Black grouper have large, powerful jaws that they used to ambush their prey. They also have teeth plates inside their throat that prevent prey from escaping after being swallowed.
Black grouper take advantage of other species’ reproductive aggregations for feeding. They are particularly associated with the southern Gulf of Mexico, Florida Keys, Cuba, the Bahamas, and throughout the Caribbean.
Both the commercial and recreational fisheries have size limits to reduce harvest of immature black grouper. The commercial and recreational fishing seasons are closed from January through April to protect black grouper during their peak spawning period.
Minimum size limits protect immature black grouper. Year-round and/or seasonal area closures for commercial and recreational sectors to protect spawning groupers.
Groupers are managed separately by commercial and recreational sector in Puerto Rico. Seasonal closure for black, red, tiger, yellow fin, and yellow edge groupers from February 1 through April 30.
Similar Species: Gag, M. microbes (spur on properly is serrated); and yellow fin grouper, M. Vanessa (pectoral fins trimmed in bright yellow) Adults are associated with rocky bottoms, reef, and drop off walls in water over 60 feet deep.
They are protogynous hermaphrodites, meaning that young predominantly female who transform into males as they grow larger. Larger individuals of this species are generally found in greater depths, and they feed on fish and squid.
TACKLE AND BAITS: For all-around work, ocean gear with lines of 30 pound test or higher gets the call. Light tackle fishermen in South Florida, however, have caught many blacks over 50 pounds.
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. 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.
One of the most popular ways to cook this fish is to cut it into “fingers” and fry it. We love this fish, and we keep it in stock so you can enjoy its special taste, flavor, and texture.
In response to the some questions frequently asked about black grouper by our customers, we are providing these answers. To ensure that we sell high-quality grouper meat to you, we buy fresh fish from local fishermen, and we check it for quality.
We only stock fish that meets high standards for quality and freshness. You don’t have to come to the Keys or spend time looking for a grocery store with frozen grouper.
You don’t need to spend time looking for frozen grouper fish in your neighborhood. Simply order it from our online seafood store, and we’ll ensure that you receive it overnight.
Tap or click on “Add to Cart” to begin the order process. Include any other seafood, sauces, fish, or products you want (this helps to reduce the cost of shipping).
Enjoy the unique taste of fresh, locally caught seafood. They're naturally strong fish, but often it's their pure size and weight that makes them difficult to land.
This species of grouper can weight hundreds of pounds, and they're often responsible for broken lines and lost tackle. On Dec. 29, 1998, Ernesto Join landed the biggest broom tail grouper ever caught and certified as an IFA all-tackle record.
Alberto Penalty boated a giant mottled grouper on Aug. 13, 1996, off the east side of Gibraltar (a small country located between Spain and Morocco). William Laser landed the all-tackle record gulf grouper off Lore to in Baja California Sur, Mexico.
Fishing in the Gulf of Mexico off Texas, Tim Ostrich II reeled in a 124-pound black grouper. KOI Yeshiva caught the all-tackle record convict grouper off YAGNI Island in Okinawa, Japan, on April 25, 2011.
This particular species of grouper is considered endangered today and protected in the United States and Caribbean. Courtesy IFA / IFA.org. 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. One of the largest species of Grouper in the Atlantic, Backgrounder are loved by commercial crews and recreational anglers alike.
The average catch in Florida is around half that length, weighing between 5 and 20 pounds. Backgrounder 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. Juveniles stick to these inshore spots until they’re big enough to fend for themselves.
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 Backgrounder, usually maxing out somewhere around 50 pounds.
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. Nassau Grouper aren’t the biggest fish on this list.
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. The average Red Grouper weighs somewhere in the 5–10 lb range, and anything over 2 feet long is a rare catch.
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.
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. The change in water pressure is enough to kill them, especially when they fight and struggle on their way up.
Their dappled, red body and bright yellow fins provide camouflage around the deep, rocky structure that they hunt around. 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.