best casting lures are Deadhead jigs, weighing from 1-4 ounces, depending on depth. Trolling over the reefs with rigged, swimming Mullet, feather-and-strip combos, and large plugs also takes many.
DESCRIPTION: Shows various colors, including two major phases, one of which would make it difficult to tell from the Black Grouper were it not for the bright yellow trim of the pectoral fins. SCAMP (Mycteroperca final) OTHER NAMES: Brown Grouper, Broom tail Grouper, Amadeo RANGE: Most plentiful along the Gulf Coast and roughly the upper half of the Florida Atlantic Coast.
Not common in South Florida and the Bahamas, where it is largely replaced by the similar Yellow mouth Grouper (next). HABITAT: Sometimes fairly close to shore, but generally sticks to deep reefs and ledges offshore.
Elongated rays of the caudal fin give the broom tail appearance. GAME QUALITIES: Outstanding on light tackle, but most are overpowered by heavy gear.
TACKLE AND BAITS: Sheer depth-typical of many Panhandle bottom-fishing drops-may necessitate rods and lines stout enough to handle very heavy sinkers. Deadhead jigs weighing 3/4 of an ounce to 11/2 ounces get lots of strikes with light gear-and if the bare jig isn't producing, it can be tipped with a strip of cut bait, or a whole small bait fish, and used as a bottom fishing rig.
Large diving plugs draw strikes in fairly shallow water-to about 50 feet. YELLOWMOUTH GROUPER (Mycteroperca interstitial is) OTHER NAMES: Salmon Rock fish RANGE: Most common in the Bahamas but found in South Florida, especially the Keys, and on Gulf reefs.
HABITAT: Occasionally on shallow patches, but more on deeper reefs to 120 feet or so near the edge of blue water. DESCRIPTION: Almost a ringer for the Scamp, except that the inside and corners of the mouth are yellow.
GAME QUALITIES: A tough fighter on tackle of reasonable size. TIGER GROUPER (Mycteroperca Tigris) OTHER NAMES: Monaco NATO RANGE: More common in the Bahamas, but seen fairly often in the Keys.
DESCRIPTION: Dark markings against a dusty gray background form vivid oblique stripes on the upper sides. TACKLE AND BAITS: Heavy spinning and bait casting outfits, along with light boat rods and lines up to 20- or 30-pound test.
Tigers will take a variety of artificial, including jigs and trolling plugs. HABITAT: Juveniles to around 100 pounds frequent mangrove creeks and bays of Southwest Florida, especially the Ten A Thousand Islands and Everglades National Park.
Adults can be found at a variety of depths, from holes and channels of coastal waters out to offshore ledges and reefs; also around pilings of bridges and under deepwater docks and piers. Juveniles are brilliantly marked with a series of irregular dark brown bars against a light brown or gray background, extending from head to tail.
Numerous black spots are usually present as well on head, sides and fins. Adults have the same pattern but in more subdued shades of brown that are not so brilliantly contrasted.
The tail is round, as are the posterior, dorsal, anal and pectoral fins. FOOD VALUE: Small ones excellent and big ones darn good which was the main reason for their precipitous decline and total closure in Florida in the 1980s.
Some very big ones have been caught on very light lines in shallow water after being coaxed away from obstructions, but the giant Jewish around deep wrecks defy the heaviest sporting tackle. TACKLE AND BAITS: Bait casting, spinning and even fly tackle make acceptable matchups for the inshore fish, which will and often do hit the full range of lures and flies that are used by Shook casters.
WARSAW GROUPER (Epimetheus nitrites) OTHER NAMES: Giant Grouper, Black Jewish, Garuda Neurite RANGE: All Florida coasts, Atlantic and Gulf, but not reported from the Bahamas. Party boats working offshore waters of the state's upper half both Gulf and Atlantic seem to bring in Warsaw's more often than elsewhere.
Large specimens (which most are) can be somewhat coarse unless the fillets are cut into thin steaks for frying or baking. GAME QUALITIES: Great strength is the hallmark of the Warsaw's fighting arsenal, and the angler who gets one on a manual rod and reel will know he's been in a tug-of-war.
