Grouper Golf

Carole Stephens
• Friday, 13 November, 2020
• 9 min read

A full-service 18-hole facility, the fair but challenging par 71 course is just over 6,450 yards and hosts over 50,000 rounds of golf each year. Services include a pro shop, equipment and power cart rentals, professional instruction and lessons, tournaments and leagues, and youth activities.

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And if you are hungry after your round of golf, be sure to stop in for a bite at our restaurant Bogey’s Public House! TACKLE AND BAITS: For all-around work, ocean gear with lines of 30 pound test or higher gets the call.

Light tackle fishermen in South Florida, however, have caught many blacks over 50 pounds. 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.

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.

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Even big fish, however, may roam to much shallower patch reefs, especially in cooler seasons. Anglers love groupers for two main reasons: They’re tough, strong fighters, and they’re delicious to eat.

© Provided by Sport Fishing Now is the prime time to catch big black groupers in South Florida. © Jim Hendricks Now is the prime time to catch big black groupers in South Florida.

That closure, which runs through April 30 in Atlantic waters, started in 2010 to allow the populations of black, gag and red groupers to increase in number and in size, as well as to protect the fish during their spawning seasons. © Provided by Sport Fishing Generally smaller than blacks and gags, red grouper need only be 20 inches to qualify as legal in Florida’s Atlantic waters.

© Scott Sayers Generally smaller than blacks and gags, red grouper need only be 20 inches to qualify as legal in Florida’s Atlantic waters. “You’re trolling those little lures around all the wrecks out to 200 feet, and at some point you’ll catch baby bonitos,” he says.

“As soon as you catch a baby bonito, you hook it through the upper lip and you drop it down on the upstream side of the wreck. © Provided by Sport Fishing Pinkish make one of the most consistently productive baits for groupers.

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Once you hook a keeper grouper, the fish typically swims right back into the wreck or reef where it was sheltering. Having the proper tackle makes the difference between losing the fish and pulling it away from its home, Smith says.

“If you’re truly targeting big groupers, you’re better off with real heavy monofilament and the craziest, tightest drag you can imagine fishing,” he says. © Steve Waters A single-hook ballyhoo rigged behind a Sea Witch beneath a planer tops the list of trolling baits for Capt.

© Provided by Sport Fishing A single-hook ballyhoo rigged behind a Sea Witch beneath a planer tops the list of trolling baits for Capt. Buddy Carey of the famed Pier 5 charter fleet in Miami perfected trolling for grouper more than 50 years ago.

Smith trolls a Sea Witch with a ballyhoo rigged on a 7/0 triple-strength 3417 Mustard J hook at the end of a 100-foot length of 100-pound monofilament leader connected to a planer. He uses a Penn International 50 spooled with 65-pound braided line to fish along coral reefs in 50 feet of water or shallower.

“The groupers, on occasion, come up and hit it on top of the water, but basically you want the bait about 10 feet off the bottom,” he says. In addition to trolling reefs, Smith works the edges of the ship channels at Port Everglades, Lake Worth, and Fort Pierce inlets as well as Government Cut.

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Sanding the top of the lure and painting it yellow makes it even more effective, he says, because black groupers eat yellowtail snapper. Budget golfers will especially enjoy playing Rocky Point, one of the city's two municipal courses.

The best place to see some natural Florida wildlife during your round is The Claw, a certified Audubon animal sanctuary. Since the City took it over in 2003, Rocky Point has steadily improved into a fun course with an excellent location; it's across the street from the airport and the fine hotels that surround it.

Anyone in town for business probably has time to jump over to Rocky Point before their flight leaves. Twelve of the holes have water in play and the course can get quite windy, adding to the challenge.

Pebble Creek is a great public neighborhood course in New Tampa located off of Bruce B. Downs Blvd. They recently rebuilt their greens and tees with Champion Bermuda grass for a more consistent quality.

West chase Golf Club uses its setting as a former wetland and reserve to its advantage, winding its way through a variety of native Floridian terrain. The 6,700 yards quoted on the scorecard plays much longer thanks to the narrow fairways and small greens.

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This course is only a short jump from downtown, making it a good bet for playing hooky from a business meeting. Skye's expert tip : The West chase neighborhood around the club is known for its great restaurants and bars.

The Eagles have two courses that weave in and out of native Florida scenery and wildlife, all within a short drive from downtown. The length, as well as strategically placed trees and water can all come into play, making this a challenge from any tee.

Designed by Robert Trent Jones Sr, each hole on the Fox Hollow course presents its own unique set of challenges. While some have open fairways, strategically placed water hazards and sand traps will keep you honest.

With five sets of tees ranging from 5,200 yards to slightly over 7,100, you can make this course more enjoyable by choosing the most appropriate for your group. Skye's expert tip : The price for this course can be steep so be sure to check their rates ahead of time to get the best deal.

Skye's expert tip : Coeval isn't far from both the TPC of Tampa Bay and Heritage Harbor, making it easy to swing 36 holes in one day. Lake Jo vita offers two golf courses that trick you into believing you are playing in North Carolina.

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This is the hilly section of Tampa Bay and the elevation changes have been used for dramatic effect on the course. A visit to Lake Jo vita offers a lot of perks, from curb-side service to free practice balls for the driving range to the conveniently located coolers in the golf carts.

The 6,800 yards from the TPC tees doesn't quite tell the tale of a course that weaves in and out of wetlands, woodlands, and lakes. Although a relatively flat course, many of the greens have considerable drop-offs so a missed shot will have you chipping back on.

Skye's expert tip : Because of its pedigree, a round of golf here is on the expensive side, especially during the winter months. Just over the bridge from Tampa is the Innsbruck Copperhead Course in Palm Harbor.

One of the favorite stops of the PGA Tour, this course tests even the most seasoned professionals at the Val spar Championship held every March. The Copperhead was completely restored in 2015, bringing the vision of course's original designer, Larry Packard back to life.

If you ever wished for Orlando golf in the neighborhood, this would be the one to shoot for. A lush, beautiful golf course that makes the most of its Akiva River-area landscape, this 18 holes is distinguished by an open layout that allows golfers of all levels to enjoy a superb afternoon of recreation.

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Extensive driving range and practice facility on sight. Full service clubhouse with men’s and women’s locker rooms.

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