Those with a Gulf Reef Fish Angler designation will meet the statewide requirement until the Gulf designation expires, even if you are fishing on the Atlantic coast. Gulf state waters are from shore to 9 nautical miles.
Atlantic state waters are from shore to 3 nautical miles. Participation mandatory to fish for grouper in Florida waters.
Expand All | Collapse All 1 gag or black within the 3 grouper aggregate Note: In the Atlantic reef fish fishery, gear rules require hooking tools, and as of Jan. 1, 2021, non-stainless steel hooks in all state waters, and non-offset circle hooks N. of 28 ° N. latitude.
Several species of Gulf grouper (red, black, scamp, yellow fin and yellow mouth) are closed Feb. 1-March 31 seaward of the 20-fathom break. Recreational anglers are encouraged to use electronic charting equipment to plot the 20-fathom break by entering the established coordinates listed on the map below into a route.
Monroe County: Several species of Atlantic grouper (red, black, yellow fin, yellow mouth, scamp, rock hind, red hind, Coney and grays by) are closed Jan. 1 – April 30 in all state and federal waters of the Atlantic including all state waters off Monroe County (Atlantic and Gulf sides). During this closure, anglers can harvest grouper in open federal waters of the Gulf and return to port in Monroe County by traveling through closed state waters of the Atlantic as long as the vessel proceeds directly to port without stopping to fish.
The FCC (Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission) manages the Gulf of Mexico and Atlantic Ocean differently, and it’s important to know what’s in season and what you can harvest from each shoreline. The Gulf of Mexico is a unique body of water that provides commercial and recreational anglers plenty of fishing opportunities.
The Gulf covers most of Florida ’s west coast, from Pensacola in the Panhandle to the start of the Everglades at the tip of the peninsula. This is important to keep in mind as there are different regulations for what’s in season and what you can harvest depending on if you’re in state or federal waters.
For counties of Franklin, Weibull, Taylor and Jefferson (in the Panhandle area from Apalachicola to Steinhatchee) there is open season in state waters from April 1 to June 30, and again from September 1 to December 31. Black, Red, Scamp, Yellow fin and Yellow mouth Grouper all have similar regulations in the Gulf.
It’s open season in both state and federal waters for Rock Hind, Coney, Yellow edge and Snowy Groupers. You can ask your charter captain if the size you have is a keeper or not; or refer to the FCC regulations to make sure you’re staying compliant.
Now moving east to the beautiful Atlantic Ocean where there are excellent opportunities for grouper fishing. Keep in mind, the FCC considers the Everglades and Florida Keys as part of the Atlantic Ocean waters, and all fishing done in these areas must stay within Atlantic-specific regulations.
From the Florida Keys to Jacksonville, anglers have hundreds of cities to choose from to launch your grouper expedition. The real question is, what subspecies of grouper you’ll find at the end of your line.
The season runs until December 31, and each angler can collect one or the other each trip within the 3 grouper aggregate. While federal waters have a season from May 1 until August 31 and there is a bag limit of one per vessel per day.
As A Fishing Booker Affiliate I Can Earn Small Booking Commissions At No Extra Cost To You Want To Go GrouperFishing ? Fishing for grouper is like stepping into the ring with a heavyweight champion.
These Florida fish ambush their prey, so they have very hard, powerful strikes. This means you have to fight, drag and pull this unwilling heavyweight up from its dark depths.
To prevent this from happening, immediately crank down hard on your drag so the fish can 't take more of your line. Hoisting one of these fish up can feel like raising the Titanic, or at least a cement truck.
The hooked fish is not moving as fast as normal because it's attached to you and your line. The Goliath have learned that this is the perfect opportunistic moment for a quick and easy meal, and will often attack and eat your fish before you reel it in.
Two Large Hooked Black Grouper Florida Keys Public Libraries, Don Maria Collection, Flickr The sheer prospect of lifting that amount of weight through that much water, is a recipe for pure exhaustion.
Deep drop fishing is where you use a heavy duty electric reel loaded with lots of heavyweight line. You also set up multiple hooks at different lengths with strobe lights attached to attract the fish.
You then attach live or freshly cut bait to the hooks and set the line so it's vertical in the water. The best choice for bait is squid because this is the most common food source for fish living at these greater depths.
Of course this rapidly catching on technique means evolving into an additional fishing tackle line which is necessary if you want to have productive results grouper fishing in Florida. Traditionally, deep drop equipment has been quite expensive, but it has begun to come down in price making it more affordable.
This has increased the number of people who are now actively pursuing this exciting, productive, and challenging form of fishing. The electric reels and rods that you can use run the gambit in terms of usability and price.
You also won't want to forget employing some critical components that pull this all together such as the strobe lighting. It's quite possible for even a strong, heavy man, to be pulled overboard by one of these powerhouse fish.