TACKLE AND BAITS: Only the heaviest rods, large reels and lines testing 80 pounds or more are really adequate. Catches on lighter tackle are opportunistic and rare, and usually of the smaller specimens.
Fairly large whole fish, or halved bonito and other hefty cut baits are all productive whenever they can be dropped to within gulping range of a Warsaw. RED GROUPER (Epimetheus Mario) OTHER NAMES: Hero, China De Vivero RANGE: Common throughout Florida; also present in the Bahamas and common in some areas.
HABITAT: Widely distributed from close inshore in many areas of Florida to ledges and wrecks in up to 300 or so feet of water. DESCRIPTION: Overall light or rusty red with whitish spots and large blotches.
No black mark on caudal peduncle fleshy area between tail and posterior dorsal fin. Although Reds will “hole up” like other Groupers, many are hooked on light and fairly light tackle in areas where cover is well scattered, and this gives them the chance to demonstrate their toughness to best advantage.
They are ready strikers on Deadhead jigs, fished with light tackle. HABITAT: Prefers coral reefs, and probably does not roam into water much deeper than 120 feet or so.
In the Islands, small specimens are common over inshore patches, and also in creeks and channels. DESCRIPTION: Looks much like the Red Grouper in shape and pattern, although the basic coloration tends more to brown or gray than reddish.
FOOD VALUE: Small ones are excellent; fish over 10 pounds are almost as good, but harvest is currently prohibited in Florida. TACKLE AND BAITS: Most are caught by potluck reef or creek fishermen on light ocean gear or stout bait casting and spinning outfits-all using lines of 12-20 pounds.
Cut fish, conch or squid all make good baits, and Nassau's will also strike jigs, spoons and underwater or surface plugs. Bigger fish on rough coral reefs require heavy tackle for bottom-fishing, and can also be caught by trolling with feather-and-strip baits or with large swimming plugs.
RED HIND (Epimetheus Gustavus) OTHER NAMES: Strawberry, Sandwich Grouper, Cabrillo, Sofia RANGE: Very plentiful on Bahamas reefs in 40-80 feet. Caudal, anal and posterior dorsal fins edged in black.
TACKLE AND BAITS: In some reef areas of the Bahamas, Red Hinds can be caught to the point of boredom by drifting and bouncing the bottom with jigs. ROCK HIND (Epimetheus ascensions) OTHER NAMES: Rock Cod, Cabre Morey, Hero Cabrillo RANGE: Widespread in Florida and the Bahamas, often in company with the Red Hind, but usually less plentiful in southern portions of the range.
DESCRIPTION: The Rock Hind is mostly brown or tan in background color. Has spots similar to those of the Red Hind, but also is marked by large, dark blotches on the upper sides usually two, but often more.
SIZE: About the same as the Red Hind, but maximum may be slightly larger to 8 or 9 pounds. CONEY (Epimetheus Julius) OTHER NAMES: Golden Coney, Golden Grouper, Cultivar, Crunch RANGE: South Florida, Bahamas and Caribbean.
DESCRIPTION: A very small Grouper, the Coney is seen in various color phases, including vivid yellow, gold-and-brown, red-and-brown. Grassy (Epimetheus orientates) OTHER NAMES: Enable, Cuba Cabrillo RANGE: South Florida, Bahamas and Caribbean.
GAME QUALITIES: Aggressive striker, sometimes on surprisingly large lures, but too small to put up a fight. TACKLE AND BAITS: Like the Coney, a common reef catch when small hooks are used.
SPECKLED HIND (Epimetheus drummondhayi) OTHER NAMES: Kitty Mitchell, Calico Grouper RANGE: Both coasts of Florida, but most often caught in the Keys and this is probably because of heavy fishing around well-known seamounts or “humps,” particularly off the Keys towns of Marathon and Islamabad. DESCRIPTION: Generally dark gray or reddish brown, with a profusion of small, creamy or white spots on sides, gill covers and fins.
