Probably the most popular type of groupertrollinglures, deep diving plugs work great when fishing for grouper in water no deeper than roughly 30 feet. 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. If you have access to down riggers or want to use a diver separately from your lure, we recommend using soft plastic groupertrollinglures.
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.
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.
You usually won’t catch Goliath groupers while trolling because they live in deeper waters and go after larger bait. 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. 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.
Grouper are reef-dwelling aggressive fish that are large and make a great addition to any outdoor grill. Many lures on the market are developed to trick an aggressive predator like grouper.
The most effective method is trolling slowly over their prime habitat or reef area, because their instincts naturally tell them to chase their prey and make a quick bite. Grouper lures are more effective than bait because the fish like to stay close to their reef home.
That is because they are predators that love the chase and catch the action of a fish in the water. This ideal grouper lure for deep trolling whether you are inland or way offshore can reach depths up to 30 feet and speeds of 13 knots.
The transparent design with an internal cast system means that you will throw it a good distance. Corrosion resistant parts mean it will endure through lots of fishing trips and use.
Since early 1952, Salas jigs have been helping fisherman catch albacore, perch, and grouper. This jig is a popular seller, because it really works to hook those big grouper fish.
With 7 times the light and a 3/0 hook size, you are sure to land some big grouper with this great lure from Salas. For over 50 years, Your has been making quality lures in Japan and shipping all over the world.
Their advanced technology means they lead the industry in products that are among the best in artificial baits in the country. Your Crystal Minnows have a bright holographic finish that reflects light and attracts big game fish even in murky or unclear waters.
Whether you are using a stop and go or steady retrieval, these minnow lures from Your get the job done when it comes to catching big grouper. Whether you are using a stop and go or steady retrieval, these minnow lures from Your get the job done when it comes to catching big grouper.
With one of the above grouper lures, you will be sure to catch a great tasting fish on your next outdoor adventure. They are found in the warmer waters of the Atlantic Ocean, Gulf of Mexico, Caribbean, and points south.
While they are a powerful fish that puts up a strong battle, grouper are prized by many anglers for their flaky white fillets! There are quite a few other species of grouper that are found in deeper waters and throughout the Bahamas and other locations.
For the most part, their habits are very similar and will be treated all the same when it comes to tackle and techniques. The one thing that all groupers have in common is that they are bottom dwelling, structure oriented fish.
Seldom will one be found high up in the water column or on sandy bottom with no structure. Reefs, wrecks, artificial reefs, areas of rocky bottom, and ledges are the top spots where anglers catch grouper in open water.
Penn is THE name in saltwater tackle and makes some excellent equipment at reasonable prices. This can handle most the bottom fishing situations as well as some light tackle trolling.
Anglers fishing in hundreds of feet of water in the Atlantic Ocean with heavy lead will need a stouter outfit than those fishing in 40 feet of water in the Gulf of Mexico. Anglers fishing in shallow, clear water sometimes find that lighter spinning tackle makes a more natural presentation.
Some anglers simply prefer the comfort and feel of a spinning outfit. This mostly occurs in the shallow waters of the Bahamas and the Gulf of Mexico north of Tampa.
Therefore, anglers anchor or drift a decent distance from the spot and cast live baits or lures in towards the structure. A 7-8 foot heavy action rod with a 6000 series real is a good all-around combination.
With this outfit, anglers can cast lures and live baits towards structure as well as have a decent chance of landing a big fish that might be hooked when bottom fishing. In water much deeper than 50 feet, conventional outfits are simply a better choice.
While the initial cost is higher, braided line last much longer than monofilament. Braided line is also thinner in diameter, which allows it to sink faster when fishing in deep water.
Many use a strong black swivel to connect the leader to the main line. A sliding sinker is often placed on the main line and then the swivel stops it from going any further.
The weight is generally placed on the running line ahead of the swivel that attaches the leader. However, there is another rig that works very well for grouper fishing, particularly in water shallower than 100 feet.
With this rig, the sinker slides on the leader and rest right on the eye of the hook. Also, when snagged up, the sinker jerking up on the line then banging the eye of the hook will often free it.
With this rig, multiple hooks are tied off of dropper loops on the main line. The bank sinker works well as it tends to walk and bounce off of rocks and other snags.
While most grouper are caught on live or natural bait, there are a few situations when they can be taken on artificial lures as well. Trolling with deep diving plugs is an incredibly effective technique when grouper are in fairly shallow water.
It allows anglers to cover a lot of water over a large piece of structure in search of fish. Trolling is effective anywhere that there is submerged structure in the 50 feet deep or shallower range.
