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Grouper Season Gulf

author
Bob Roberts
• Sunday, 04 October, 2020
• 7 min read

The FCC (Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission) manages the Gulf of Mexico and Atlantic Ocean differently, and it’s important to know what’s in season and what you can harvest from each shoreline. The Gulf of Mexico is a unique body of water that provides commercial and recreational anglers plenty of fishing opportunities.

grouper gulf florida season fl patch pinellas beaches
(Source: patch.com)

Contents

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.

gag grouper season gulf open florida region county remain state
(Source: coastalanglermag.com)

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.

gag fishing grouper gulf season waters federal state mexico open recreational map regulations across saltwater groupers june most ocala myfwc
(Source: www.chronicleonline.com)

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.

Western boundary of the 4-county gag grouper recreational harvest region. Eastern boundary of the 4-county gag grouper recreational harvest region.

In the Atlantic and state waters of Monroe County, the grouper closure ends April 30, and harvest will reopen May 1. 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. Scientific Livestock Status RecreationalCommercial Season Open June 1 – December 31.

grouper gulf gag season waters recreational state
(Source: wnwpressrelease.wordpress.com)

If landings reach the recreational ACL, harvest will be prohibited for the remainder of the fishing year. Season Gag grouper is managed under an individual fishing quota (If) program.

Anyone commercially fishes for gag grouper must possess allocation and follow established protocols. Additionally, an eastern Gulf reef fish bottom longline endorsement required to use bottom longline for Gulf reef fish in the federal waters east of 85°30 longitude.

Gear Non-stainless steel circle hooks are required when fishing with natural baits. Gear Non-stainless steel circle hooks are required when fishing with natural baits.

In general, gag is a gray to light brown with darker wavy markings that create a marbled look on the sides of the body. Adults prefer coastal water structures such as reefs and rocky bottoms at depths up to 500 feet (152 meters).

Gag form spawning aggregations offshore in winter and early spring. 4 Gags is a broadcast spawner with external fertilization, meaning males and females emit eggs and sperm into the water column during spawning.

grouper gulf florida season patch
(Source: patch.com)

Juveniles shelter in seagrasses, mangroves and oyster reefs before they become old enough to migrate offshore. Gag displays protogynous Hermaphroditus, meaning they begin life as females first then a portion of the population transitions to male.

Cooperative monitoring program for spawning aggregations in the Gulf of Mexico: data portal. Gag grouper will close to recreational harvest in Gulf state and federal waters Jan. 1, 2021.

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, the grouper closure ends April 30, and harvest will reopen May 1.

Rebecca Barry She is thrilled to be in the River City where she can catch the JU Dolphin's games and study the diverse weather patterns. 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.

The 2020 Gulf Recreational Red Snapper season started June 11th and ends July 25th. Important note, rules and regulations are known to change so always check with the FCC at myfwc.com before you keep any Gulf fish.

grouper gulf mexico season gag waters state nov close
(Source: wnwpressrelease.wordpress.com)

Sometimes, fish is improperly frozen or is pushed to the back of the freezer only to be found a year later. Keep as much as you think you can use, or bring it to one of our many harbor-front restaurants that will cook your catch, including Brother's Seafood & Steamer.

A good rule of thumb I use is that an average 20-inch red snapper weighs about 4 pounds and will yield about 40 ounces of clean table-ready fish. Your captain will assume they should keep every (fish) you pull up, but you'll be ready to surprise them with your thoughtful and responsible approach.

View the recently listed properties, including Gulf -front condos and vacation homes in Destiny, Florida. Contact him via email at for more insight into fishing and real estate along Florida's Emerald Coast.

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Sources
1 dlnr.hawaii.gov - https://dlnr.hawaii.gov/ais/peacock-grouper/
2 www.thegardenisland.com - https://www.thegardenisland.com/2019/12/29/lifestyles/meet-roi-the-peacock-grouper/
3 seaunseen.com - https://seaunseen.com/peacock-grouper/
4 underwater2web.com - http://underwater2web.com/roi-hawaiis-most-dangerous-invasive-fish-species/
5 nas.er.usgs.gov - https://nas.er.usgs.gov/queries/FactSheet.aspx
6 www.youtube.com - https://www.youtube.com/watch
7 www.hawaii.edu - http://www.hawaii.edu/malamalama/2009/06/peacock-grouper-not-for-consumption-in-hawaii/
8 en.wikipedia.org - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hawaiian_grouper
9 hawaiinearshorefishing.com - https://hawaiinearshorefishing.com/tag/peacock-grouper/