Max limit for 2 from 17 ft skiff using the leader rig shown below. But a problem with grouper fishing (and targeting other species when bottom fishing) is that many anglers don’t put much thought into making their leaders… They simply get a weight, a hook, some line, and perhaps a swivel or two and start tying their favorite knot for all the connections.
And a majority of the time, that lack of thinking about all aspects of what they’re targeting leaves the following two problems: The weakest point in the overall system (most often at the knot that connects the lighter main line to the top of the heavier leader assembly) is up above the weight.
And since grouper are structure oriented, the odds of them getting stuck to the bottom due to the weight getting snagged are high which will make them easy targets to the next shark that cruises by. Knowing that grouper and most other bottom fish seek comfort in structure when the feel threatened, we need to account for the fact that there will be break-offs in our decision for how we make our leader assemblies.
When targeting strong fish that live in and around heavy cover, the likelihood of getting snagged on the bottom is high. So my preference is to set up the overall line system to have the weakest point be the knot that goes directly to the hook while also beefing up the line most exposed to getting weakened from bumping rough patches on the bottom (directly above the weight).
The Orris knot is my preferred choice to tie to the Perfection loop because it’s extremely fast to tie and is very strong (not quite as strong as the Palomar, but it’s stronger than any Loop knot I’ve tested so it’ll not be the weakest link). Note: Different line brands/types of course have different breaking points, so these values are just to serve as a rough estimate.
Grouper fishing is a fantastic way for a group of friends or a family to get out on the water and enjoy nature together… And given their popularity, we need to pay extra attention to take the best possible care of them so our future generations can continue to enjoy this great game fish as well as other structure oriented species that also be harmed by poorly designed leader rigs.
“Sometimes it’s hard to grouper fish with Mali swimming around your boat, but our stretch of offshore reefs can give up some really quality gags and scamps this time of year, particularly on spots deeper than 120 feet,” he said. The rig consists of an egg sinker sliding on an 18-inch piece of 100-pound mono between two swivels.
A 6-foot piece of 100-pound mono leads to a circle hook, with the size depending on the bait. “If I’m fishing for gags, my favorite bait is a live golden spot or a pinkish,” said Johnson.
Johnson prefers the slip sinker rig, because fooling big grouper is all about presentation. Keep the sinker pinned against the bottom swivel and at the first sign of panic in the bait, let him swim away from the weight unencumbered.
These beasts of the deep hit like no other fish in the world and will strain even the strongest fisherman. There is a reason that many people in South Florida seem to give up on all other species and target grouper specifically.
While some people describe the fight as “like a large catfish,” this is like saying that a monster truck is “like a car.” The initial hit will bury the butt of your rod in your gut and leave you breathless. It doesn’t matter if it’s a man made reef or natural, this is the preferred habitat.
You can also find them near drop-offs, rock structure, and the steeper sides of shipping channels. No matter the size, the grouper is a stout fish with a lot of strength.
Their strength combined with their massive mouth makes them an outstanding ambush predator. Normal foods are mostly baitfish, but they have been known to feed on crustaceans, squid, and just about anything else that gets too close.
These makes bait selection for grouper quite easy as they will eat most anything if it gets close enough. In the cooler months, grouper are likely to move closer to shore but there is no season that you can’t land one.
Even a 50-pound grouper is very capable of tearing apart a rig used for other similarly weighted fish. The reel needs to be heavy and capable of holding 80 to 100-pound test line.
You will need the strength of this setup to get the bests off the bottom or out of the holes they often run to when hooked. You can successfully fish groper with a spinning reel as long as its heavy duty and can hold the right line.
I’m pretty sure that even the largest wire hook would be straightened by a large grouper. Either braided or mono main line works as long as it’s strong enough and you have a good leader.
Being more abrasion resistant is a bonus when your quarry lives in rocky holes. The following three are general purpose rigs that will work well for Grouper or any other bottom feeding species.
This simple setup uses a three-way swivel with one loop attached to your mainline, one sinker, and one to your leader. A heavier leader is preferred but the line to the sinker should be relatively light so it can be broken off if need be.
Your swivel and line weights should be the same as the above rig and your leader should be less than 10 feet. This takes any slack out of the leader and gives you a shot at setting the hook before the fish darts back to cover.
This rig offers any live bait more room to move and works well to draw out reluctant feeders. In this case, the sinker is attached to the mainline above the swivel, usually by simply looping the line through.