A fishing for grouper strategy that works well is to anchor your boat over a structure, as opposed to drifting. Once you feel that first bite, give it a good solid jerk, and immediately begin to try and retrieve the fish.
Trolling for gag, black and other grouper species is another popular technique when fishing in 15' to 25' of water. Another fun technique to try when trolling is to throw out some chum to bring these Florida fish to the surface.
Jewish Fishing Before the Ban Florida Keys Public Libraries, Don Maria Collection, Flickr Knowing this, anyone sport fishing Florida Keys can expect the same kind of action whether targeting gag, snowy, black or even Warsaw.
However, once that mission is accomplished it may feel more like a spiraling, downhill, roller coaster ride, rather than a Florida fishing trip. The reports I was seeing posted with large grouper being caught in shallow water got me thinking.
“Honey, I think it’s time we spent Thanksgiving with your family in St. Petersburg.” It was already mid-November, but the three-and-a-half-hour trip from Stuart doesn’t take much planning. My wife Chris called her parents and happily told me they were looking forward to seeing us.
It was a good thing considering I had already booked a three-quarter day grouper fishing with my friend Capt. I lived in the St. Petersburg area for 14 years and always wanted to target the fall time inshore gag grouper bite.
Each October when the water temperature starts to drop, beginning at 76 degrees and peaking at 70 degrees, the gags begin to show up on the inshore rock piles of the northern Sun coast, ranging in depth from a super-shallow 8 feet to 20 feet. He said what you’re looking for are isolated rock piles, not typical west coast limestone cheese bottom or ledges, in 15 to 20 feet.
Ed Walker prefers side scan to traditional sonar for locating rocks, not fish. The trolling lures will tell me where to begin fishing.” As for what type of rock pile to look for, Walker stresses the smaller the better for later in the season.
Once Walker catches a keeper, he marks the rock pile, both visually via his sonar and with his GPS. The quickest and easiest way of doing this is by shifting to neutral and letting your boat drift in the current and wind.
Ed uses a dry-erase marker to keep track of both the anchor heading and number of fish in the box. “An accurate anchor job, meaning the rock pile ends up just off the stern of the boat is key,” emphasized Walker.
Ideally you have the wind and tide working with you, it’s a small victory every time you get your anchor back.” But, we didn’t have any problems in our five or six stops. A couple of anchoring tips: One is, you may want to think about shackling the terminal end of the chain to the fluke end of your anchor, then use twine, wire ties or heavy mono leader to fasten the chain along the shank.
Finally, anchored up, it was time to get serious about catching our Thanksgiving Day gag. “Don’t stop’em, let the line peel off the reel.
Once your bait realizes that there’s more harm in the rocks than in the live well you won’t get him to swim back down,” said Walker. Free lining live baits while you’re bottom fishing isn’t your typical grouper fishing.
And just as Ed predicted after a swing and a miss on a grouper strike, my pinkish wouldn’t go deeper than the keel of the boat with my next attempt to send it back down. As soon as we had a new recruit pinned to the 9/0 Owner circle hook he eagerly, and quickly, made the wrong decision and beelined it for the rocks.
For line Ed uses 50-pound mono, no leader; 60-pound is too thick and jumps off the spool and 40-pound breaks too easy. As soon as my clear keeper came over the gunnel, Ed was encouraging my father-in-law, Art, to cast his bait towards the rocks ten feet off our starboard side.
Ed said something about it being like trying to ride your bike up a hill in tenth gear. Art’s fish was a keeper and Ed made an update on the console next to the anchor heading.
Within minutes, we were trolling again and equally fast we were establishing our COG and anchor heading. “No better Thanksgiving gathering than the one we spent on the rocks with Ed,” said Blair, who took this picture of family with fish.
It wasn’t even 11 a.m. when Al brought over the gunnel the biggest fish of the day and with that, Sharpie in his mouth, Ed exclaimed that his streak was alive. Rock piles north of Anecdote up to Cedar Key, on Florida ’s Gulf coast, represent an important aggregation zone for pre-spawning females.
Gag eggs have to be spawned at the right time and place to ride with ocean currents to estuaries 50 to 100 miles away, where they spend their first months of life. After gag are about half a year old, they begin to move to shallow nearshore habitat.
But before this, they form all-female pre-spawning aggregations that begin to show up when the cold fronts pass through. At this time, females feed heavily to build up their reserves before migrating.
Dr. Sue Lowerre-Barbieri’s lab (Fri/Of) is researching gag behavior, movements, and sex change, working with knowledgeable fishermen. As part of the gag research he has been sharing data from shallow-water respawning aggregations and dart tagging females he releases.
If you capture a gag with a dart tag, please call the Fri hotline at 1-800-367-4461, so we can better understand the habitats these iconic Florida fish.