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Grouper Size Chart

author
Ava Flores
• Tuesday, 20 October, 2020
• 20 min read

Friendly, helpful and informative anglers really make you feel like part of their online fishing community! HABITAT: Both juveniles and adults frequent inshore holes and ledges, often on deeper grass flats.

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(Source: rogerdhall.deviantart.com)

Contents

DESCRIPTION: Gray or light brown with wavy markings on the side that generally do not form boxes or circles. Color deepens to dark brown shortly after removal from water.

GAME QUALITIES: An aggressive striker and hard fighter at all depths. Offshore bottom fishermen tend toward stout rods with 50- and 80-pound-test lines, but such grouper digging” rigs are strictly necessary only in very deep water.

Many anglers catch lots of Gags on spinning and plug tackle. Hard-lure casters use Deadhead jigs, mostly, while rollers rely on large deep-diving plugs.

Live bait fish of various sorts are the best natural offerings-try Pilchards, Pinkish, Grunts or Sand Perch (Squirrel fish). Dead small fish and large cut baits also work well.

BLACK GROUPER (Mycteroperca Monaco) OTHER NAMES: Monaco Ararat Again 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.

(Source: waihana.com)

Even big fish, however, may roam to much shallower patch reefs, especially in cooler seasons. SIZE : The largest of our Mycteroperca groupers, the Black frequently exceeds 50 pounds in weight and can top 100.

TACKLE AND BAITS: For all-around work, ocean gear with lines of 30-pound test or higher gets the call. 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.

DESCRIPTION: Shows various colors, including two major phases, one of which would make it difficult to tell from the Black Grouper were it not for the bright yellow trim of the pectoral fins. SCAMP (Mycteroperca final) OTHER NAMES: Brown Grouper, Broom tail Grouper, Amadeo RANGE: Most plentiful along the Gulf Coast and roughly the upper half of the Florida Atlantic Coast.

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(Source: www.floridagofishing.com)

Not common in South Florida and the Bahamas, where it is largely replaced by the similar Yellow mouth Grouper (next). HABITAT: Sometimes fairly close to shore, but generally sticks to deep reefs and ledges offshore.

Elongated rays of the caudal fin give the broom tail appearance. GAME QUALITIES: Outstanding on light tackle, but most are overpowered by heavy gear.

TACKLE AND BAITS: Sheer depth-typical of many Panhandle bottom-fishing drops-may necessitate rods and lines stout enough to handle very heavy sinkers. Deadhead jigs weighing 3/4 of an ounce to 11/2 ounces get lots of strikes with light gear-and if the bare jig isn't producing, it can be tipped with a strip of cut bait, or a whole small bait fish, and used as a bottom fishing rig.

Large diving plugs draw strikes in fairly shallow water-to about 50 feet. YELLOWMOUTH GROUPER (Mycteroperca interstitial is) OTHER NAMES: Salmon Rock fish RANGE: Most common in the Bahamas but found in South Florida, especially the Keys, and on Gulf reefs.

HABITAT: Occasionally on shallow patches, but more on deeper reefs to 120 feet or so near the edge of blue water. DESCRIPTION: Almost a ringer for the Scamp, except that the inside and corners of the mouth are yellow.

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(Source: savethebeachvillingili.wordpress.com)

GAME QUALITIES: A tough fighter on tackle of reasonable size. TIGER GROUPER (Mycteroperca Tigris) OTHER NAMES: Monaco NATO RANGE: More common in the Bahamas, but seen fairly often in the Keys.

DESCRIPTION: Dark markings against a dusty gray background form vivid oblique stripes on the upper sides. TACKLE AND BAITS: Heavy spinning and bait casting outfits, along with light boat rods and lines up to 20- or 30-pound test.

Tigers will take a variety of artificial, including jigs and trolling plugs. HABITAT: Juveniles to around 100 pounds frequent mangrove creeks and bays of Southwest Florida, especially the Ten A Thousand Islands and Everglades National Park.