The shallow waters of the Gulf of Mexico, channel edges and large bays such as Tampa Bay, and coral reefs of the Caribbean are prime spots to troll for grouper. They are categorized by size, giving anglers a good idea of how deep they will go.
Papal and several other lure manufacturers also make quality deep diving plugs for grouper fishing. With the boat idling along at 4 to 5 knots, the plug will dig down to the maximum depth, putting out a lot of flash and vibration.
A down rigger is a device with a cable and a heavy ball which takes the lure down deep. This technique is used extensively in the Great Lakes region for walleye and salmon.
Grouper can also be caught by anglers casting artificial lures, though there are limited situations where this can occur. Basically, when grouper are holding over structure in fairly shallow water, usually 10 feet deep or shallower, casting lures over the structure and retrieving them back in can produce jarring strikes from grouper.
Plugs will dive to a determined depth, while jigs can be worked through the entire water column but are extremely effective when bounced on the bottom right on top of the structure. White buck tail jigs are often used and can be tipped with a strip of squid or cut fish.
There are basically four types of grouper that are found in good numbers in the United States. Gag grouper are very aggressive and are the species most often targeted by anglers fishing with artificial lures.
Black grouper are normally found in the deeper waters of the Atlantic Ocean and down around the Florida Keys. Surprisingly, they are often encountered in the inshore waters, as shallow as five or 6 feet deep.
“Honey, I think it’s time we spent Thanksgiving with your family in St. Petersburg.” It was already mid-November, but the three-and-a-half-hour trip from Stuart doesn’t take much planning. My wife Chris called her parents and happily told me they were looking forward to seeing us.
It was a good thing considering I had already booked a three-quarter day grouper fishing with my friend Capt. I lived in the St. Petersburg area for 14 years and always wanted to target the fall time inshore gag grouper bite.
Each October when the water temperature starts to drop, beginning at 76 degrees and peaking at 70 degrees, the gags begin to show up on the inshore rock piles of the northern Sun coast, ranging in depth from a super-shallow 8 feet to 20 feet. He said what you’re looking for are isolated rock piles, not typical west coast limestone cheese bottom or ledges, in 15 to 20 feet.
Ed Walker prefers side scan to traditional sonar for locating rocks, not fish. The trolling lures will tell me where to begin fishing.” As for what type of rock pile to look for, Walker stresses the smaller the better for later in the season.
Once Walker catches a keeper, he marks the rock pile, both visually via his sonar and with his GPS. The quickest and easiest way of doing this is by shifting to neutral and letting your boat drift in the current and wind.
Ed uses a dry-erase marker to keep track of both the anchor heading and number of fish in the box. “An accurate anchor job, meaning the rock pile ends up just off the stern of the boat is key,” emphasized Walker.
Ideally you have the wind and tide working with you, it’s a small victory every time you get your anchor back.” But, we didn’t have any problems in our five or six stops. A couple of anchoring tips: One is, you may want to think about shackling the terminal end of the chain to the fluke end of your anchor, then use twine, wire ties or heavy mono leader to fasten the chain along the shank.
Finally, anchored up, it was time to get serious about catching our Thanksgiving Day gag. “Don’t stop’em, let the line peel off the reel.
Once your bait realizes that there’s more harm in the rocks than in the live well you won’t get him to swim back down,” said Walker. And just as Ed predicted after a swing and a miss on a grouper strike, my pinkish wouldn’t go deeper than the keel of the boat with my next attempt to send it back down.
As soon as we had a new recruit pinned to the 9/0 Owner circle hook he eagerly, and quickly, made the wrong decision and beelined it for the rocks. For line Ed uses 50-pound mono, no leader; 60-pound is too thick and jumps off the spool and 40-pound breaks too easy.
As soon as my clear keeper came over the gunnel, Ed was encouraging my father-in-law, Art, to cast his bait towards the rocks ten feet off our starboard side. Art’s fish was a keeper and Ed made an update on the console next to the anchor heading.
Within minutes, we were trolling again and equally fast we were establishing our COG and anchor heading. “No better Thanksgiving gathering than the one we spent on the rocks with Ed,” said Blair, who took this picture of family with fish.
It wasn’t even 11 a.m. when Al brought over the gunnel the biggest fish of the day and with that, Sharpie in his mouth, Ed exclaimed that his streak was alive. Rock piles north of Anecdote up to Cedar Key, on Florida’s Gulf coast, represent an important aggregation zone for pre-spawning females.
Gag eggs have to be spawned at the right time and place to ride with ocean currents to estuaries 50 to 100 miles away, where they spend their first months of life. After gag are about half a year old, they begin to move to shallow nearshore habitat.
But before this, they form all-female pre-spawning aggregations that begin to show up when the cold fronts pass through. At this time, females feed heavily to build up their reserves before migrating.
