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Hooks For Grouper Fishing

author
Maria Garcia
• Friday, 17 September, 2021
• 7 min read

There are quite a few other species of grouper that are found in deeper waters and throughout the Bahamas and other locations. For the most part, their habits are very similar and will be treated all the same when it comes to tackle and techniques.

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Contents

The one thing that all groupers have in common is that they are bottom dwelling, structure oriented fish. Seldom will one be found high up in the water column or on sandy bottom with no structure.

Penn is THE name in saltwater tackle and makes some excellent equipment at reasonable prices. This can handle most the bottom fishing situations as well as some light tackle trolling.

Anglers using conventional tackle for grouper fishing can choose a reel with a level wind or one without. Level winds are nice in that the line is spooled up evenly as it is retrieved.

Many old school grouper fishing reels such as the venerable Penn 4/0 do not have a level wind. Goliath grouper grow hundreds of pounds and requires special tackle.

Anglers fishing in hundreds of feet of water in the Atlantic Ocean with heavy lead will need a stouter outfit than those fishing in 40 feet of water in the Gulf of Mexico. Anglers fishing in shallow, clear water sometimes find that lighter spinning tackle makes a more natural presentation.

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Some anglers simply prefer the comfort and feel of a spinning outfit. This mostly occurs in the shallow waters of the Bahamas and the Gulf of Mexico north of Tampa.

Therefore, anglers anchor or drift a decent distance from the spot and cast live baits or lures in towards the structure. A 7-8 foot heavy action rod with a 6000 series real is a good all-around combination.

In water much deeper than 50 feet, conventional outfits are simply a better choice. Anglers shopping for grouper fishing tackle and lures will have quite a few choices when it comes to fishing line.

While the initial cost is higher, braided line last much longer than monofilament. This is very important when grouper fishing as it allows anglers to feel the take as well is get the grouper away from the structure.

Braided line is also thinner in diameter, which allows it to sink faster when fishing in deep water. Many use a strong black swivel to connect the leader to the main line.

grouper rigs rig fishing leaders tackle items
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A sliding sinker is often placed on the main line and then the swivel stops it from going any further. Leader length and strength varies greatly, depending on the fishing situation.

Many anglers fishing in deep water use a very long leader, up to 20 feet and even longer. Anglers grouper fishing in the Gulf of Mexico are required to use circle hooks.

The hook may look huge, but the important part is the distance between the tip and the shank. Standard short shank live bait hooks are also popular for grouper fishing as well.

In very deep water, just reeling and coming tight as is done with circle hooks works the best anyway. The weight is generally placed on the running line ahead of the swivel that attaches the leader.

With this rig, the sinker slides on the leader and rest right on the eye of the hook. Also, when snagged up, the sinker jerking up on the line then banging the eye of the hook will often free it.

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With this rig, multiple hooks are tied off of dropper loops on the main line. The bank sinker works well as it tends to walk and bounce off of rocks and other snags.

While most grouper are caught on live or natural bait, there are a few situations when they can be taken on artificial lures as well. Trolling with deep diving plugs is an incredibly effective technique when grouper are in fairly shallow water.

It allows anglers to cover a lot of water over a large piece of structure in search of fish. Trolling is effective anywhere that there is submerged structure in the 50 feet deep or shallower range.

The shallow waters of the Gulf of Mexico, channel edges and large bays such as Tampa Bay, and coral reefs of the Caribbean are prime spots to troll for grouper. They are categorized by size, giving anglers a good idea of how deep they will go.

Papal and several other lure manufacturers also make quality deep diving plugs for grouper fishing. With the boat idling along at 4 to 5 knots, the plug will dig down to the maximum depth, putting out a lot of flash and vibration.

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A down rigger is a device with a cable and a heavy ball which takes the lure down deep. This technique is used extensively in the Great Lakes region for walleye and salmon.

Grouper can also be caught by anglers casting artificial lures, though there are limited situations where this can occur. Basically, when grouper are holding over structure in fairly shallow water, usually 10 feet deep or shallower, casting lures over the structure and retrieving them back in can produce jarring strikes from grouper.

Plugs will dive to a determined depth, while jigs can be worked through the entire water column but are extremely effective when bounced on the bottom right on top of the structure. White buck tail jigs are often used and can be tipped with a strip of squid or cut fish.

There are basically four types of grouper that are found in good numbers in the United States. Gag grouper are very aggressive and are the species most often targeted by anglers fishing with artificial lures.

Black grouper are normally found in the deeper waters of the Atlantic Ocean and down around the Florida Keys. Surprisingly, they are often encountered in the inshore waters, as shallow as five or 6 feet deep.

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This final rule modifies gear requirements for the fishery and encourages best fishing practices. Requires descending devices be on board and readily available for use on commercial, for-hire, and private recreational vessels while fishing for or possessing snapper- grouper species; requires the use of non-offset, non-stainless steel circle hooks when fishing for snapper- grouper species with hook-and-line gear and natural baits north of 28º north latitude; requires all hooks be non-stainless steel when fishing for snapper- grouper species with hook-and-line gear and natural baits south of 28º north latitude; and allows the use of power heads in federal waters off South Carolina.

Commercial and recreational fishermen have expressed concern about regulations that result in released fish that do not survive. Fishermen have also expressed concern regarding inequitable access for the dive component of the snapper- grouper fishery.

To allow for more consistent regulations, the final rule will remove the power head prohibition in federal waters off South Carolina. Since minimizing surface time is critical to increasing survival, descending devices shall be readily available for use while engaged in fishing.

Examples of descending devices that meet the requirements can be found in Regulatory Amendment 29 and the table below. It is the intent of the South Atlantic Fishery Management Council that descending devices only be used when a fish may be experiencing barotrauma (e.g., caught in deep water, protruding stomach, etc.).

This final rule does not prohibit the use of venting tools for those individuals that know how to use them properly (e.g., trained crew on charter vessels or head boats). Attached to length of rope sufficient to descend fish to a minimum of 50 feet or, ideally, the depth of capture.

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Currently, non-stainless steel circle hooks are required to be used when fishing for snapper- grouper species with hook-and-line gear and natural baits north of 28º north latitude, which is a line running east to west approximately 25 miles south of Cape Canaveral, Florida. This final rule also requires the use of non-stainless steel hooks when fishing for snapper- grouper species with hook-and-line gear and natural baits south of 28º north latitude.

The final rule removes the power head prohibition in federal waters off South Carolina, making regulations more consistent for the dive component of the fishery. The South Atlantic Fishery Management Council intends to conduct a substantial education and outreach effort to ensure fishermen participating in the snapper- grouper fishery understand the new regulations and how to properly use descending devices.

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Sources
1 www.cms.gov - https://www.cms.gov/Medicare/Medicare-Fee-for-Service-Payment/HomeHealthPPS/HH-PDGM
2 www.cgsmedicare.com - https://www.cgsmedicare.com/hhh/education/materials/pdgm.html
3 www.healthlifes.info - https://www.healthlifes.info/cms-pdgm-grouper-tool/
4 www.cms.gov - https://www.cms.gov/Medicare/Medicare-Fee-for-Service-Payment/HomeHealthPPS/CaseMixGrouperSoftware