It is theorized that the great pressures under which they live helps make the flesh more succulent. GAME QUALITIES: Seldom caught on sporting gear, but when they are especially if that gear is a reasonably light outfit, the fight begins strong but diminishes fast as the fish is brought higher in the water column.
MARBLED GROUPER (Epimetheus INERIS) RANGE: Bahamas and South Florida. DESCRIPTION: Dark brown or charcoal with numerous white spots.
TACKLE AND BAITS: Power reels and cut bait fish or squid. SNOWY GROUPER (Epimetheus hiatus) OTHER NAMES: Golden Grouper RANGE: Occurs in deep water throughout Florida and the Western Bahamas; probably Eastern Bahamas as well.
Likes rocky areas, wrecks, channels with hard bottom, jetties, deep holes in grass flats. DESCRIPTION: Color is generally black or charcoal, with blue highlights and tiny white spots or stripes on dorsal fin.
The flesh is mild and white but, sadly, most Sea Bass caught these days are too small to be worthwhile. The occasional outsize specimen should be filleted and skinned, but take care when doing so, because gill covers are sharp and so are the spines.
GAME QUALITIES: A hard and willing striker on both natural baits and a variety of artificial lures. Sea Bass greedily hit live or dead shrimp and all sorts of cut baits, along with live small bait fish and artificial jigs and underwater plugs.
SAND PERCH (Di plectrum Formosa) OTHER NAMES: Coral Snapper, Squirrel fish, Solo RANGE: Both coasts of Florida, north to south. HABITAT: Sand Perch are found from bays and shorelines to well offshore over a variety of bottoms.
They seem to prefer rather open bottom with patches of grass or scattered rock, and they also like deep channels. DESCRIPTION: Slender, cylindrical shape, with large mouth and wide tail.
Color is tan with brown vertical bars or blotches, and full-length horizontal lines of blue and orange. GAME QUALITIES: Very aggressive, Sand Perch often hit baits and lures meant for much larger fish.
They all have a very similar shape defined by a large head and wide mouth perfect for inhaling prey on the reef. This guide outlines a number of key features to look out for when identifying grouper species.
The head and body are dark red to brown with some shading to a lighter pinkish color. Gags are the most common grouper found on rocky bottom, wrecks and rigs in the eastern Gulf of Mexico, in depths from 60 to 250 feet.
The gag grouper's coloration varies, but most are a brownish gray with a pattern of dark worm-like or kiss-shaped markings or articulations on the sides. Also called Jewish, the Goliath is the largest of the groupers, with adults capable of reaching up to 1,000 pounds.
Often found within the 12 fathom bottom contour, it favors rocky shores, holes and various structure. The coloring of the Nassau grouper usually mimics that of the grounds it inhabits, and can range from tawny to pinkish or red with an orange cast.
The fish can change colors from almost white to dark brown depending on its mood. The yellow fin grouper's coloring varies, but the head and body always have oval-shaped dark spots.
Found on rocky bottom and coral reefs in Bermuda, Florida, Gulf of Mexico and Caribbean. The body of the broom tail grouper varies from brown to gray or grayish green with oblong dark blotches that form a maze-like pattern.
Technically a Speckled Hind, this fish prefers rocky bottom in depths from 180 to 300-plus feet in the western Atlantic, from North Carolina to the Florida Keys and Gulf of Mexico. As its name implies, the yellow edge grouper has a yellow outline on its dorsal, tail and pectoral fins.
Other defining characteristics include a light grayish brown to red body with bluish white spots. Found from North Carolina to Brazil in rocky areas and soft bottom.
It exhibits a compressed shape with a long pectoral fin and smooth scales. The snowy grouper is distinguished by its spiny dorsal fin and dark saddle-shaped blotch by the tail that extends below the lateral line.
One of the smaller groupers, the Coney is found on coral reefs in subtropical waters throughout the western Atlantic. Texas is blessed with a great many grouper species offshore, in sufficient numbers to pursue on a year-round basis.
Late summer generally offers flattened seas and that makes it easier to reach these fish. Such depths are more easily reached along the middle and South Texas coasts, while anglers in Sabine Pass would have the longest run offshore.