They also “size each other up” in these female-only groups, with a few fish cued to change sex (presumably the most aggressive). Dr. Sue Lowerre-Barbieri’s lab (Fri/Of) is researching gag behavior, movements, and sex change, working with knowledgeable fishermen.
Ed shares his expertise, what he is seeing on the water, and often is hired to help with sampling. As part of the gag research he has been sharing data from shallow-water respawning aggregations and dart tagging females he releases.
If you capture a gag with a dart tag, please call the Fri hotline at 1-800-367-4461, so we can better understand the habitats these iconic Florida fish. Grouper are one of the most popular species of bottom fish, highly sought after by both sportsmen and diners.
Their aggressive nature, heavyweight fighting ability and potential to grow to very large size makes them a trophy any angler is proud to add to their resume. The firm flesh and mild flavor make them very popular as a food source where ever they are found.
The term grouper does not apply to a single species of fish in the way striped bass or albacore does. Instead, grouper is a general term applied to a larger group of related sub-species all of which share similar traits.
Likewise, grouper can mean any of almost 100 different fish worldwide including red, yellow fin, black or even the enormous Goliath. Speaking of where they can be found, various species range from New England to South America, including the waters of Texas and the Gulf of Mexico.
Regardless of where you may be fishing and specific species targeted all grouper prefer to make their homes near cover, an important element when it comes to hiding from predators and hunting for their own prey. When hunting they will use the hide as a point of concealment from which they will ambush passing prey with a lightning fast gulping attack.
This is not without reason, or because the captain likes running the engines, it is because that is where the big boys live. It is common for juveniles to spend the early part of their life in the grass beds or backwater pockets, places that provide cover (at least for smaller fish) and plenty of food without the larger predators.
If your local waters include the habitat and structure grouper need there is no reason some of those juveniles would not take up permanent residence. Look for deeper shipping channels, reefs or artificial structure and fish it the same as you would offshore areas.
The technique you select will depend on specific species targeted, water conditions and equipment available. Because they are ambush feeders grouper are unlikely to chase baits or lure great distances.
In fact, their physical build is not well suited for long distance travels but is instead intended for short bursts of speed and brute strength. Popular live baits include pinkish, craters, sardines, grunts, spots and various minnows.
When selecting live bait it is always best to pick a species the local groupers are feeding on naturally. Letting the line slack and waiting for the fish relax and move into the open may give you a second chance.
Although larger spinning gear can be used successfully it is not as effective pulling large grouper from the depths. Conventional rigs allow the angler to gain more leverage, essential to over powering large fish headed to cover.
All involve the ability to take big, strong fish from deeper water and some are better than others. The biggest differences between the various techniques are the equipment needed, and this is usually what determines which style an angler will utilize.
For those who are unfamiliar with the fish finder it is a simple combination consisting of a leader, sinker and 1 or 2 hooks. Many anglers will use cut bait when bottom fishing, such as squid, which reduced the need to collect and maintain live species.
Most anglers who troll for grouper are targeting larger species with the goal of taking them for consumption. Set up involves using wire line and trolling weights, necessary to keep tackle at deeper depths.
Because you are using wire line heavy-duty rod & reel is necessary, including roller guides and tip. Once hooked up this method of trolling allows you to use the boat to pull grouper away from structure limiting its ability to enter hide.
Rig consists of long leader (sometimes several feet in length), an egg sinker and size 8/0 or 9/0 circle hook. Using a longer leader will allow heavy drag setting without restraining live bait movement.
These fishes weigh up to 900 pounds, making them very difficult to catch. It would be best if you had a lot of strength and technique to get them on the hook and pull them out of the water.
Red Grouper : These fishes are found in and around the Florida coasts. These fishes prefer to live in rocky areas where there are a lot of holes and caves.
They use these caves and holes to make it their home and hide if they sense any form of danger. These fishes are very lonely and prefer to live in very deep waters, from 20 to 200 meters.
They are known to have big mouths with very distinct lips and brown bodies with white spots. They have very powerful jaws, which they used to hunt small fishes and octopuses for their food.
They are territorial fishes and cover an area of about 500 square meters. To learn more about the specifics of the Goliath Grouper, check out Oceana.
Now the thing is, due to their size and difficulty to catch them, more often than not, when you manage to catch them, the pressure created due to their size and strength of their resistance, can break their skeletal system and hence killing them. During winter, ranging from September to March is the perfect time to fish groupers.
That is because, during the summer, they usually reside deep in some cave or hole underwater. Due to their size and strength, conventional fishing techniques cannot be used to catch a Goliath Grouper.
