Andy is an outdoor writer (http://www.justkeepreeling.com/) and stressed-out Dad has contributed over 380 blogs to takemefishing.org since 2011. Born in Florida, but raised on banks of Oklahoma farm ponds, he now chases pike, small mouth bass, and steel head in Pennsylvania.
Subscribe to continue reading. 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.
Sliding sinker rig with 6-foot mono leader, ready to drop sardine, pinkish or other bait. “Sometimes it’s hard to grouper fish with Mali swimming around your boat, but our stretch of offshore reefs can give up some really quality gags and scamps this time of year, particularly on spots deeper than 120 feet,” he said.
The rig consists of an egg sinker sliding on an 18-inch piece of 100-pound mono between two swivels. A 6-foot piece of 100-pound mono leads to a circle hook, with the size depending on the bait.
Keep the sinker pinned against the bottom swivel and at the first sign of panic in the bait, let him swim away from the weight unencumbered. Johnson says he’d always prefer to hook his live spots, grunts, and pinkish behind the anal fin, but cautions that you have to consider the current.
Some bait shops may have pinkish you can buy, but we recommend going out a day before your grouper trip and catching some above bait fish to store in your live well. If you’re targeting a rock pile or wreck, anchor your boat up current and throw some old cut bait in the water.
A regular bottom fishing tackle setup is a great place to start. We like using a 6 to 7-foot long heavy action rod paired with a bottom-fishing reel and 50 lb test braided line.
Like we mentioned earlier, we usually fish for grouper off the coast of Florida and the Gulf of Mexico, so these are the species you’ll most likely encounter there. 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 are structure and bait fish nearby. Their massive size means you need to fish with an extra heavy-duty set up in order to stand a chance.
One of the first mistakes amateur grouper fishermen make is keeping their drag at a normal level. This is a big mistake when fishing for grouper due to their tendency to retreat back to rocky holes and tunnels after they take your bait.
IF your drag is set high, it will be much harder for them to make it back to their rocky hideouts before you can reel them away. Drifting allows you to cover more water and get your bait in front of more fish than if you anchor your boat.
Since oftentimes the difference between catching a grouper and not is just finding them, drifting allows you to maximize your chances enticing them to bite. As long as the current isn’t too strong and your lures aren’t down too deep, you should still be able to keep your live/dead bait right where you want it.
Since they live at deeper depths than other sports fish, they still enjoy feeding when the surface bite is off. This is why it’s always a good idea to have a bottom fishing reel and rod ready for off days.
Now that you know what the proper grouper bait is and how to fish it, you’ll be prepared next time you get out on the water. 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.
Photo by #BullbusterAmbassador Big Bully Outdoors of some nice grouper caught on Bull buster Braid ! Red Grouper are plentiful on shallow reefs on both the Atlantic and Gulf Coasts.
As always “DearMeatForDinner” puts together a great production on how to fillet a fish. Check out this video he posted on how to fillet your red grouper.
* Also remember the sharper your knife the easier it is going to be filleted your fish. This is one of the best meats inside a grouper, so we decided to share this recipe with you first.
Old Bay Seasoning Olive Oil Lime Parsley How To Make Oven Roasted Red Grouper This video posted by “cooking guide” shows you how to make some gourmet oven roasted Red Grouper.
Two Fillets Of Grouper Salt Pepper Garlic Thyme Lemon Butter Arugula How To Make Thai Style Red Grouper : This is a great recipe posted by “LearnToCook”.
Place stick-cut carrot and celery on bottom half of foil. Pour 1 T coconut milk/curry paste mixture over fish and add minced ginger and garlic.4.
We hope you enjoyed our article on cooking red grouper at will eventually try at least a few of these recipes! This article was part of a series of articles on how to cook your catch, and part of a bigger goal that Bull buster has to help you spend more time fishing.
We have posted recipes in this article series that have been around in a fishing family for over three generations, we hope that we can keep these traditions alive as part of our mission to help you spend more time fishing. Learn how to fillet your shook and make some awesome food with it.
This could be anything from the shipping channels inside the bay to rock piles and ledges in the gulf. What you may not know is that many anglers are hauling up this highly desirable big game fish right just outside the waters of Lands End Marina in the bay.
They might take up residence around a small rock, it could be a ledge, or along the vertical wall of a shipping channel. Newcomers or anglers hoping to land fish should look for grouper hiding around any of these types of bottom that provide cover.
Use the current or wind to drop your anchor away from where you're fishing and swing back to the spot. Sometimes adjusting your spot by letting out anchor rope or hauling it in can make a huge difference in catching fish.
Use enough weight to get down and hold, a 2 to 8 ounce sinkers on a 2- to 3-foot heavy monofilament or fluorocarbon leader will reduce break offs. Remember to use circle hooks when bottom fishing to stay compliant with the law.