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Snowy Grouper Habits

author
Paul Gonzalez
• Wednesday, 22 September, 2021
• 15 min read

Smaller fish are dark brown overall, punctuated with coin-size pearly white spots on the sides. A distinctive black, saddle-shaped blotch occurs on the caudal peduncle and extends down below the lateral line.

snowy grouper habitat deep water predators reef spawning feeding communities important such form noaa lophelia ii 2008 courtesy
(Source: oceanexplorer.noaa.gov)

Contents

Larger snowy groupers usually lose the white spots and caudal saddle and become dark brown with a slight coppery tint. Snowy groupers can be found in the outer continental shelf of the South Atlantic Bight, which is characterized by ridges, terraces and precipitous cliffs.

The species is distributed in the western Atlantic from Massachusetts to Brazil, including the Gulf of Mexico, the Lesser Antilles and the northern coast of Cuba. Snowy grouper are protogynous hermaphrodites, spawning from May to June and releasing more than 2 million eggs.

Open Season: May 1 – August 31 Note: since this species is managed under an Annual Catch Limit, the fishery could close if the recreational Annual Catch Limit is met or projected to be met. If an in-season closure were to be announced by NOAA Fisheries, all relevant information will be included here.

Recreational and commercial fishermen are required to use hooking tools when fishing for snapper grouper species. At least one hooking device is required and must be used as needed to remove hooks embedded in South Atlantic snapper- grouper with minimum damage.

Definition of a Descending Device: an instrument to which is attached a minimum of a 16 ounce weight and a length of line that will release the fish at the depth from which the fish was caught or a minimum of 60 feet. Since minimizing surface time is critical to increasing survival, descending devices shall be readily available for use while engaged in fishing.

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(Source: noaateacheratsea.blog)

If an in-season closure were to be announced by NOAA Fisheries, all relevant information will be included here Bottom longline is allowed only in depths 50 fathoms or more and only north of St. Lucie Inlet, Florida.

Recreational and commercial fishermen are required to use hooking tools when fishing for snapper grouper species. At least one hooking device is required and must be used as needed to remove hooks embedded in South Atlantic snapper- grouper with minimum damage.

Definition of a Descending Device: an instrument to which is attached a minimum of a 16 ounce weight and a length of line that will release the fish at the depth from which the fish was caught or a minimum of 60 feet. Since minimizing surface time is critical to increasing survival, descending devices shall be readily available for use while engaged in fishing.

A circle hook is defined as a fishing hook designed and manufactured so that the point is turned perpendicularly back to the shank to form a generally circular, or oval, shape. The use of non-stainless steel hooks when fishing for snapper- grouper species with hook-and-line gear and natural baits south of 28º north latitude.

Best fishing practices tips information on hook types how-to videos This prohibition does not apply to fish harvested, landed, and sold prior to the annual catch limit being reached and held in cold storage by a dealer.

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(Source: en.wikipedia.org)

Snowy grouper can be found in the western Atlantic from Massachusetts to Brazil, the Gulf of Mexico and the waters of the Lesser Antilles and the northern coast of Cuba. This fish is usually taken off rocky bottoms along the edge of the continental shelf around 80-120 fathoms deep, though juveniles occasionally may be found inshore.

They may reach a maximum age of 17 years, a weight of 70 pounds and a total length of 4 feet. The snowy grouper is territorial, like most grouper, and waits to ambush its prey, which includes gastropods, cephalopods, brachyuran crustaceans and ray-finned fishes.

The snowy grouper is territorial, like most groupers, and waits to ambush its prey. This WEBSITE is the copyright © 2002/2020 All rights reserved.

Range & Habitat: Western Atlantic: Massachusetts, USA to southern Brazil, includes the Gulf of Mexico and the Caribbean. Snowy groupers can be found in the outer continental shelf of the South Atlantic Bight, which is characterized by ridges, terraces and precipitous cliffs.

The species is distributed in the western Atlantic from Massachusetts to Brazil, including the Gulf of Mexico, the Lesser Antilles and the northern coast of Cuba. Identification & Biology: SnowyGrouper earmark gray all over, the snowy groupers name derives from the obscure white spots arranged in a definite geometric pattern over the body.

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(Source: www.fishheadquarters.com)

Smaller fish are dark brown overall, punctuated with coin-size pearly white spots on the sides. A distinctive black, saddle-shaped blotch occurs on the caudal peduncle and extends down below the lateral line.

Larger snowy groupers usually lose the white spots and caudal saddle and become dark brown with a slight coppery tint. Market Description: Like most groupers, it has a very lean white flaky flesh and is versatile in cooking.