Gas inside each fish doubles every 33 feet as it rises to the surface, so a deep-water grouper (or snapper) will balloon and float. Our grouper caught in 900 feet typically have ruptured scales, their eyes bugged out and stomachs fully extended.
Black grouper : Smaller specimens grow up on the coral reefs of Florida and the Caribbean, and then move into deeper water. I've only heard of a few big ones migrating to Texas waters, where they're occasionally caught around coral and rocks like the Clay piles off Galveston.
This is a big, aggressive, opportunistic fish that has been known to follow boats and strike trolled baits on the surface in 100 feet of water, in the Florida Keys. Also known to carry ciguatera poisoning, because of its affinity for eating smaller fish living around coral reefs, where the toxin is produced.
Gags start their life in very shallow water, preferably grass flats, then migrate offshore. Years ago on Halloween we caught a stringer of 10 at the South Padre jetties, on 52M Mirrors when the water was quite clear, and should have released them all.
Gags like to bunch up in a spawning aggregation late each winter, with hundreds of females and only a few males to mate with. This makes for poor spawning success, and this scenario remains the gag grouper's Achilles' heel.
Goliath grouper : Formerly called “Jewish” or (even earlier) “sunfish”, these guys grow to about 800 pounds, yet inhabit depths of only 12 feet or so, on occasion. We've caught lots of them under shady mangrove trees in southwest Florida, where Naples is the center of the Goliath grouper universe.
Federally protected since 1990 Gulf-wide, their numbers are now such that they will attack hooked fish around the wrecks offshore in 30 to 50 feet, separating fishermen from their shook, permit, snapper and grouper, even blacktop sharks. There are countless shrimp boat wrecks off the beach offering shelter to these giants, and Texas probably has the biggest series of fish -sheltering rock jetties of any coastal state.
Catch and release only, so don't drag your Goliath into the boat for a hero picture, it's hard on the grouper's vertebrae. Be sure to dump your extra stingrays in the rocks when you leave; it helps sustain the local population of Goliath, and they will appreciate the gesture.
Grays by: More of a coral grouper, and visitor from The Bahamas, I've only seen one, a hefty specimen of eight pounds or so, at the Served Rigs off Galveston. It seems our planted, deepwater platforms in 800-900 feet have become population islands for tropical fish from The Bahamas and Caribbean.
Misty Grouper : Commonly found in deeper waters along our Atlantic coast and The Bahamas. Red hind grouper : This is a coral reef visitor from the Caribbean, and we've caught them at the Flower Gardens at night, on cut bait.
Small red hinds are thick in The Bahamas and fierce enough to hit trolled plugs as large as themselves. Rock hind grouper : Very common at Texas Gulf platforms, ranging a half-pound up to maybe three pounds.
I've talked to Florida Atlantic anglers who have never heard of snowiest of that size, but I told them it was in Texas, where all fish grow larger. We caught ours on large fillets of blue runner for some reason black fin tuna strip baits didn't work as well.
Speckled hind grouper : I haven't actually seen one of these in the Western Gulf, but a friend, Alan Reynolds in Port Niches, saw one landed in about 600 feet out of Venice, Louisiana back in early June. Most big Warsaw years ago were landed by the party boat crews on the typical 80-200 foot snapper rocks during late winter and early spring, when these fish were spawning in (for them) shallow water.
Yellow edge grouper : This is a deepwater fish and fairly numerous; commercial boats target them with long trot lines on the bottom. The specimen I caught in the picture hit around midnight, about 120 miles southeast of Sabine Pass.
Groupers are a species of fish that belong to the Epinephrine subfamily of the family Serranidae. As telecasts, all types of grouper have a stout body and a large mouth and are weak swimmers.
Irrespective of the types of grouper you wish to target you can catch large ones with lures, live and dead bait. If you are casting in the shallows, use jerk bait and retrieve it erratically to lure the fish out in the open.
You will need heavy tackle, especially if there are a lot of rocks under the water where you are fishing and a braided line that can withstand the powerful pull of a caught grouper. If you are using spinning tackle, make sure that the reel is heavy enough to withstand an 80 to 100-pound test mainline and a low gear ratio to give you more control.
