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.
This, coupled with their slow breeding abilities and popularity as fishing game, brings the species to the near-threatened status of conservation. Adult fish are mostly solitary swimmers, inhabiting rocky bottoms, reef, and drop off walls in water over 60ft deep.
Smugness is a naturally occurring emotion when you catch a monster like this species can be found in the western Atlantic Ocean, from as far north as Massachusetts (only juveniles), down to southern Brazil, but is especially present in the southern Gulf waters of Florida and from Stuart down to the Keys on the Atlantic side, but also in the Caribbean Sea and the Bahamas waters. They're not as abundant in these depths, but are larger and can even be caught on lighter tackle, on account of the deep bottom not being as rich in hiding holes.
If those are unavailable, yellowtail snapper, blue runner, grunt, or reef fish of similar size will be good. Trolling with diving plugs has been shown to yield good results on the edges of shallower reef bottoms.
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.
As a diver and fishermen I have seen these fish in an out of the water and can tel you there is nothing smarter and more powerful on Florida's Reefs than the Backgrounder. If you have ever dove with one chances are you never got close to it, because black grouper are extremely weary of people.
Black grouper eat almost ANYTHING from crabs to dead bait and live fish. Fishing big dead baits to entice a bite, can work in some instances, but many times it just leads to by-catch such as sharks and eels, which are also inhabitants of the reef.
You NEED heavy-duty gear to sort these fish from going into the reef. I recommend a reel capable of putting out 20+lbs of drag at minimum and fishing no less than 80lb braid, and 100lb leader.
Hooks should match the size of the bait, but I like 6/0-11/0 3x strong Mustard Demon Perfect Circles. A bottom rig with a sliding sinker enough to get down at the depth you're fishing and not drag in current is needed.
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.
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. 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.
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.
The giant grouper has a robust body which has a standard length equivalent to 2.4 to 3.4 times its depth. The dorsal profile of the head and the intraorbital area are convex, The properly has a rounded corner and a finely serrated margin.
The gill cover has a convex upper margin. There are 11 spines and 14-16 soft rays in the dorsal fin while the anal fin has 3 spines and 8 soft rays.
The adults are greyish-brown in color overlain with a mottled pattern and with darker fins. The giant grouper can grow to huge size with the maximum recorded standard length being 270 centimeters (110 in), although they are more common around 180 centimeters (71 in).
And a maximum published weight of 400 kilograms (880 lb). The giant grouper is a species of shallow water and can be found at depths of 1 to 100 meters (3.3 to 328.1 ft).
Large specimens have been caught from shore and in harbors. They are found in caves and in wrecks while the secretive juveniles occur in reefs and are infrequently observed.
The adults are mainly solitary and hold territories on the outer reef and in lagoons. They have also been caught in turbid water over silt or mud sea beds by prawn fishermen.
The giant grouper is an opportunistic ambush predator which feeds on a variety of fishes, as well as small sharks, juvenile sea turtles, crustaceans and mollusks which are all swallowed whole. Fish which inhabit coral reefs and rocky areas favor spiny lobsters as prey and 177 centimeters (70 in) specimen taken of Maui in Hawaii had a stomach contents of two spiny lobsters and a number of crabs.
Fish living in estuaries environments in South Africa were found to be feeding almost exclusively on the crab Scylla errata. They are, however, curious and frequently approach divers closely.
They are not generally considered dangerous to humans but divers are advised to treat large specimens with caution and not to hand feed them. They are aggregate broadcast spawners, usually with several females per male.
Studies in captive populations suggest that the dominant male and female begin the spawning event as nearly the only spawners for the first day or two, but other members of the aggregation fertilize more eggs as the event progresses, with even the most recently turned males fathering offspring. Giant groupers are diabetic protogynous hermaphrodites, meaning that although some males develop from reproductively functional females other males start to produce sperm without ever having gone through a phase as a reproductive female.
The giant grouper is a highly valued food fish and is taken by both commercial and recreational fisheries. As well as the consumption of its flesh its skin, gall bladder and stomach are used in Traditional Chinese Medicine.
It is valued in Hong Kong as a live fish for the live reef food fish trade, especially smaller specimens. This species is cultured in agriculture and this practice is widespread but there is a restricted supply of juveniles, although hatcheries in Taiwan have produced captive bred juveniles, exporting some for to be grown on in other parts of South-East Asia.
Many of the fish produced in aquaculture are hybrids between this species and E. fuscoguttatus. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species.
“A study into parental assignment of the communal spawning protogynous hermaphrodite, giant grouper (Epimetheus lanceolatus)”. ^ Peter Palma; Akihito Nakamura; Garden XYZ Libunaoa; et al. (2019).
“Reproductive development of the threatened giant grouper Epimetheus lanceolatus “. ^ Scholar, W. N.; Cricket, R. & van der Loan, R.