The SnowyGrouper, also known as the Brownie, chocolate or golden grouper is named for the white spots that are geometrically placed on their bodies. This tropical species lives in the outer continental shelf in water 600 to 1,000 feet deep.

Their color is dark gray or brown with scattered whitish spots. Snowy grouper, Epimetheus hiatus, also known as Golden Grouper, is deep water fish distributed throughout Florida and the Western Bahamas, in the western Atlantic from Massachusetts to Brazil, including the Gulf of Mexico, Bermuda, Caribbean, the Lesser Antilles, Bimini and the northern coast of Cuba.

Coloration is extremely pleasant, with basically darker purple or brown hues comprising a background highlighted by white dots that look like snowflakes fallen on an antique Oldsmobile. Adults retain black or dark brown bodies, but with lighter marks on the tail and caudal fins.

snowy grouper reef
(Source: teacheratsea.wordpress.com)

Rear margin of caudal fin convex in juveniles (5 to 30 cm standard length), straight or concave in adults. Smaller fish are dark brown overall, punctuated with coin-size pearly white spots on the sides in vertical series usually extending onto head and dorsal fin.

Adults are dark brown, with margin of spinors dorsal fin black. A distinctive black, saddle-shaped blotch occurs on the caudal peduncle and extends down below the lateral line.

Larger snowy groupers usually lose the white spots and caudal saddle and become dark brown with a slight coppery tint. The eastern Pacific species Star-studded grouper is very similar to SnowyGrouper ; juvenile Star-studded grouper (5 to 10 cm standard length) have smaller eyes, pelvic fins not longer than pectoral fins, and more pectoral-fin rays (morally 19).

Habitats Sometimes called the chocolate or golden grouper, the snowy is a fish of deep water with adults living in the outer continental shelf in water 600 to 1,000 feet deep. Snowy groupers can be found in the outer continental shelf of the South Atlantic Bight, which is characterized by ridges, terraces and precipitous cliffs.

These fish are usually found offshore in depths of at least 400 feet, and they are not commonly encountered by anglers. These fish are found primarily in marine environments, but can also occur in brackish and freshwater areas.

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(Source: www.tripadvisor.com)

SpawningSnowygrouper are protogynous hermaphrodites, spawning from April to July and producing more than 2 million eggs. Mating rites are assumed to involve one male and a harem of females, followed by a seasonal run up the water column, where millions of eggs are fertilized.

Snowy groupers are eager to strike; they could be caught with hook-and-line, bottom longlines, and traps. Finding one and hooking it is difficult enough, and it can take a long time to pull it to the surface.

The extra lean white meat is firm and moist with large flake and a sweet, mild flavor. Actual cooking time will depend on the thickness of the fish and the temperature of the oil.

Peak Season: May 1st- August 31st Best Charter: Full Day Offshore Best Technique: Deep Dropping Best Bait: Bonito Strips, Squid Table Fare: Excellent if in season As far as anatomy is concerned, snowy grouper are very similar in shape and size as other grouper.

Snowy grouper are a deep drop species that inhabit much deeper areas than their other grouper relatives. Most of the water in 350-650 feet off Miami is mud so it definitely takes some looking around to find the right spots.

grouper snowy traeger hook cook
(Source: www.youtube.com)

“Deep dropping” with Chicken Rigs is the primary technique for getting down to snowy grouper. Because of the depth, electric reels are standard for targeting snowy's though we have caught them manually.

Origin:Producer:Harvest Method: Click Here local Now to Order While deep dropping is one of my favorite kinds of fishing it just isn’t the same without being able to keep the one snowy grouper per boat day allowed by the federal rules.

In the old days before the Draconian restrictions, I would use the same baits and rig for grouper as I would for tile fish, barrel fish and rose fish. The size of the grouper would run the gamut from Kitty bitty to huge.

To ensure that you keep to the huge side of the spectrum, it is imperative to weed out all but the most over-sized specimens. Bonita, mackerel, dolphin, octopus and squid all make fine bait for snowy.

When I target other species deep dropping I will usually deploy a 4 hook rig. The top loop is fastened to a snap swivel on the main line.

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(Source: flfishingspots.com)

How much weight you’ll need to hold bottom depends on several factors. If the wind is crossing the direction of the current it also takes more weight to hold bottom.

I usually start with a pound and a half and go up until I am able to stay near the bottom without constantly dropping the bait by letting more line out. The use of traded line has allowed the use of much smaller reels for deep dropping until now I am successfully using spinning reels as my primary deep drop rig.