This tackle will come in handy when the panicking grouper fish tries to swim under a ledge to break the line. For live bait, use pinkish, grunts, blue runner, sardines, and mullet.
The grouper is a lean and moist fish that has a mild flavor, and the flesh is firm and flaky. Grouper Malabar grouper, Epimetheus malarious Scientific classification Kingdom: Animalia Phylum: Chordata Class: Actinopterygii Order: Performed Family: Serranidae Subfamily: EpinephelinaeBleeker, 1874 Tribes and genera Not all errands are called 'groupers'; the family also includes the sea basses.
The common name grouper is usually given to fish in one of two large genera : Epimetheus and Mycteroperca. In addition, the species classified in the small genera Hyperion, Completes, Dermatologist, Graciela, Scotia, and Trio are also called 'groupers'.
However, some hamlets (genus Affected), the hinds (genus Cephalopods), the lyre tails (genus Various) and some other small genera (Gonioplectrus, Nippon, Paranoia) are also in this subfamily, and occasional species in other serrated genera have common names involving the word grouper “. Nonetheless, the word grouper on its own is usually taken as meaning the subfamily Epinephrine.
Groupers are Telecasts, typically having a stout body and a large mouth. They can be quite large, and lengths over a meter and the largest is the Atlantic Goliath grouper (Epimetheus Tamara) which has been weighed at 399 kilograms (880 pounds) and a length of 2.43 m (7 ft 11 1 2 in), though in such a large group, species vary considerably.
They do not have many teeth on the edges of their jaws, but they have heavy crushing tooth plates inside the pharynx. They habitually eat fish, octopuses, and crustaceans.
Reports of fatal attacks on humans by the largest species, such as the giant grouper (Epimetheus lanceolatus) are unconfirmed. They also use their mouths to dig into sand to form their shelters under big rocks, jetting it out through their gills.
The word grouper is from the Portuguese name, group, which has been speculated to come from an indigenous South American language. In New Zealand, “groper” refers to a type of wreck fish, Poly prion oxygenate, which goes by the Mori name haiku.
In the Middle East, the fish is known as hammer ', and is widely eaten, especially in the Persian Gulf region. The species in the tribes Grammistini and Diploprionini secrete a mucus like toxin in their skin called Rammstein and when they are confined in a restricted space and subjected to stress the mucus produces a foam which is toxic to nearby fish, these fishes are often called soap fishes.
The largest males often control harems containing three to 15 females. Groupers often pair spawn, which enables large males to competitively exclude smaller males from reproducing.
As such, if a small female grouper were to change sex before it could control a harem as a male, its fitness would decrease. If no male is available, the largest female that can increase fitness by changing sex will do so.
Gonochorism, or a reproductive strategy with two distinct sexes, has evolved independently in groupers at least five times. The evolution of gonochorism is linked to group spawning high amounts of habitat cover.
Both group spawning and habitat cover increase the likelihood of a smaller male to reproduce in the presence of large males. Fitness of male groupers in environments where competitive exclusion of smaller males is not possible is correlated with sperm production and thus testicle size.
Gonochoristic groupers have larger testes than protogynous groupers (10% of body mass compared to 1% of body mass), indicating the evolution of gonochorism increased male grouper fitness in environments where large males were unable to competitively exclude small males from reproducing. Many groupers are important food fish, and some of them are now farmed.
Unlike most other fish species which are chilled or frozen, groupers are usually sold live in markets. Groupers are commonly reported as a source of Ciguatera fish poisoning.
DNA barcoding of grouper species might help in controlling Ciguatera fish poisoning since fish are easily identified, even from meal remnants, with molecular tools. In September 2010, a Costa Rican newspaper reported a 2.3 m (7 ft 7 in) grouper in Cieneguita, Limón.
The weight of the fish was 250 kg (550 lb) and it was lured using one kilogram of bait. In November 2013, a 310 kg (680 lb) grouper had been caught and sold to a hotel in Dong yuan, China.
