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Rigs For Grouper Fishing

author
James Lee
• Wednesday, 23 June, 2021
• 10 min read

Are tough as heck fighters Can be found in most regions/depths Grouper provide some of the most popular fish-eating meat in America… Makes them a very popular fish to both offshore and inshore anglers (and tourists looking for a good Grouper sandwich).

grouper rigs rig fishing leaders tackle items
(Source: fishingtacklefor.us)

Contents

Max limit for 2 from 17 ft skiff using the leader rig shown below. But a problem with grouper fishing (and targeting other species when bottom fishing) is that many anglers don’t put much thought into making their leaders… They simply get a weight, a hook, some line, and perhaps a swivel or two and start tying their favorite knot for all the connections.

And a majority of the time, that lack of thinking about all aspects of what they’re targeting leaves the following two problems: The weakest point in the overall system (most often at the knot that connects the lighter main line to the top of the heavier leader assembly) is up above the weight.

And since grouper are structure oriented, the odds of them getting stuck to the bottom due to the weight getting snagged are high which will make them easy targets to the next shark that cruises by. Knowing that grouper and most other bottom fish seek comfort in structure when the feel threatened, we need to account for the fact that there will be break-offs in our decision for how we make our leader assemblies.

When targeting strong fish that live in and around heavy cover, the likelihood of getting snagged on the bottom is high. So my preference is to set up the overall line system to have the weakest point be the knot that goes directly to the hook while also beefing up the line most exposed to getting weakened from bumping rough patches on the bottom (directly above the weight).

The Orris knot is my preferred choice to tie to the Perfection loop because it’s extremely fast to tie and is very strong (not quite as strong as the Palomar, but it’s stronger than any Loop knot I’ve tested so it’ll not be the weakest link). Note: Different line brands/types of course have different breaking points, so these values are just to serve as a rough estimate.

grouper rig rigs leaders leader fishing
(Source: fishingtacklefor.us)

Grouper fishing is a fantastic way for a group of friends or a family to get out on the water and enjoy nature together… And given their popularity, we need to pay extra attention to take the best possible care of them so our future generations can continue to enjoy this great game fish as well as other structure oriented species that also be harmed by poorly designed leader rigs.

“Sometimes it’s hard to grouper fish with Mali swimming around your boat, but our stretch of offshore reefs can give up some really quality gags and scamps this time of year, particularly on spots deeper than 120 feet,” he said. The rig consists of an egg sinker sliding on an 18-inch piece of 100-pound mono between two swivels.

A 6-foot piece of 100-pound mono leads to a circle hook, with the size depending on the bait. “If I’m fishing for gags, my favorite bait is a live golden spot or a pinkish,” said Johnson.

Johnson prefers the slip sinker rig, because fooling big grouper is all about presentation. Keep the sinker pinned against the bottom swivel and at the first sign of panic in the bait, let him swim away from the weight unencumbered.

Johnson says he’d always prefer to hook his live spots, grunts, and pinkish behind the anal fin, but cautions that you have to consider the current. How to build three proven rigs for taking grouper, snapper and other bottom species.

rig grouper sinker egg rite angler snapper chicken
(Source: charliesworms.com)

Consistent success demands precise anchoring or drifting tactics, specialized rigs, a strong back and plenty of elbow grease, not to mention a little of luck. Should all of these elements fall into place, you'll find yourself muscling big fish out of the depths and into your cooler.

As simple as they might appear, bottom rigs have a major influence on success, or lack thereof. For many fishermen, the main selling point of fluorocarbon is that the material is simply less visible than traditional nylon monofilament.

Therefore, in murky water, where leader visibility isn't a concern, fluorocarbon still offers an advantage that justifies its expense. For groupers and amber jack, I'll use a large, double-strength, short-shank hook in a size ranging from 8/0 to 11/0, one with a relatively wide gap if I'm dropping big live baits.

Although there are numerous variations when it comes to bottom rigs, outlined on the following pages are three highly effective versions that will fool more big snappers, groupers, amber jack and cobra around reefs, wrecks and other structure. This is a good rig to use with weights heavier than 16 ounces and for fishing over heavy structure.

The weight, usually a bank sinker, is connected to the third eye of the swivel via several inches of lighter line. This rig boasts many of the same advantages as the in-line version when using a long leader, plus the heavy sinker won't chafe the fishing line.

rig billfisher grouper 30in terminal fishing supplies rigs tackle sportsman gear
(Source: www.sportsmans.com)

Furthermore, should the rig snag on the bottom, it can usually be freed by locking down the drag and winding tight until the lighter line holding the sinker parts. However, the short leader provides hardly any slack for a fish to dive back into the structure before or at the moment the hook is set.

Then I tie on six feet of 40- or 50-pound fluorocarbon and a 5/0 to 8/0 circle hook, based on the bait I'm using and size of the fish. It's also productive when fishing the bottom well up current of a wreck or reef. The long leader allows a live bait to swim relatively unrestricted, or a dead one to float more naturally in the current.

As the in-line egg sinker rests on bottom, the bait flutters enticingly above it some 15 to 25 feet back. Should a suspicious fish peck at the bait, the play in the long leader usually prevents it from detecting any resistance.