Fifty pound line is plenty strong to lift anything that I have hooked while dropping. Thanks to its thin diameter it has little drag through the water and because it has virtually no stretch you can feel the smallest bump or nibble even over 700 feet down.

When brought up from these great depths there is a significant amount of barotrauma suffered by the fish. To have the best chance of success I use my down rigger to return fish to a depth at which the gas bubbles in their tissues have all but disappeared.

A fish that is stiff as a board upon reaching the surface will begin to tug at the line again when dropped back to depth. I have replaced my stainless steel cable with heavy braid and have over 300 feet on the reel.

grouper snowy gulf mexico
(Source: www.inlandseafood.com)

A ten pound down rigger weight will return all but the largest grouper. I use a small bronzed hook that will corrode quickly and bridle the fish with a light piece of monofilament line.

When the fish is at depth just power the boat forward quickly and snap the line from the weight. Deep dropping for snowy grouper is the perfect activity for an angler with Fishing ADD.

John Saharan Offshore and backcountry fishing in the Lower Keys, Capt. Two beautiful blue line tile fish reeled up from the deep waters off Marathon FL. Blue Line Tile fish can be found near or on rock ledges or humps from Depths of 700-450 feet of water.

I find that their favorite bait is squid, but they will eat just about any kind of fish. When using hand cranks or electric reels deep dropping is fun and you can fill the cooler with great eating fish.

Blue Line Tile fish are considered a grouper when consulting the FCC which lets you take three per angler as long as you still have three open grouper slots in your take still left open. Unlike most of the deep drop fish, Golden Tile fish are primarily are found on muddy bottoms as it becomes night they burrow into the mud for protection while they sleep.

grouper snowy fish stories
(Source: newwavetaxidermy.com)

Nice sized snowy grouper pulled up from the depths while deep drop fishing in Marathon, Florida Keys. Snowy Groupers are found from 1100-450 feet of water near or on rock, ledges, holes or humps.

Usually Dolphin is already in the box as when I go deep dropping, as we find them on the way to the grounds, but I always bring some sort of bait just in case. Of course Snowy grouper is in the grouper aggregate category and you are only allowed to harvest one per vessel in Federal waters but in State waters you are allowed one per harvester in conjunction with your grouper aggregate.

As with the SnowyGrouper, Yellow Edges eat the same bait and I use the same set up for the two fish. This big guy is a wreck fish hooked while deep dropping in over two thousand feet of water in the Florida Keys. Wreckfish are found from 1100-2600 feet of water on rock ledges, holes, and humps.

And again, because of strict regulations I only drop two to three hooks because this fish you are only allowed to keep one per vessel and it is only open for three months out of the year. Their food fair is ok, but really tough, I like to over cook them on the grill and then dip in drawn butter and it resembles lobster.

The queen snapper is one of the most beautiful bright-colored fish in the sea. And tasty, to boot. Queen Snapper are found on or near rock ledges, holes and humps.

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(Source: spacefishreport.com)

The Queen Snapper is probably the best eating fish we have here in South Florida, and they are quite numerous during the fall and winter months, as we get into the spring all of these fish leave and go somewhere, probably Mexico as that is the only place I have seen queen snapper of this quality like my long time fishing buddy Andy Payne is holding up in this photo of a twenty-five pound specimen. Unlike the deep water groupers and tile fish, queen snapper migrate long distances, because when they leave the Keys they are nowhere to be found in South Florida, except for a couple here and there.

Escobar has many species among their family, this one in the photo is an Escobar Road and is found very deep where mainly their only food are Angler fish, Scaled Dragon fish, squid and many other deep water species most people have never heard about unless you watch the Discovery Channel. I love squid for dropping because that is the natural forage fish these deep water species are accustomed to eating, and I like barracuda because of its tough skin, it is really hard for the fish to get it off the hook and also because it’s so stinky.

I generally use large hooks when dropping that deep as most of the fish even when they are small have big mouths. Escobar is quite common fish to find in a sushi restaurant otherwise you will almost never see it on the menu.

Usually you don’t target Escobar, but instead it’s an accidental catch while fishing for other deep water species in the Florida Keys. When fishing ledges and humps, lots of different deep water species congregate there for many reasons, one being food, and others like the cover.

Generally found off of Key West and the Bahamas this fish is greatly sought after as its soft snapper fillets are highly prized by anglers. Tasty deep dropping catch. Barrel fish can be found from 700-1200 feet of water on ledges and humps.

