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.
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. There are a few tried-and-true methods, but a lot of it will come down to some good ole’ fashioned trial and error.
Groupers tend to eat fish, so your best bet is either squid or sardines. 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.
And when you do go, these 7 tips will help you know where to go, what gear to bring, and the know-how to catch big grouper. Grouper are found in abundance in the Gulf of Mexico, along the Atlantic Coast, and throughout the Caribbean, providing anglers with a wealth of opportunities to catch one of the tastiest fish in the sea.
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.
The grouper is a relatively low-key carnivorous fish that prefers to hide in hard-to-reach areas to ambush its prey. For example, groupers may be found near docks, fishing buildings, or other areas that provide a great place to hide.
Just as important, fishers need to understand that the grouper does have an aggressive streak when presented with bait and lures that catch its attention. The higher the poundage on the line, the heavier the fish a person can catch, so aim high when going for groupers.
A large, live bait sunk to the bottom of the ocean probably results in the most success with the grouper. If going for artificial lures, try to find jerk baits that emulate the look and feel of an injured fish.
When reeling in the line, let the lure more in erratic and jerking actions to attract the grouper's attention. Map out the location using appropriate nautical charts and seek out deep water with thick rock groupings littering the bottom of the ocean bed.
These ledges typically hang over fairly rocky areas and provide excellent shade and protection for the mysterious and often quite aloof and grumpy grouper. Anyone trying to catch a grouper should hire a professional to not only get them out on the water safely, but to also provide even better tips for fishing.
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. The idea is to stop the grouper from taking the line and returning to his structure home.
When a grouper strikes, anglers will lay their rod on the rail and start winding as hard as they can. 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.