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How Many Grouper Can You Keep In Florida

author
Paul Gonzalez
• Wednesday, 18 November, 2020
• 7 min read

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 toucan harvest from each shoreline. The Gulf of Mexico is a unique body of water that provides commercial and recreational anglers plenty of fishing opportunities.

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(Source: ohplesiosaur.tumblr.com)

Contents

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 toucan harvest depending on if you ’re in state or federal waters.

For Gag Grouper fishing in the Gulf, it’s important to note what county you ’re embarking from. 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.

Toucan 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.

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(Source: www.nydailynews.com)

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.

The Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council would like to gain a better understanding of what’s happening on the water. All anglers on the Atlantic and Gulf coasts of Florida who intend to fish for or harvest certain reef fish from a private vessel are required to obtain the State Reef Fish Angler designation.

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.

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(Source: magazine.fishsens.com)

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.

Western boundary of the 4-county gag grouper recreational harvest region. Eastern boundary of the 4-county gag grouper recreational harvest region.

The giant of the grouper family, the Goliath (formerly called Jewish) has brown or yellow mottling with small black spots on the head and fins, a large mouth with jawbones that extend well past its small eyes, and a rounded tail. The skeletal structure of large Goliath grouper cannot adequately support their weight out of the water without some type of damage.

If a large Goliath is brought on-board a vessel or out of the water, it is likely to sustain some form of internal injury and therefore be considered harvested. Goliath grouper populations declined throughout their range during the 1970s and 1980s due to increased fishing pressure from commercial and recreational fishers and divers.

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(Source: coastalanglermag.com)

There have been increases in abundance in certain areas (e.g., Tampa Bay, Charlotte Harbor and the Ten A Thousand Islands), and the distribution of Goliath grouper populations has extended into areas of its former range throughout Florida, including the Big Bend and Panhandle regions. Stock assessment were conducted for Goliath grouper in 2004 and 2010, but both were rejected by a review panel for use in federal management.

At their July 2014 meeting in Key Largo, this committee reviewed the most up-to-date scientific information on Goliath grouper and recommended a new stock assessment for this species. The stock assessment indicates abundance in south Florida has greatly increased since the fishery closed in 1990.

However, in the final step of the review process, the assessment was rejected by an independent panel of scientists for use in federal management due to a lack of reliable indicators of abundance outside south Florida. Goliath are also susceptible to large scale mortality events such as cold temperatures and red tide blooms.

When not feeding or spawning, adult Goliath groupers are generally solitary, sedentary and territorial. Before the Goliath grouper reaches full-size it is preyed upon by barracuda, king mackerel and moray eels, as well as sandbar and hammerhead sharks.

Calico crabs make up the majority of their diet, with other invertebrate species and fish filling in the rest. Reproductive maturity first occurs in fish 5 or 6 years of age (about 36 inches in length) due to their slow growth rate.

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(Source: www.sun-sentinel.com)

These groups occur at consistent sites such as wrecks, rock ledges and isolated patch reefs during July, August and September. Studies have shown fish may move up to 62 miles (100 km) from inshore reefs to these spawning sites.

In southwest Florida, presumed courtship behavior has been observed during the full moons in August and September. Anglers with both novice and advanced skill levels travel to the Emerald Coast hoping to snag a prized catch in the Gulf of Mexico.

From sharks to sea bass, no fish is out of range when casting a rod and reel in the sunshine state. With any sport, there is always the “gamekeeper.” For baseball, it’s a grand slam, hockey it’s a hat-trick, and for Destiny saltwater fishing its catching the coveted Red Snapper.

If you catch Red Snapper on your vacation, you ’ll want to freeze or fillet the fish as soon as toucan. Anglers are encouraged to cook the fillets immediately, put them in the fridge for up to 3 days, or freezer for later use.

Family brings home a Red Snapper dinner while deep sea fishing in Destiny Red Snappers are typically found in deep waters, and like to hang out in schools near reefs, shipwrecks, and oil rigs.

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(Source: marinelab.fsu.edu)

Your best chance at catching some tasty Snapper is to head out to deep waters, either in your own boat, or by booking one of the many fishing charters that Florida has to offer! Florida's lawmakers have since instituted certain rules to help in growing the population back to normal numbers.

Large haul of Red Snapper brought in on one of the many deep sea fishing charters Destiny, FL, has to offer Minimum size limits are put into effect to assure that juvenile Snapper are able to grow and reproduce in the off-season.

For a full list of Red Snapper rules, visit Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission’s Recreational Regulations Florida Red Snapper Season lengths vary depending on where the fish is caught with a 2 per person daily bag limit (included in the 10 per harvester per day State Snapper aggregate bag limit).

Spring and summer are peak seasons for many of the Gulf’s most cherished fish species, and charter boats book up fast.

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4 www.healthlifes.info - https://www.healthlifes.info/cms-pdgm-grouper-tool/
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6 www.cms.gov - https://www.cms.gov/Medicare/Medicare-Fee-for-Service-Payment/HomeHealthPPS/HH-PDGM