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(Source: www.pinterest.com)

I call it chicken of the sea, because of its mild flavor and its unique texture. This grouper is primarily found in the Bahamas but occasionally I have caught a few here in the States.

They are usually very deep and are found where the Silk Snapper are as that is their natural forage food. They aren’t the best eating but not bad, definitely good for frying as they too tend to have very firm texture.

From the Photo my friend and Captain Brain Leon accompanied my group to the Bahamas where we caught this fish. Misty Grouper are easily identified by its large striped pattern.

No words to describe… Black Belly Rose fish can be found from 600-1500 feet of water on every bottom type. Have you thanked your electric reel today? Swordfish can be found on ledges and humps from 1100-2600 feet of water.

They will eat a variety of baits either on the bottom in the daytime or on the surface at night. Sword fishing in the daytime we fish on the bottom because that’s where their food is, and they constantly eat 24 hours a day.

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(Source: www.delphfishing.com)

When Swordfish feed, they use their bill to kill or injure their prey before eating it. And for this reason we find by sowing the bait on it will still be on the hook after the Swordfish swats at it.

These fish once hooked take about an hour for every hundred pounds that they weigh to reel in. They have very soft mouths, and we lose lots of fish from hooks tearing out.

PREAMBLE This chapter establishes recreational and commercial limitations on the harvest and landings of Tile fish and Groupers in Virginia. This chapter is promulgated pursuant to authority contained in §28.2-201 of the Code of Virginia.

The purpose of this chapter is to provide for the conservation of tile fish and grouper and to reduce the potential for overfishing by establishing limits on the harvest and landing of these fish. It shall be unlawful for any person fishing recreationally to possess or land more than eight golden tile fish in Virginia tidal waters.

The recreational harvest, landing and possession limit for blue line tile fish for any person fishing from a for-hire vessel that has been issued a valid Tile fish Charter/Party Permit, but does not have a current U.S. Coast Guard Certificate of Inspection shall be five blue line tile fish per person per trip. The recreational harvest, landing and possession limit for blue line tile fish for any person fishing from for-hire vessels that have both a valid Tile fish Charter/Party Permit and a current U.S. Coast Guard Certificate of Inspection shall be seven blue line tile fish per person per trip.

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(Source: www.tripadvisor.com)

C. The recreational harvest, landing and possession limit for grouper, as described in 4 VAC 20-1120-20, shall be one fish. It shall be unlawful for any person to recreationally harvest, land or possess more than one grouper within or without Virginia tidal waters.

D. When fishing recreationally from any boat or vessel, where the entire catch is held in a common hold or container, the boat or vessel possession limit for any species described in subsections A or B of this section shall be equal to the sum of the personal possession limits, as described in subsections A or B of this section, of those persons on board legally eligible to fish. It shall be unlawful for any person, fishing recreationally, to harvest or possess any blue line tile fish from January 1 through April 30 and from November 1 through December 31.

It shall be unlawful for any person harvesting tile fish when commercial fishing, as described in 4 VAC 20-1120-20, to do any of the following: Possess aboard any vessel in Virginia waters any amount of tile fish species in excess of 500 pounds whole weight or 455 pounds gutted weight, except as described in 4 VAC 20-1120-40 A.2.

Possess aboard any vessel in Virginia waters any amount of blue line tile fish in excess of 300 pounds whole weight or 273 pounds gutted weight. Possess aboard any vessel any amount of golden tile fish during any in-season closure announced by the National Marine Fisheries Service.

It shall be unlawful for any vessel to land in Virginia more than 175 pounds of grouper, as described in 4 VAC 20-1120-20, per day when commercial fishing. As set forth in §28.2-903 of the Code of Virginia, any person violating any provision of this chapter shall be guilty of a Class 3 misdemeanor, and a second or subsequent violation of any provision of this chapter committed by the same person within 12 months of a prior violation is a Class 1 misdemeanor.

grouper snowy
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This is to certify that the foregoing is a true and accurate copy of the chapter passed by the Marine Resources Commission, pursuant to authority vested in the Commission by § 28.2-201 of the Code of Virginia, duly advertised according to statute, and recorded in the Commission's minute book, at meeting held in Hampton, Virginia, on March 26, 2019.

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Sources
1 coastalanglermag.com - https://coastalanglermag.com/fishing-state-florida-june/
2 www.tripstodiscover.com - https://www.tripstodiscover.com/fishing-vacations-in-florida/
3 fishingbooker.com - https://fishingbooker.com/blog/florida-fishing-spots/
4 offshorehustler.com - https://offshorehustler.com/fish-calendar.php