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Is It Grouper Season In Florida

author
Danielle Fletcher
• Sunday, 03 January, 2021
• 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 pluses its florida keys fishing minuses fish snowy reel
(Source: keysweekly.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 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.

grouper gag season fishing gulf florida coast fwc recreational open counties harvest april chronicleonline
(Source: content.govdelivery.com)

The real question is, what subspecies of grouper you’ll find at the end of your line. 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).

Gag grouper will close to recreational harvest in Gulf state and federal waters Jan. 1, 2021. For gag grouper, state waters off Franklin, Weibull, Taylor and Jefferson counties will reopen to harvest April 1 through June 30 and Sept. 1 through Dec. 31.

In the Atlantic and state waters of Monroe County, the grouper closure ends April 30, and harvest will reopen May 1. Rebecca Barry She is thrilled to be in the River City where she can catch the JU Dolphin's games and study the diverse weather patterns.

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.

grouper goliath florida endangered fish groupers scuba critically killing protect fishing mission diving underwater sea monster stearns walt
(Source: mission-blue.org)

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.

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.

grouper gulf florida season fl patch pinellas beaches
(Source: patch.com)

Sight casting opportunities for trout, redfish and black drum are tricky. Conditions through the next few days suggest this technique will work the best early in the morning before the winds come up.

Black drum are taking natural and cut baits near the canal and deeper channels. The most important part of grouper fishing is getting those first few cranks on the reel when the strike comes to keep it out of its hole.

The pompano run may well be in the rearview mirror, but there is still plenty of fun to be had at the beach. Big jacks up to 30 pounds can be caught by surf casters heaving large top water plugs and spoons.

Fish in the 2-3-pound range are lying in ambush anywhere seagrass can be found, sitting on the end of points around mangrove shorelines and even along seawalls where shook, jacks and flounder can also be caught. At first light, toss hard top water plugs like Mirrors, Papal Skitter walks or X-Raps.

The reef just off the North Jetty at Sebastian Inlet State Park where the shook always stage has been a good place to catch and release an overshot. Fish inside the inlet along the shorelines for a better chance at a slot sizes nook.

grouper seasons coastalanglermag
(Source: coastalanglermag.com)

Bluegill fishing is picking up in area ponds, lakes and parts of the St. Johns River. The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission rejected a proposal for a limited harvest of 100 grouper per year at a meeting in Fort Lauderdale Thursday, citing uncertain data about the true health and numbers of the fish.

“Based upon the data and the science presented, I just don’t see that it’s viable to even attempt a limited harvest at this stage,” said Commissioner Michael Sole. Last year, the Commission held workshops around the state to get public input on a proposal to open the Goliath for limited harvest.

Like the meeting Thursday, many of the workshops were packed with divers and activists who spoke sternly in opposition to the proposal. “FCC seems to be in a rush to return to killing a species just as its numbers are recovering,” said Don Anthony of the Animal Rights Foundation of Florida at Thursday’s meeting.

Commissioners asked staff scientists to dig deeper and come back with another report by the end of the year. The Ten A Thousand Islands area of Southwest Florida is one of few locations in the world where Goliath grouper have reestablished a viable population.

Read below to learn more about Goliath grouper, the history of its declining and recovering population, and how you can get involved as fisheries scientists continue to research and manage this species. Juvenile Goliath are typically more brown or tan with a more noticeable pattern of dark, blotched, vertical lines.

grouper gag fish florida offshore beach weld tuesday catch sportsman sunday
(Source: www.floridasportsman.com)

Once they reach reproductive age, Goliath grouper form large aggregations of 100 or more individuals during the summer spawning months of July, August, and September. These aggregations gather at shallow ledge or shoreline sites such as the mangrove forests of Ten A Thousand Islands National Wildlife Refuge.

Threats Several life history traits of Goliath grouper make the species particularly vulnerable to the pressure of overfishing. These traits include late sexual maturity, large and predictable spawning aggregations in shallow inshore waters, and strong refuge site fidelity.

For example, found approximately two hours north of Ten A Thousand Islands National Wildlife Refuge, Tampa Bay is one of the largest ports in the United States. It is estimated that over the past 100 years the area has lost over 44% of its mangroves and salt marshes due to heavy human development and traffic.

Coral reefs are susceptible to degradation through natural factors including hurricanes, El Niño events, and diseases. Reefs are also degraded through human action such as overfishing, damaging fishing practices, development, pollution, ocean acidification, and irresponsible tourism.

Once abundant and growing to massive, reproductively mature sizes, Goliath grouper have suffered significant population declines attributed to overfishing and habitat loss. While the species is showing clear signs of recovery in South Florida, the true status of the population remains uncertain.

grouper season forecast weekly fired coinciding caught opening weather monster above 1st weekend some
(Source: spacefishreport.com)

Based on recovery trends throughout the past decade, Goliath grouper are no longer classified as a species of concern in U.S. waters. Yet, Goliath grouper remain vulnerable to the pressures of overfishing and habitat loss as the long-lived species slowly rebuilds.

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Sources
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2 www.epicurious.com - https://www.epicurious.com/recipes/member/views/southern-fried-florida-grouper-50097149
3 recipegoldmine.com - https://recipegoldmine.com/fishsea/southern-fried-grouper.html
4 www.yummly.com - https://www.yummly.com/recipes/fried-grouper
5 thekeywester.com - https://thekeywester.com/key-west-food-and-drink/famous-key-west-recipes/key-west-fried-grouper/
6 www.chowhound.com - https://www.chowhound.com/recipes/mario-batalis-fried-grouper-sandwich-31848
7 www.pauladeen.com - https://www.pauladeen.com/recipe/grouper-fingers-with-tartar-sauce/
8 www.foodrepublic.com - https://www.foodrepublic.com/recipes/crispy-fried-grouper-sandwich/
9 www.gritsandpinecones.com - https://www.gritsandpinecones.com/best-southern-crispy-fried-oysters/