Adults can be found at a variety of depths, from holes and channels of coastal waters out to offshore ledges and reefs; also around pilings of bridges and under deepwater docks and piers. Numerous black spots are usually present as well on head, sides and fins.

Adults have the same pattern but in more subdued shades of brown that are not so brilliantly contrasted. The tail is round, as are the posterior, dorsal, anal and pectoral fins.

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(Source: peerj.com)

FOOD VALUE: Small ones excellent and big ones darn good which was the main reason for their precipitous decline and total closure in Florida in the 1980s. Some very big ones have been caught on very light lines in shallow water after being coaxed away from obstructions, but the giant Jewish around deep wrecks defy the heaviest sporting tackle.

TACKLE AND BAITS: Bait casting, spinning and even fly tackle make acceptable matchups for the inshore fish, which will and often do hit the full range of lures and flies that are used by Shook casters. WARSAW GROUPER (Epimetheus nitrites) OTHER NAMES: Giant Grouper, Black Jewish, Garuda Neurite RANGE: All Florida coasts, Atlantic and Gulf, but not reported from the Bahamas.

Party boats working offshore waters of the state's upper half both Gulf and Atlantic seem to bring in Warsaw's more often than elsewhere. Large specimens (which most are) can be somewhat coarse unless the fillets are cut into thin steaks for frying or baking.

GAME QUALITIES: Great strength is the hallmark of the Warsaw's fighting arsenal, and the angler who gets one on a manual rod and reel will know he's been in a tug-of-war. TACKLE AND BAITS: Only the heaviest rods, large reels and lines testing 80 pounds or more are really adequate.

Catches on lighter tackle are opportunistic and rare, and usually of the smaller specimens. Fairly large whole fish, or halved bonito and other hefty cut baits are all productive whenever they can be dropped to within gulping range of a Warsaw.

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(Source: floridakeystreasures.com)

RED GROUPER (Epimetheus Mario) OTHER NAMES: Hero, China De Vivero RANGE: Common throughout Florida; also present in the Bahamas and common in some areas. HABITAT: Widely distributed from close inshore in many areas of Florida to ledges and wrecks in up to 300 or so feet of water.

DESCRIPTION: Overall light or rusty red with whitish spots and large blotches. No black mark on caudal peduncle fleshy area between tail and posterior dorsal fin.

Although Reds will “hole up” like other Groupers, many are hooked on light and fairly light tackle in areas where cover is well scattered, and this gives them the chance to demonstrate their toughness to best advantage. They are ready strikers on Deadhead jigs, fished with light tackle.

HABITAT: Prefers coral reefs, and probably does not roam into water much deeper than 120 feet or so. In the Islands, small specimens are common over inshore patches, and also in creeks and channels.

DESCRIPTION: Looks much like the Red Grouper in shape and pattern, although the basic coloration tends more to brown or gray than reddish. FOOD VALUE: Small ones are excellent; fish over 10 pounds are almost as good, but harvest is currently prohibited in Florida.

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(Source: blog.dandkmotorsports.com)

TACKLE AND BAITS: Most are caught by potluck reef or creek fishermen on light ocean gear or stout bait casting and spinning outfits-all using lines of 12-20 pounds. Cut fish, conch or squid all make good baits, and Nassau's will also strike jigs, spoons and underwater or surface plugs.

Bigger fish on rough coral reefs require heavy tackle for bottom-fishing, and can also be caught by trolling with feather-and-strip baits or with large swimming plugs. RED HIND (Epimetheus Gustavus) OTHER NAMES: Strawberry, Sandwich Grouper, Cabrillo, Sofia RANGE: Very plentiful on Bahamas reefs in 40-80 feet.

Caudal, anal and posterior dorsal fins edged in black. TACKLE AND BAITS: In some reef areas of the Bahamas, Red Hinds can be caught to the point of boredom by drifting and bouncing the bottom with jigs.

