In the summer, as nearshore water temperatures rise, grouper relocate to deeper dwellings offshore. Shipwrecks, oil rigs, and offshore reefs are where you'll want to focus your efforts when fishing for grouper in the summer.
They are classic ambush predators, spending most of their time holed up in heavy structure waiting for smaller fish to swim by. To have the most success when fishing for grouper, your boat electronics need to be powerful enough to key into the structure you seek.
Shipwrecks are the most notorious grouper hideouts, and fishing these tangled-up messes of debris requires accurate depth readings, patience, and the understanding that you'll probably lose some tackle. To catch big, heavy, powerful fish, your gear better be up to the task.
There are times when artificial lures work great for catching grouper, but you'll have more success if you show up prepared with the freshest live bait you can find. Goggle-eyes, pilchards, blue runners, and grunts all make excellent live bait for grouper.
Try to bring as many varieties of bait as you can so you can zero in on what the grouper are biting that day. Grouper spend most of their time on the bottom, so that's where you'll want to send your baited hook.
Vertical jigging with live bait is a very popular technique for catching big grouper, simply because it works. A struggling bait fish bouncing up and down at the bottom of a shipwreck is irresistible to an opportunistic grouper.
Slide the hook point underneath the twisted rubber band. No matter what kind of rig you're using to catch grouper, you'll have the most success with circle hooks.
How you handle the first few seconds of a grouper fight often determines whether you land the fish or get cut off by structure. When a grouper takes your bait, as soon as it feels the pressure of your line, it will run straight back to the safety of structure as fast as possible.
And if you hook into a huge fish, it'll do whatever it pleases unless you take charge of the fight. Load up your conventional reels with heavy line, bridle rig your live baits, and don't forget to use circle hooks.
Every fisherman and fisher woman on these shores know… groupers are fun to catch and make for even better eating! Just think of the fun and sun you ’ll experience as you make your latest catches.
However, grouper can be a bit tricky to handle, so you ’ll want to make sure you know what you ’re doing before you head out to the water. Head online and getting a fisherman’s forecast to save yourself some potential heartbreak.
Make sure you ’ve got a tackle and rod capable of supporting a grouper ’s weight. You ’ll stand a significantly better chance if you travel at least a few miles offshore.
A general rule of thumb when focusing on how to catch grouper is the deeper the better, so head on out for adventure. You ’ll want the water to be around 50-70 feet deep before you cast your anchor and prepare to make your catch.
And since grouper can get massive, make sure your line is capable of supporting up to 100 pounds or more. We don’t suggest using a monofilament line as they tend to snap quite easily if you ’re dealing with a heavier fish.
Instead, we recommend circle hooks and braided lines to make the experience easier. Whether red, gag, black, yellow fin, or Warsaw, a good grouper in the ice chest means a successful day for lots of folks.
Some species of grouper range from New England to southern Brazil and Texas. They prefer to be able to seek shelter and hide, and although their name implies that they stay together, they can also be very solitary fish.
Grouper will chase a bait occasionally, but by far they prefer to ambush their prey. Their coloration and ability to change hues and shades to identify with their surroundings give them that ambush capability.
Anglers find that medium heavy bottom fishing tackle is the best way to approach the grouper. Conventional reels in the thirty- to fifty-pound class teamed with a medium heavy boat rod will do the trick.
Grouper feed on other small fish, crustaceans like crabs or crawfish, and squid. When an easy opportunity swims buy they rush out, inhale their prey, and quickly return to their lair.
A good rod and reel, with fifty-pound test monofilament line, can handle almost all the grouper you may encounter. The terminal tackle consists of a sinker, leader, and hook arranged one of two ways.
Even when the rig is dropped right into the bottom structure, it seldom hangs up, something charter captains love. More serious grouper anglers will opt for the second approach, called a live bait rig.
Advertised as virtually invisible to fish, it does seem to draw more strikes than regular monofilament. Serious grouper anglers will crank the drag down on their reel as hard as they can, often using a pair of pliers to lock it down.
When a grouper makes it into a rock or reef, many anglers will simply break off the line and try again. In the Gulf of Mexico, grouper anglers use magnum diving plugs that will go as deep as thirty feet or more.
Strip baits are cut and attached to a double hooked trolling feather. The wire line method is popular in and around south Florida in the winter when big black grouper move into the shallower reefs.
Sometimes thirty yards in diameter, they are an ideal habitat for black grouper. When one occurs, the boat moves directly away from the reef to drag the fish away from its hole.
A head boat that provides the bait and tackle is an ideal way to bring some home to eat. Just because the cold weather is bearing down, there’s no need to take a break from setting the hook!.
These large fish are typically caught in the two to 12-pound range, though they can be found up to 20-30 pounds. You can find them along the East Coast of the Americas from Brazil through the Caribbean and the Gulf of Mexico to as far north as New England.
Juvenile fish take shelter on the inshore glass flats and shoals until they mature. During most of the year, mature gag grouper like to hide around any type of structure that can give them shelter.
They can be found in ledges and holes and love to populate offshore reefs and shipwrecks. As winter approaches, a massive migration of gags head for the warmer protection of the inner shores, especially within the Gulf of Mexico, to spawn.
During the late fall and early winter, they’ll show up a few miles off the shoreline along with Spanish mackerel, king fish, speckled trout, blacktop and spinner sharks that are chasing the schools of bunker and herring close to the beaches. Many anglers catch lots of gags on spinning and plug tackle, but live bait tends to be the best option.
By law, you ’re required to use a circle hook when bottom fishing in much of Florida’s cost, including the Gulf of Mexico. When hooked, these are very powerful fish that want nothing more than to run back into a hole or ledge and take you with them.
You ’ll need to have heavy gear with you to prevent the fish from taking your line. Most anglers crank the drag on their reel down all the way to prevent the fish from reaching a hole.
This is where the grouper will run into a hole or under a ledge and spread its gills locking itself in place. To prevent that, keep the drag tightened so it’s almost impossible to pull line off of the spool.
Keep your rod held low so you can immediately lift it as soon as the fish strikes, turning it away from the rocks. Start to cautiously reel in all slack to the point that your rod is low to the water and tight to the fish.
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