The main downside of this rig is that it gives a grouper plenty of time to get back home before you get the hook set. Sardines are probably the most successful live bait, especially if caught fresh with a net or bait fish rig.
Due to the noise they make, many fishermen swear by using live grunts as an at tractor for grouper. Blue Runners are another popular fish if you are after larger grouper species.
Grouper are not a picky species and will most anything including lady fish, menhaden, squirrel fish, and thread fin just to name a few. Crab is a less popular bait for grouper but can work well of a bottom rig, especially for shallower water species.
One of the biggest problems with using lures is getting down deep enough without getting hopelessly caught on the structure they call home. Buck tails fished the same way can produce some good hits, especially with juvenile or smaller grouper.
Patterns that imitate sardine, mullet, and pinkish are probably the most popular and successful options. I will admit that I am a big fan of fishing spoons in general, I think they are an underrated lure option.
Getting hung up is a real concern with spoons but if you drag one in front of a grouper, there is a good chance he is going to take it. Grouper are not a fast fish and may ignore lures that move by too quickly.
Moderate your speed and pauses, you can expect more hits when the bait is left idle for a second. Though normally associated with open water fish, trolling is an excellent tactic to cover a lot of ground in your search for grouper.
You will have to factor in fuel cost but you may find it worthwhile to spend the extra money for a more likely catch. Off the coast of Miami, trolling for grouper has become a big part of the local fishing scene.
The idea is to get a large lipped diving plug and send it down to skim the sand in 20 to 30 feet of water. Your trolling speed should be slow and your lure should be running less than 20 feet from the abundant rock structure in the area.
If you pass your lure close by a waiting grouper, it is more than likely that he will rush out to grab it the moment he sees it. The Tampa fishermen will run the sides of shipping channels with a live bait suspend just along the steep edge.
Controlling your depth to keep it in range of the channel wall without getting it hung up requires some skill. The boat will easily haul them out of range of their cover and all that’s left is the fight.
If there are grouper, trolling is an effective tactic provided you can get a lure down deep enough. Usually, you will see fishermen using either live bait or large lipped diving plugs when trolling.
It may be worth a try just keep it slow so the scent of the bait has some time to spread. Keep your speed low, your lure deep, and stay close to structure.
If you get a hit from a large grouper, it may feel like you are hung up until it yanks hard on the line. That critical moment of the bite is your only shot at a solid hooks set.
After the shock of your first large grouper catch, the first order of business may be shaking some life back into your arms. It will surprise you just how hard a 20-pound grouper can pull compared to any other fish you have ever hooked.
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However, we can provide additional product specs so that you can determine if the item will work for you. SAS, LLC is not sponsored by or affiliated with the brand associated with the product being sold.
Your order will be shipped within 1 business day upon full payment received. Your order will be delivered within 2-4 business days after the handling time.
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The PayPal Credit account is issued by Synchrony Bank. Plus, they can be incredibly difficult to land, often heading straight back to tackle breaking structure once hooked.
On the latter the sliding sinker is allows moving freely all the way to the hook / terminal tackle. The Carolina Rig includes a stop above the leader to prevent the sinker from sliding as far down the line.
Saltwater angler may now this as a fish finder or live bait rig. A basic Carolina Rig set up is fairly simple and often considered one of the best salt water bottom rigs as it allows a more natural presentation, especially if using live bait, and allows the fish to take the bait without detecting the weight right away.
Saltwater applications require a bit longer and for Grouper this can be as long as 4 or 5’. Although this is an option live or fresh cut bait is more effective when targeting Grouper.
If rigged properly, and with a little of luck, the Grouper will take the bait and start to swim away prior to feeling resistance from the weight. This will increase the chance that it drops the bait before the circle hook sets.
Grouper like to head for cover once they have a meal, so you need to overpower them with brute force to stop & then turn them before they get there. Hand tied to ultra durable leader, the top quality, premium circle hook makes hook-ups fast and sure.
It also helps minimize gut hooking and other injury to fish for a smooth catch and release. Either Anchored or drifting use large cut baits or live or dead whole baits are both popular and effective.
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The best way to catch Tuna, bonito, Atlantic mackerel, Atlantic bonito, or just classic big mackerel in Mediterranean Sea is trolling. Every angler who lives around Mediterranean Sea dreams to catch a giant dented or big snappers.
There are lots of small streams in urban areas that we rarely see someone fishing. This is because grouper like to live near the bottom close to underwater structures like rocks and wrecks.