ROCK HIND (Epimetheus ascensions) OTHER NAMES: Rock Cod, Cabre Morey, Hero Cabrillo RANGE: Widespread in Florida and the Bahamas, often in company with the Red Hind, but usually less plentiful in southern portions of the range. DESCRIPTION: The Rock Hind is mostly brown or tan in background color.

Has spots similar to those of the Red Hind, but also is marked by large, dark blotches on the upper sides usually two, but often more. SIZE : About the same as the Red Hind, but maximum may be slightly larger to 8 or 9 pounds.

(Source: waihana.com)

CONEY (Epimetheus Julius) OTHER NAMES: Golden Coney, Golden Grouper, Cultivar, Crunch RANGE: South Florida, Bahamas and Caribbean. DESCRIPTION: A very small Grouper, the Coney is seen in various color phases, including vivid yellow, gold-and-brown, red-and-brown.

Grassy (Epimetheus orientates) OTHER NAMES: Enable, Cuba Cabrillo RANGE: South Florida, Bahamas and Caribbean. GAME QUALITIES: Aggressive striker, sometimes on surprisingly large lures, but too small to put up a fight.

TACKLE AND BAITS: Like the Coney, a common reef catch when small hooks are used. SPECKLED HIND (Epimetheus drummondhayi) OTHER NAMES: Kitty Mitchell, Calico Grouper RANGE: Both coasts of Florida, but most often caught in the Keys and this is probably because of heavy fishing around well-known seamounts or “humps,” particularly off the Keys towns of Marathon and Islamabad.

DESCRIPTION: Generally dark gray or reddish brown, with a profusion of small, creamy or white spots on sides, gill covers and fins. It is theorized that the great pressures under which they live helps make the flesh more succulent.

GAME QUALITIES: Seldom caught on sporting gear, but when they are especially if that gear is a reasonably light outfit, the fight begins strong but diminishes fast as the fish is brought higher in the water column. MARBLED GROUPER (Epimetheus INERIS) RANGE: Bahamas and South Florida.

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(Source: www.mexican-fish.com)

DESCRIPTION: Dark brown or charcoal with numerous white spots. TACKLE AND BAITS: Power reels and cut bait fish or squid.

SNOWY GROUPER (Epimetheus hiatus) OTHER NAMES: Golden Grouper RANGE: Occurs in deep water throughout Florida and the Western Bahamas; probably Eastern Bahamas as well. DESCRIPTION: Dark gray or brown with scattered whitish spots.

Dorsal, pectoral and anal fins have yellow outer edges. Likes rocky areas, wrecks, channels with hard bottom, jetties, deep holes in grass flats.

DESCRIPTION: Color is generally black or charcoal, with blue highlights and tiny white spots or stripes on dorsal fin. The flesh is mild and white but, sadly, most Sea Bass caught these days are too small to be worthwhile.

The occasional outsize specimen should be filleted and skinned, but take care when doing so, because gill covers are sharp and so are the spines. GAME QUALITIES: A hard and willing striker on both natural baits and a variety of artificial lures.

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(Source: www.shrimpnfishflorida.com)

Sea Bass greedily hit live or dead shrimp and all sorts of cut baits, along with live small bait fish and artificial jigs and underwater plugs. SAND PERCH (Di plectrum Formosa) OTHER NAMES: Coral Snapper, Squirrel fish, Solo RANGE: Both coasts of Florida, north to south.

HABITAT: Sand Perch are found from bays and shorelines to well offshore over a variety of bottoms. They seem to prefer rather open bottom with patches of grass or scattered rock, and they also like deep channels.

DESCRIPTION: Slender, cylindrical shape, with large mouth and wide tail. Color is tan with brown vertical bars or blotches, and full-length horizontal lines of blue and orange.

GAME QUALITIES: Very aggressive, Sand Perch often hit baits and lures meant for much larger fish. Small jigs, either plain or tipped with a piece of shrimp or cut bait, will produce the most, but any sort of bottom rig and natural bait will do the job.

