Overall light or rusty red with whitish spots and large blotches. No black mark on caudal peduncle fleshy area between tail and posterior dorsal fin.
Although Reds will “hole up” like other Groupers, many are hooked on light and fairly light tackle in areas where cover is well scattered, and this gives them the chance to demonstrate their toughness to best advantage. TACKLE AND BAITS: The standard tackle is a boat outfit with 40-pound line or more, but heavy spinning and bait casting tackle with 15- or 20-pound line can easily do the job in water less than 100 feet deep.
Reds will hit all the baits and lures recommended for Gag and other Groupers, but they are also very fond of crustacean baits, particularly shrimp and crab. They are ready strikers on Deadhead jigs, fished with light tackle.
HABITAT: Widely distributed from close inshore in many areas of Florida to ledges and wrecks in up to 300 or so feet of water. Great majority of sport catches are made in 10-100 feet.
Red Snapper, in particular, are not necessarily picky, but if you are targeting the larger fish there are definitely better baits to use than others. Red Snapper tends to be wary, and they don't bite if they notice anything suspicious.
Regardless of what you're hoping to catch, tailoring the bait to the type of fish is common sense. Live bait is King when fishing Red Snapper and Grouper, and they do have their favorites.
A school of red snapper will quickly be in hot pursuit of these little fish. Grouper also prefer large live bait fish, but they tend to be less picky than Red Snapper.
You can opt for either frozen or fresh fish purchased from your local bait shop. These fish flit through the water quickly, easily attracting a predator's attention, plus they're shiny and oily, making them even more visible.
Other options include squid, blue runner, mullet, pinkish, and grunts. Drop your baits (ideally cigar minnows or pilchards for red snappers or sardines for groupers) down deep into the water column.
Many of the trophy sized fish are in holes and covered areas where they tend to rest and stay safe from other predators. Also, make sure that you have to hooked your live bait securely; it can be a long way down and you do not want them coming off.
Red Snapper love this and tend to strike the bait before it even hits the bottom. Simply cut a strip of Bonito (we leave the skin on), attach with both hooks on your double Snell rig and slowly drop the bait to the bottom.
Vertical jigs, in particular, can trick the fish, which confuse the shiny objects with an easy bite. Diving plugs are ideal for groupers if you're fishing in reef areas, allowing for deep trolling at depths of 20 to 40 feet.
Finally, you can try a butterfly jig, a thin but heavy lure that moves erratically in the water. This movement mimics a real fish as the lure free falls through the water.
Generally, Southern California, the Gulf of Mexico and around Florida are great places to fish for grouper and red snapper. Isolated areas are also preferable and the Florida Gulf Coast is a great location.
Miles of mangroves and pristine waterways lead to the Gulf of Mexico where the saltwater fishing for red grouper can be as sizzling hot as the summer temperatures. One can pretty well set a clock by the afternoon thunderstorms in this area, but they serve to cool down the atmosphere enough for the natural world to come alive before sunset.
Riding two hours from port into the Gulf of Mexico to reach the fishing grounds, Captain Rick Polio positions the 35-foot vessel over a live bottom area before anchoring the boat. Once a bite is felt, any hesitation by the angler gives the fish an advantage, since it will move into the underwater structure and cause the line to part.
If the rod is doubled over, anglers can bend their knees and use their body to generate more upward force, moving the fish away from any rocky outcrops. The season on Regrouped in Florida is year-round, but the limit to keep is two fish per person, and they must measure 20-inches in total length or be returned to the estuary.
The coloration of the red grouper make it a compelling species to photograph, with a brownish- red body that is accented by irregular white blotches that serve as underwater camouflage. 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.
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.