The Your Crystal 3D Minnow Deep Diver Trolling Lure is a great option when trolling for grouper (and other saltwater fish like Spanish mackerel) as it’s realistic 3D eyes mimic an actual bait fish’s eyes. The X-Rap has been a trolling favorite for years and works well for many species (like halibut, lake trout, and more) of fish besides just grouper.
These lures look and feel more like the fish grouper are used to eating, and are an excellent choice for trolling. The rubber tail’s action imitates a frantic bait fish trying to escape a hungry grouper.
The rubber tail flutters in the water at all speeds and mimics a scared shrimp or shad. Grouper love feeding on both small crustaceans/bait fish and find the Each Fat Swing Impact Rubber Shad irresistible.
If you aren’t getting any bites on your soft plastic lures or the diving plugs, we recommend trying out a fishing classic: metal spoons. Metal spoons imitate sardines, mackerel, and other small shiny fish that grouper like to eat.
These chrome-covered spoons have been catching many types of fish for years, including grouper. They have a simple action that when trolled with a down rigger looks like a small bait fish that has been separated from its school.
It has a more aggressive action than the Clark spoon which can entice reclusive grouper from where their hiding in underwater structure. The Huntington Stainless Steel Drone Spoon works for many saltwater species (such as smaller yellow fin tuna and bonito) along with grouper, so it’s a solid addition to any tackle box.
Keep in mind that we typically fish for grouper in the southern Atlantic Ocean and the Gulf of Mexico, so these are the species common to those areas. They are gray and brown and love living close to coastal rock piles and underwater wreckage.
Gag groupers will even hang in water only a few feet deep if there is structure and bait fish nearby. They’re often caught using down riggers and keeping your trolling lure 10 to 15 feet off the bottom.
While this can make figuring out where to fish for them easy, you need to be extra aware of your lure depth and how fast you’re trolling. If your lure bounces off the bottom when you’re trolling over underwater structure, you’ll most likely snag and end up losing equipment.
While most groupers won’t be larger than 40 lbs, some grow to enormous sizes! This might seem counter-intuitive when trolling, but you don’t want to give a hooked grouper any chance to swim back into the cover it darted out from.
If it gets back to the hole it lives in, chances are your line will scrape against the rocks and snap. A tight drag will not only prevent this but also act to set the hook with the movement of the boat.
Characteristic features: a large head with a huge mouth, the lower jaw is advanced, a massive, laterally compressed body. A giant grouper (Red Sea and Indian Ocean) grows over 400 kg.
All groupers, from an early age, active predators, food addictions do not exist. The fish sucks in its victims, creating a vacuum around the object of the hunt, widely opening a huge mouth of a rounded shape.
They do not form large groups, they can come close to the shore, although they often live at great depths, about 100 m or more. For representatives of the serranidae family, to which belong groupers, a certain feature in the method of reproduction is characteristic.
In the Gulf of Mexico, during the spawning period, there is a massive production of groupers with nets and hook gear, which greatly affects the number of these fish. In general, fishing occurs at sufficiently large depths at the bottom or at a complex rocky terrain.
With any method of fishing, they use either heavy baits or special deep-wellings, as in the case of trolling. Spinning fishing from a boat may differ in lure feeding principles.
Many types of marine fishing techniques require very fast wiring, which means a high gear ratio of the winding mechanism. In order to select the correct wiring, consult with experienced local fishermen or guides.
Groupers, due to their size and temperament, are considered a very interesting opponent for trolling. For fishing on ocean and sea open spaces, specialized vessels equipped with numerous devices are used.
There are a lot of auxiliary devices that are used depending on the fishing conditions: for deepening equipment, for placing lures in the fishing area, for attaching bait, etc., including numerous elements of equipment. In the case of fishing for groupers, an important element of equipment are various sinkers (deepened).
Trolling, especially when hunting for marine giants, is a group type of fishing. In most cases, fishing is carried out by professional guides who are fully responsible for the event.
It is worth noting that the search for a trophy at sea or in the ocean can be associated with many hours of bite waiting, sometimes unsuccessful. It is worth considering that the size of trophies can be very significant, which requires special training from the fishing organizers.
In most cases, fishing is carried out with the lure of predators by various bites of animal composition. Among the natural ones, it is worth noting small live fish, for example, juvenile barracudas, sardines.
For fishing on a spinning rod, “kickback” or trolling, various cobblers and artificial silicone imitations are used. Groupers are distributed practically in all the warm waters of the World Ocean and its constituent seas.