These large fish are associated with hard structure such as reefs (both natural and artificial), rocks, and ledges. It was easy for commercial and recreational fisherman to catch Nassau grouper and it soon became scarce.

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(Source: waihana.com)

Because their range exceeds national borders, the best approach to their conservation is regional closed seasons. Sampling of fish landed in the U.S. Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico during the 1970s and 1980s indicates that Nassau grouper were commonly caught, mostly from spawning aggregation sites.

Currently, Nassau grouper are occasionally reported during underwater reef surveys at low density. Coloration varies, but adult fish are generally light beige, with five dark brown vertical bars, a large black saddle blotch on top of the base of the tail, and a row of black spots below and behind each eye.

They can be distinguished from other groupers by the vertical bars and dark saddle coloring along the dorsal part of the area preceding the tail. Color pattern can change within minutes from almost white too bicolored to uniformly dark brown, according to the behavioral state of the fish.

They take advantage of lower light levels at dawn and dusk, combined with the higher number of prey during changeover between diurnal and nocturnal fishes. Nassau grouper are found in tropical and subtropical waters of the western North Atlantic.

This includes Bermuda, Florida, Bahamas, the Yucatán Peninsula, and throughout the Caribbean to southern Brazil. There has been one verified report of Nassau grouper in the Gulf of Mexico at Flower Gardens Bank.

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(Source: www.pnj.com)

The Nassau grouper is considered a reef fish, but it transitions as it grows through a series of shifts in both habitat and diet. As juveniles, they are found in nearshore shallow waters in macro algal and seagrass habitats.

The main influences on where they live are not known, though water clarity, habitat, and bent hos (the community of organisms in the seabed) seem to be important. Nassau grouper tend to spend a lot of time in one spot, often on a high-relief coral reefs or rocks in clear water.

World map providing approximate representation of the Nassau grouper's range. Nassau grouper pass through a juvenile bisexual phase, then mature directly as males or females.

While adult Nassau groupers can change sex after hormone injection, natural sex-change has not been confirmed. Sites have been found near the edges of reefs, as little as 50 yards from the shore, near drop-offs into deeper water across a wide range of depths (20 to 200 feet) and environments (including soft corals, sponges, stony coral outcrops, and sandy depressions).

Some more information on how Nassau grouper get to their spawning sites, based on limited observations: After 1 to 2 months of floating with the ocean currents, the larvae settle in nearshore shallow waters in macro algal and seagrass habitats.

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(Source: fishingbooker.com)

Adults are relatively solitary, living in areas that (patchily) overlap other groupers’ home ranges. In some countries with protective regulations, there are too few enforcement officers to cover a large geographic area with many landing locations.

Reading Time: 7minutesGroupers are some of Florida’s most iconic fish species. From monster Goliath's to delicious Scamps, these big bottom-dwellers are a favorite on most Floridian fishing trips.

In this article, you can learn all about the different types of Grouper in Florida. The average catch in Florida is around half that length, weighing between 5 and 20 pounds.

Black Grouper live around rocky bottoms and reefs on both sides of the Sunshine State. They spend their summers spawning in much shallower seas, though, as little as 30 feet deep.

Commonly known as “Grey Grouper,” these guys are a staple of reef fishing trips around the Gulf and up the Atlantic. They don’t grow as big as Black Grouper, usually maxing out somewhere around 50 pounds.

grouper goliath wetsuit weight
(Source: waihana.com)

However, younger Gags can be found in estuaries and even seagrass beds, so don’t be surprised if you hook one while you’re on the hunt for Redfish and other inshore species. Bigger fish hunt around muddy and rocky coastal waters.

Young Goliath's will head right into estuaries and look for food around oyster bars. Their huge size and fearless curiosity made them an easy target, and they were overfished almost to extinction in the late 20th century.

Luckily, Goliath Grouper are strictly protected these days, and you can only fish for them on a catch-and-release basis. From teaming up with other predators to catch their dinner to reportedly fanning bait out of traps for an easy snack, they’re far brighter than most people give them credit for.