When you go to buy a lure, you must check if it is ideal for deep trolling or not. This kind of trolling with lures like butterfly jigs, feathers, or anything which can mimic a shellfish can attract a Grouper and is very effective.
This is very effective because, once the Grouper comes out of its shelter to take a bite, they are so far off their home that once caught, and they cannot swim back in. Frozen and natural baits such as squids, sardines, pinkish, grunts, blue runners, white mullet, squirrel fish, etc.
If you use light or less strong tackles, there will be chances to break off, which will be a problem for both you and the fish. When it comes to line and fishing Goliath Groupers, you must use monofilament instead of braid.
On the other hand, on a conventional tackle, the line goes out in the same direction as the line is wound, which helps a lot in reeling and pulling up big fishes such as the Goliath Grouper. Goliath Groupers are caught using live or dead bait with an artificial lure.
These fishes are very strong and are keen to hide in their homes when they sense danger. To do that, you just anchor somewhat close to a cave, wreck, or reef where groupers usually reside.
Make sure you do not anchor too far away from the reefs to prevent the Goliath Groupers from returning to their home because if you are too far, they will never come out to your lure. Many factors go into catching a Goliath grouper, but technique, equipment, and intelligence are the most important aspects.
Now, what are you waiting for, go get the right equipment and take a buddy, because trust us you will need the additional strength, and go off to the nearby reef and catch a Goliath Grouper ! Growing up on the south shore of Long Island, Chum Charlie has always had a passion for fishing.
Off the water, he enjoys blogging and sharing his favorite fishing tips & tricks that he has learned over the years. Grouper are well known for putting up a good fight, while also being one of the better tasting fish you can catch.
Usually they have a large body and mouth and can come in a variety of different colors depending on the specific kind of grouper. In terms of size grouper can commonly be well over 3 feet in length and weigh upwards of 200lbs.
Grouper are a saltwater fish that are commonly targeted in the southern regions of the United States and parts of South America. If you’re fishing for grouper inshore or nearshore, look for them in shallow reef areas, bridges, or near docks.
Grouper commonly eat other fish, crustaceans, and octopuses. In the autumn grouper tend to stay in deeper waters until the weather starts to cool down in the late season.
When the weather cools they will move to waters ranging from 50 to 100 feet deep. In the winter months, grouper will move close inshore or just offshore.
In the summer grouper continue their migration into deeper cooler waters. The colder winter months are a good time to catch them because they are closer to shore, however, feeding activity can be high during spring, which makes that a good opportunity to catch them as well.
When the grouper are closer to shore, spinning rods are a good choice. Stick with a heavy fast action rod around 6 to 7 feet in length.
The best ones for catching grouper are made specifically for deep trolling over shallow reefs. These kinds of lures are versatile and can be fished in a wide variety of different settings.
Though you can also use chunks of dead bait productively when targeting grouper. Sardines are considered most effective by many anglers, but you can also use squid, pinkish, mullet, and other small fish.
This is why you need to fish near coral ledges, rock piles, and other structure where they will likely be hiding in. Many anglers often use squid or sardines to get the fish into a feeding frenzy.
Here is an overview of the content of this tutorial, feel free to jump to any section you care about: 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.
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. On a snap, some anglers use bite alarms in the form of large floats.
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.
If I'm in an unfamiliar area and know a general location of live/natural bottom then that's how I find my new spots. The reason I use a down rigger is due to precise depth control and I can fish in deeper water.
I can run multiple rods staggered at different depths and cover the whole water column. Without a down rigger Stretch 30s, bomber CD30, and a your hydro magnum minnow will work(caught a lot off of it, can add weight to the bill to make it dive deeper).
When fishing on a down rigger do you use mono to stretch and absorb some shock when the lure is hit? I do catch plenty when trolling for groupers and it seems my biggest ones come off the deepest lure.
Whenever I drop bait on a spot I give it maybe 20 minutes or so, if no action by then, crank up and move. I picture groupers as being “wolves of the sea” kinda, if they are there, you'll know it soon after the drop.
Whenever I drop bait on a spot I give it maybe 20 minutes or so, if no action by then, crank up and move. Back when you could legally catch gags year round, most guys would grouper dig in the fall and winter months primarily when they moved in closer(25-45ft) I always trolled for them in the summer months in deeper water (45-80ft)and after getting my down riggers in even deeper water up to 300ft with success.
I've never actually got hung on the bottom, think its due to the way the lures run and the bill keeps the hooks protected. Also, when you get a fish on mark the spot(sounds simple enough but gets forgotten a good bit).
Back then (5 apiece then) we limited our trolling this time of year regularly with some good fish. Look at the map, a roller can score a lot of grouper over long patches of rocky bottom out of steinhatchee.