Is Grouper Season Open Now

James Lee
• Tuesday, 29 December, 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 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.

grouper season
(Source: www.youtube.com)


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 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.

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.

gag grouper season federal
(Source: www.pnj.com)

East Coast anglers should mark your calendars for May 1, this is when Gag Grouper and Black Grouper season opens from the Keys to Duval County (Jacksonville area). The season runs until December 31, and each angler can collect one or the other each trip within the 3 grouper aggregate.

In the Atlantic and state waters of Monroe County, the grouper closure ends April 30, and harvest will reopen May 1. Gag grouper will close to recreational harvest in Gulf state and federal waters Jan. 1, 2021.

This Atlantic seasonal closure includes gag, black, red, yellow mouth, and yellow fin grouper ; scamp; red hind; rock hind; Coney; and grays by. It's May 1 already, thankfully, and that means recreational anglers can once again harvest the shallow water grouper species and dogfish, too.

Power drifting with big jigs tipped with cut grunt will be a good way to get a bite. Inshore: Trout fishing has been pretty steady on the flats around Vero Beach, south of Wabash Causeway and around the spoil islands near Sebastian.

Use cut grunts or large chunk baits on heavy sinkers, enough weight to get through the current. Red grouper are found in shallower water on the deep wrecks and artificial reefs.

grouper season opens
(Source: keysweekly.com)

A good spot to try would be the CCA Curtis Stick Artificial Reef in 100 feet of water 12 miles southeast of the Fort Pierce Inlet. Start off with top water lures for those early ambush strikes then switch to soft-sided jigs and jerk baits.

Jacks and lady fish are roaming the lagoon in schools for fast action on light fishing tackle. Offshore: The deep artificial reefs such as the Windstorm and Hailey Glared are prime spots to start the search for grouper.

Live bait boats at Manatee Pocket have been supplying pilchards and thread fins so grab a few. Bass anglers are still finding good fishing around Harvey Pond Canal, the Monkey Box, Horse Island and Observation Shoal.

A little rain is welcome as the level of the lake continues to be on the low side since it is still being used as a source of irrigation for the AG lands surrounding it. Photo courtesy Dr. Jason RosenbergWhether there is a recreational mini- season for red snapper in the South Atlantic Region during 2020 is up in the air.

The announcement was made during a presentation to the South Atlantic Fishery Management Council’s Snapper Grouper Committee Wednesday at a SFMC meeting in Jekyll Island, Ga. The SFMC, in December 2019, approved an amendment to modify that restriction to allow for a shorter red snapper mini- season.

(Source: fishingbooker.com)

Kim Iverson, Public Information Officer for the SFMC, points out the council is pushing for there to be a 2020 mini- season by approving Regulatory Amendment 33. “Council members are well aware of frustrations with the limited red snapper season and balancing what is seen on the water with legal mandates,” said Iverson.

“As the stock continues to rebuild and fishermen encounter more red snapper year round, it is increasingly important they use best fishing practices to help minimize release mortality,” said Iverson. The saga of rebuilding the stock of red snapper began in 2009, when the National Marine Fisheries Service determined the South Atlantic stock from North Carolina through the east coast of Florida was overfished and undergoing overfishing.

Ever since, there have been sporadic mini-seasons, including consecutive seasons from 2017-2019, but largely the species has been closed to harvest for recreational anglers since 2010. The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission raised the minimum overall length for gags from 22 to 24 inches during its summer meeting.

The season for recreational harvest of greater amber jack and gray trigger fish will be closed in both state and federal waters from June 1 until July 31. About J. Scott Butchers Multimedia journalist J. Scott Butchers is an award-winning sports writer and videographer and slightly above-mediocre photographer who covers spring training for the Minnesota Twins and Boston Red Sox, the Fort Myers Miracle, outdoors and fishing, Rezone, and Florida Gulf Coast University.

Our West Coast of Florida offshore fishing specialist, Captain Steven Souls, specializes in catching Gag & Red Grouper, Goliath Grouper, Amber jack, King fish AKA King Mackerel, Bull Redfish, Cobra, and a variety of Sharks and many other deep sea fish species that call the Gulf of Mexico home. The beautiful Gulf of Mexico is renowned for its abundance of fantastic offshore fishing, and the variety of sport fish is endless. The diverse topography of the Gulf of Mexico includes natural and artificial reefs and rock piles, also deep ledges along with many wrecks combine to make great havens for all kinds of reef fish like Grouper, Snapper, Amber jack, Cobra.

grouper gag season
(Source: www.youtube.com)

We also have a great migration of King fish or King Mackerel, Giant Bull Redfish, Cobra, and a variety of Sharks giving you many offshore charter fishing options all year round. So whether you are a novice or an expert we will give you and your family and/or friends the best trip available! Give us a call; we would love for you to experience all the unforgettable Deep Sea Charter Fishing that the Nature Coast area and the Gulf of Mexico have to offer. All of our deep sea fishing charters depart from the Hernando Beach Boat Launch in Hernando Beach, Florida.

We are centrally located in Week Washed and now offering Charter Fishing Trips to all the surrounding area's of Hernando County. Including all of Spring Hill, Hernando Beach, Bay port, Brookville, Chassahowitzka, Homosassa, Crystal River, Inverness, Yankee town, Hudson, Hudson Beach, Port Richey & Tarpon Springs.

We are only a short drive due West from the Orlando area's attractions, Clermont and Sumter County. Only about an hour's drive South West from Ocala, Leesburg, Tavares, Wildwood, Bushnell & the Villages.

Only 30 minutes south of Crystal River and Homosassa Springs, Citrus Springs & Dungeon. Conveniently located less than an hour's drive North from St. Petersburg, Largo, Palm Harbor, Clearwater, Lakeland & the Tampa Bay area attractions! Give Captain Steven a call at his office # (352) 686-0853 his cell at (352)238-9339 and let him give your family/friends a FUN FAMILY FISHING ADVENTURE TO REMEMBER for years to come! Check Out our Brand New Sea Fox 256 26' Offshore Fishing Boat.

Click below for all the details on booking a fishing trip to remember! I am not one of those captain's that will take you out on an unsafe day & put you and/or your family at a safety risk.

gag grouper season open gulf waters region county federal state
(Source: coastalanglermag.com)

Even though we are running newer equipment, Angling Adventures is covered by a commercial towing program to ensure that you and your family are going to return safety to port even if a problem arrives! Don't get caught on a vessel that is not legally allowed to fish out past 9 miles.

Be sure to check out our sister page at www.angling-adventures.net for more information on scalloping and inshore flats fishing trips.

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1 www.theledger.com - https://www.theledger.com/story/sports/outdoors/fishing/2020/12/10/saltwater-gag-grouper-phenomenal-around-tampa-bay-right-now/3875251001/
2 www.theledger.com - https://www.theledger.com/story/sports/2020/12/24/saltwater-gag-grouper-biting-offshore-and-around-inshore-structures/4024564001/
3 www.bradenton.com - https://www.bradenton.com/sports/outdoors/fishing-boating/article248093150.html
4 www.floridasportsman.com - http://www.floridasportsman.com/2021/01/01/west-central-weekend-fishing-4cast/