Sadly, this intelligence comes with the same natural curiosity that put Goliath Grouper in hot water. If you come across one, count yourself lucky for the chance to meet it and make sure it swims off unharmed.

Nothing says “reef fishing in Florida” like a boastful of big, tasty Red Grouper. These deep-water hunters are the reason people bother to go offshore when there are so many fish in the shallows.

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(Source: waihana.com)

The average Red Grouper weighs somewhere in the 5–10 lb range, and anything over 2 feet long is a rare catch. They live around rocky bottom up to 1,000 feet down, so you may have to travel 20 miles or more to get to them.

According to most people who have caught them, Scamp are the tastiest fish in the family. You won’t come across them in much less than 100 feet of water, and you can easily find them in three or four times that depth.

They also grow much bigger than Scamp, meaning you’re in for a real feast if you catch one. If you’re set on landing a “Snowier,” get ready for a long ride.

NOAA has declared Speckled Hind a Species of Concern, mainly because they have so little data on them. If Goliath Grouper are the kings of the shallows, these guys dominate the deep.

Add in the fact that they live several hundred feet down, where all fish taste great, and they become the dream catch of many deep dropping enthusiasts. Their dappled, red body and bright yellow fins provide camouflage around the deep, rocky structure that they hunt around.

grouper goliath wetsuit
(Source: waihana.com)

Yellow fin’s scientific name, Mycteroperca Vanessa, roughly translates to “Poisonous Grouper.” This is because they tend to have very high levels of ciguatoxin. They’re slightly smaller than Scamp on average, but many anglers say that they taste just as good.

Yellow mouth Grouper are uncommon in the Gulf of Mexico, but you can bag yourself a colorful feast all along Florida’s Atlantic Coast. Coastal Recreational Fishing License: Persons engaged in recreational fishing in North Carolina coastal waters are required to possess a Coastal Recreational Fishing License in accordance with G.S.

48 quarts (heads on) or 30 quarts (heads off) of shrimp per person per day or if vessel is used, per vessel per day (CGL max. 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.

State: Must have heads and fins intact through landing Gear rules require circle hooks and hooking tools in Gulf waters reef fish fisheries.

grouper goliath wetsuit
(Source: waihana.com)

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

Eastern boundary of the 4-county gag grouper recreational harvest region. Daily Bag: 5 Min Length: 14 inches Max Length: 30 inches No more than one black drum over 52 inches may be retained per person per day and counts as part of the daily bag limit and possession limit.

Daily Bag: 3 Min Length: 20 inches Max Length: 28 inches During a license year, one red drum over the stated maximum length limit may be retained when affixed with a properly completed Red Drum Tag and one red drum over the stated maximum length limit may be retained when affixed with a properly completed Bonus Red Drum Tag. Any fish retained under authority of a Red Drum Tag or a Bonus Red Drum Tag may be retained in addition to the daily bag and possession limit as stated in this section.

grouper goliath wetsuit
(Source: waihana.com)

Non-offset, non-stainless steel circle hooks MUST be used when fishing for sharks in state waters. Min Length: 24 inches Max Length: No limit Min Length: 99 inches Max Length: No limit Min Length: 64 inches Max Length: No limit Atlantic angel, Basking, Big eye sand tiger, Big eye six gill, Big eye thresher, Big nose, Caribbean reef, Caribbean sharp nose, Dusky, Galápagos, Long fin make, Narrow tooth, Night, Oceanic White tip, Sandbar, Sand tiger, Seven gill, Silky, Six gill, Small tail, Whale, and White.

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Sources
1 en.wikipedia.org - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Atlantic_goliath_grouper
2 simplyeducate.me - https://simplyeducate.me/2014/11/26/facts-about-the-goliath-grouper/
3 myfwc.com - https://myfwc.com/fishing/saltwater/recreational/goliath/
4 www.petworlds.net - https://www.petworlds.net/goliath-grouper/