Early deep-droppers found a wide array of new species available to them, things like queen and silk snappers, long tail bass, golden tile fish, barrel fish, speckled hinds and snowy groupers. With the possible exception of golden tile fish, which really prefer deeper waters, the yellow edge is the most common fish caught by deep-droppers.
And just as good, maybe better yet, they are almost universally acclaimed to be the best tasting member of the entire grouper clan. Their range starts off of the Carolina son the East Coast, wraps around Florida through the entire Gulf of Mexico, rings every island in the Caribbean and goes down the South American Coast to southern Brazil.
They are an oddity within the grouper family, in which most species prefer reefs, shipwrecks, rock piles and other high-profile bottom structure for their homes. Most preferred seem to be hard bottoms liberally encrusted with coral-like growths on them, called “live bottom.” But the fish is also found on clay, sand and even mud bottoms in their preferred depth zone.
Big yellow edges dominate smaller specimens and will hog the available food supply. Small yellow fin groupers’ bodies are often marked with orderly, widely spaced rows of white spots.
White body spots are a signature marking on their close deep-water relative, the snowy grouper. They are most commonly colored gray or pinkish, and heavily marked with mottling or blotches.
In any case, the change apparently happens very quickly, as biologists seldom examine a fish in transition from female to male. Females begin turning into males at about 23 inches long and 13 years of age.
Spawning takes place from January through October, peaking in May to September. Second, since they are protogynous hermaphrodites and males are found only in the larger (and more aggressive and easy to catch) size classes, heavy fishing pressure on larger fish may take enough males to lower spawning success in this species.
Scientific classification Kingdom: Animalia Phylum: Chordata Class: Actinopterygii Order: Performed Family: Serranidae Subfamily: Epinephrine Tribe: Epinephrine Genus: Epimetheus Species: Binomial name Epimetheus award Synonyms Serra nus award Terminal & Schlemiel, 1842 The yellow grouper has a body with a standard length which is 2.7 to 3.3 times greater than its depth.
The dorsal fin contains 11 spines and 15-16 soft rays while the anal fin has 3 spines and 8 soft rays. The membranes between the dorsal fin spines are deeply incised.
The head and body are pale grayish brown on the upper parts and are normally golden yellow on the underparts, There are 4 wide dark bars on the upper portion of the body with one on the caudal peduncle and sometimes there is another showing on the nape. The head and body are marked with many small yellow spots.
The adults are found at depths of 10 to 50 meters (33 to 164 ft). It is a predatory species which preys on crustaceans such as shrimp and crabs as well as fish and cephalopods.
The yellow grouper is a protogynous hermaphrodite and, in Hong Kong, spawning takes place from February and March through to May, in Taiwan these fish spawn in June and July, while in Zhejiang, China from May to July. The yellow grouper is a species of high economic value as a food fish and is caught with trawls and hook and line.
It is grown in aquaculture but this appears to be reliant on wild caught fry. In some countries it is used as an ornamental fish due to the attractive colors it shows.
Groupers of the world (family Serranidae, subfamily Epinephrine). An annotated and illustrated catalog of the grouper, rock cod, hind, coral grouper and lyre tail species known to date (PDF).
^ Scholar, William N. ; Cricket, Ron & van der Loan, Richard (eds.). “ ^ Mini Li; Yongsheng Than; Hunting Li; et al. “The complete mitochondrial genome of the hybrid offspring Epimetheus award × Epimetheus tubular”.
Similar Species: Black grouper, M. Monaco (lacks bright yellow on outer third of pectoral fins) Scientific name translates to “venomous,” alluding to the fact that this fish, perhaps more frequently than other groupers, is associated with ciguatera poisoning.
Stock Status RecreationalCommercialSeasonOpen year-round. Season Yellow edge grouper is managed under an individual fishing quota (If) program. Anyone commercially fishes for yellow edge 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. The yellow edge grouper ’s range extends from North Carolina to Florida, including the Gulf of Mexico, to southern Brazil.
This grouper is a tan to grayish brown color on its back and sides, fading to a pale white below. A thin blue line extends from the eyes to the corner of the bottom edge of the cheek.
The juvenile yellow edge has indistinct pale spots that fade as the fish ages. A solitary species, yellow edge grouper prefers rocky, sandy, muddy bottoms or reefs.
In habitats with soft bottoms, this fish has been observed to dig and occupy burrows. Juvenile fish are found in shallower water and move out to deeper depths as they grow older.
5 Adults can be found at depths typically from 410 to 984 feet (125 – 300 meters). Marine and Coastal Fisheries, 8: 177-201. Doi: 1080/19425120.2015.1024359 IFA All Tackle Record, Dauphin Island, Alabama Obama, S., B. Eris man, W. Haman, C. Biggs, N. Farmer, S. Lowerre-Barbieri, M. Karnataka, and J. Brenner.
Cooperative monitoring program for spawning aggregations in the Gulf of Mexico: data portal. Validation of yellow edge grouper, Epimetheus flavolimbatus, age using nuclear bomb-produced radiocarbon.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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. Juveniles are brilliantly marked with a series of irregular dark brown bars against a light brown or gray background, extending from head to tail.
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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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.
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. 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.