^ a b c d e Richard van der Loan; William N. Scholar & Ronald Cricket (2014). ^ Share, Redoubt; Honer, Andrea; Ait-El-Djoudi, Karim; Cricket, Hans (2006).
^ John E. Randall; Kashmir Aida; Takashi Libya; Nobuhiro Missouri; His Kamila & Yorkshire Hashimoto (1971). “Rammstein, the skin toxin of soap fishes, and it significance in the classification of the Grammistidae” (PDF).
A phylogenetic test of the size-advantage model: Evolutionary changes in mating behavior influence the loss of sex change in a fish lineage. Estimates of body sizes at maturation and at sex change, and the spawning seasonality and sex ratio of the endemic Hawaiian grouper (Hyporthodus Quercus, f. Epinephelidae).
Constant relative age and size at sex change for sequentially hermaphroditic fish. A new version of the size-advantage hypothesis for sex change: Incorporating sperm competition and size-fecundity skew.
Sex change in fishes: Its process and evolutionary mechanism. Evidence of gonochorism in a grouper, Mycteroperca rosacea, from the Gulf of California, Mexico.
^ Molly, P. P., N. B. Goodwin, I. M. Cote, J. D. Reynolds and M. J. G. Gage. Sperm competition and sex change: A comparative analysis across fishes.
^ Crib, T. H., Bray, R. A., Wright, T. & Michelin, S. 2002: The trematodes of groupers (Serranidae: Epinephrine): knowledge, nature and evolution. ^ Justine, J.-L., Beveridge, I., Box shall, G. A., Bray, R. A., Morale, F., Triples, J.-P. & Whittington, I. D. 2010: An annotated list of parasites (Isopod, Coppola, Monotone, Diogenes, Custody and Nematode) collected in groupers (Serranidae, Epinephrine) in New Caledonia emphasizes parasite biodiversity in coral reef fish.
Folio Parasitologica, 57, 237-262. Doi : 10.14411/fp.2010.032 PDF ^ “Most consumers prefer to purchase live groupers in fish markets”. ^ Schooling, C., Kissinger, D. D., Detail, A., Fraud, C. & Justine, J.-L. 2014: A phylogenetic re-analysis of groupers with applications for ciguatera fish poisoning.
^ ^ “Photos: Fishermen catch wildly huge 686-pound fish, sell it to hotel”. ^ Heather Alexander, Houston Chronicle (21 August 2014).
“Gulf grouper swallows 4 foot shark in a single bite”. Wiki source has the text of the 1905 New International Encyclopedia article Grouper “.
Gulf grouper are large fish that live in shallow, coastal areas during their first 2 years of their life, before moving on to rocky reefs and kelp beds. Gulf grouper used to be very common in the eastern Pacific Ocean, but they became scarce because commercial and recreational fisherman could easily catch them.
Their abundance has severely declined since the mid-20th century primarily because of direct harvest by commercial and artisanal fisheries. Outside a known population in Bahia Magdalena, there is no published evidence of gulf grouper along the Pacific coast of the Baja California peninsula.
Adult gulf grouper are mainly found around rocky reefs, underwater mountains, and kelp beds. Gulf grouper are also likely protogynous hermaphroditic, which means that they mature as females and later transition into males.
Adult gulf grouper gather in large groups to reproduce once per year. They gather at reefs and underwater mountains and form spawning aggregations from April to June.
Activities that may degrade their habitat include the release of contaminants, such as urban runoff, wastewater, or oil and gas spills. Pollution can also reduce the amount of oxygen in the water or deliver chemicals that are toxic to these fish.
Physical barriers, such as shoreline and offshore development can also threaten gulf grouper by limiting their access to important breeding or feeding areas. Overfishing Direct harvest of gulf grouper, especially at spawning aggregation sites, is the biggest threat to the species.
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.
In this article, you can 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.
Luckily, Goliath Grouper are strictly protected these days, and you can 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. They live around rocky bottom up to 1,000 feet down, so you may have to travel 20 miles or more to get to them.
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 you can 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. If you’re set on landing a “Snowier,” get ready for a long ride.
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 you can bag yourself a colorful feast all along Florida’s Atlantic Coast.