The Gulf covers most of Florida ’s west coast, from Pensacola in the Panhandle to the start of the Everglades at the tip of the peninsula. This is important to keep in mind as there are different regulations for what’s in season and what you can harvest depending on if you’re in state or federal waters.
For Gag Grouper fishing in the Gulf, it’s important to note what county you’re embarking from. For counties of Franklin, Weibull, Taylor and Jefferson (in the Panhandle area from Apalachicola to Steinhatchee) there is open season in state waters from April 1 to June 30, and again from September 1 to December 31.
Black, Red, Scamp, Yellow fin and Yellow mouth Grouper all have similar regulations in the Gulf. It’s open season in both state and federal waters for Rock Hind, Coney, Yellow edge and Snowy Groupers.
You can ask your charter captain if the size you have is a keeper or not; or refer to the FCC regulations to make sure you’re staying compliant. Now moving east to the beautiful Atlantic Ocean where there are excellent opportunities for grouper fishing.
Keep in mind, the FCC considers the Everglades and Florida Keys as part of the Atlantic Ocean waters, and all fishing done in these areas must stay within Atlantic-specific regulations. From the Florida Keys to Jacksonville, anglers have hundreds of cities to choose from to launch your grouper expedition.
The real question is, what subspecies of grouper you’ll find at the end of your line. East Coast anglers should mark your calendars for May 1, this is when Gag Grouper and Black Grouper season opens from the Keys to Duval County (Jacksonville area).
The Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council would like to gain a better understanding of what’s happening on the water. All anglers on the Atlantic and Gulf coasts of Florida who intend to fish for or harvest certain reef fish from a private vessel are required to obtain the State Reef Fish Angler designation.
Those with a Gulf Reef Fish Angler designation will meet the statewide requirement until the Gulf designation expires, even if you are fishing on the Atlantic coast. Gulf state waters are from shore to 9 nautical miles.
Atlantic state waters are from shore to 3 nautical miles. Participation mandatory to fish for grouper in Florida waters.
Expand All | Collapse All 1 gag or black within the 3 grouper aggregate Note: In the Atlantic reef fish fishery, gear rules require hooking tools, and as of Jan. 1, 2021, non-stainless steel hooks in all state waters, and non-offset circle hooks N. of 28 ° N. latitude.
Several species of Gulf grouper (red, black, scamp, yellow fin and yellow mouth) are closed Feb. 1-March 31 seaward of the 20-fathom break. Recreational anglers are encouraged to use electronic charting equipment to plot the 20-fathom break by entering the established coordinates listed on the map below into a route.
Monroe County: Several species of Atlantic grouper (red, black, yellow fin, yellow mouth, scamp, rock hind, red hind, Coney and grays by) are closed Jan. 1 – April 30 in all state and federal waters of the Atlantic including all state waters off Monroe County (Atlantic and Gulf sides). During this closure, anglers can harvest grouper in open federal waters of the Gulf and return to port in Monroe County by traveling through closed state waters of the Atlantic as long as the vessel proceeds directly to port without stopping to fish.
This big gag was caught on a recent 39-hour trip aboard a party boat out of Hubbard’s Marina. The gag grouper recreational season in Gulf state waters off Franklin, Weibull, Jefferson and Taylor counties will open for harvest Sept. 1 through Dec. 31.
Sight casting opportunities for trout, redfish and black drum are tricky. Conditions through the next few days suggest this technique will work the best early in the morning before the winds come up.
Black drum are taking natural and cut baits near the canal and deeper channels. The most important part of grouper fishing is getting those first few cranks on the reel when the strike comes to keep it out of its hole.
The pompano run may well be in the rearview mirror, but there is still plenty of fun to be had at the beach. Big jacks up to 30 pounds can be caught by surf casters heaving large top water plugs and spoons.
Fish in the 2-3-pound range are lying in ambush anywhere seagrass can be found, sitting on the end of points around mangrove shorelines and even along seawalls where shook, jacks and flounder can also be caught. At first light, toss hard top water plugs like Mirrors, Papal Skitter walks or X-Raps.
The reef just off the North Jetty at Sebastian Inlet State Park where the shook always stage has been a good place to catch and release an overshot. Fish inside the inlet along the shorelines for a better chance at a slot sizes nook.
For gag grouper, state waters off Franklin, Weibull, Taylor and Jefferson counties will reopen to harvest April 1 through June 30 and Sept. 1 through Dec. 31. In the Atlantic and state waters of Monroe County, several species of grouper, including gag, will reopen May 1.