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grouper rig rigs leaders pound test line
(Source: fishingtacklefor.us)

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grouper rigs rig leaders
(Source: fishingtacklefor.us)

The best way to catch Tuna, bonito, Atlantic mackerel, Atlantic bonito, or just classic big mackerel in Mediterranean Sea is trolling. Every angler who lives around Mediterranean Sea dreams to catch a giant dented or big snappers.

There are lots of small streams in urban areas that we rarely see someone fishing. Fatties, or “doormats” when they get big, like their meals low and tight, so you’ll do best to keep a tempting bait in their zone.

Adjusting the bomber stopper up or down lets you lengthen or shorten the bait’s distance from the weight, thereby controlling how high it may rise in the water column. Modify this for flounder fishing with a Rocky Brook Sinker (www.rockybrooksinkers.com) made of actual limestone that’s cut, sanded smooth and fitted with a swivel.

These are highly effective for walking, dragging or hopping across uneven bottom that ensnare jigs of more slender profile. From jetty perimeters, to limestone outcroppings, to the underside of piers, football heads allow for more targeted casting and controlled movement in shaggy habitat.

Slip a soft-plastic stick bait or a light finesse worm on the hook and the rig looks like an eel or small fish rummaging across the bottom. But don’t stop your retrieve at the rocks’ edge; let your swim bait fall to the sandy perimeter and hop it around to imitate a wounded bait fish.

rig grouper amberjack fishing wreck fish log double swivel
(Source: www.fishmiamicharters.com)

›› The “Right” Angle: The Flounder Fanatic (34- and 1 ½-ounce, www.bettstackle.net) comprises a lead disc molded with a specialized hook that protrudes nearly perpendicularly from one of the flat sides and then turns backward so the bend and the point lay parallel to the weight, and by extension, the bottom. Made for drifting, trolling or casting, this rig keeps everything tight and compact, but the real sweet point is that paralleling the bottom practically spoon-feeds the flounder with just the right angle for its sideways mouth.

A monofilament hook guard keeps the rig weedless, while a thin metal pin attached to the eye holds artificial in place. Beats also makes a Flounder Fanatic Jig that takes a standard Deadhead design and gives the head/eye a quarter turn.

Now that you have your rod, reel, braided line and leader material it's time to put it all together. This involves terminal tackle: swivels, snaps, weights (sinkers) and hooks, as well as spooling the reel.

Over the years I have settled on three types of knots and a configuration that allows me to change weights and hooks on the fly. The approach also allows storage of the rig parts easily and conveniently Let's see what is involved.

A video of the whole process can be found at making a grouper fishing rig. Snap swivels have an additional feature allowing them to be opened and closed.

fishing rigs grouper bottom rig deep rock rods pros florida footers b50 reels tuck tight arm under right star
(Source: www.floridasportsman.com)

Purchase swivels that are salt water rated and have a breaking strength in the 90-125lb range. Circle hooks are designed to lodge in the corner of the jaw as opposed to gut-hooking a fish.

The non-offset circle hook complies with both federal and state regulations so get those to be safe. It is debatable whether this is needed for most grouper fishing but the little advantage it brings won't hurt.

For grouper fishing I recommend using 80-150 lb test monofilament or fluorocarbon leaders. Here is a step-by-step process resulting in a full spool of braid backed by mono.

Tie the end of the braid to a spool of mono (15-30 lb test) using a double uni knot Continue winding until the reel is full. Finally, tie the end of the mono from the last step on to the reel you want to fill and wind it on.

The result is a reel backed by mono and filled to the max with braid. Finally, we will tie the snap swivel to the end of the leader, make up some interchangeable weight connections and tie some hooks to separate sections of leader.

circle grouper rig hook striker fullscreen sea dick
(Source: www.dickssportinggoods.com)

SINKER Attachments: I find it convenient to be able to switch out weights while fishing without having to retie anything. To accomplish this, thread a sinker on to a 6" section of leader and tie a regular swivel on one end and a snap swivel on the other end using an improved clinch knot.

Tie this knot so that the line is going through the hook eye in the direction of the point (the opposite of the demo link). On the other end of the leader attach a regular swivel with an improved cinch knot.

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Sources
1 www.today.com - https://www.today.com/recipes/smoked-fish-dip-recipe-t204077
2 www.allrecipes.com - https://www.allrecipes.com/recipe/45291/smoked-fish-dip/
3 www.foodnetwork.com - https://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/smoked-fish-dip0-3258335
4 www.foodandwine.com - https://www.foodandwine.com/recipes/smoked-fish-dip
5 www.ajc.com - https://www.ajc.com/things-to-do/food-and-recipes/recipe-make-sprigs-smoked-trout-dip/3RGHJFXT65HIXKO6OXYJIVUEP4/
6 authenticflorida.com - https://authenticflorida.com/articles/get-a-taste-of-authentic-floridas-smoked-fish-dip-recipe/
7 www.tasteofthesouthmagazine.com - https://www.tasteofthesouthmagazine.com/blackened-grouper/
8 www.midgetmomma.com - https://www.midgetmomma.com/smoked-queso-dip-the-best-velveeta-queso-dip/
9 fultonfishmarket.com - https://fultonfishmarket.com/recipes/clam-dip-recipe
10 www.aspicyperspective.com - https://www.aspicyperspective.com/smoked-salmon-dip-recipe/