For most anglers, the grouper is the most iconic bottom fish. Whether red, gag, black, yellowfin, or Warsaw, a nice grouper in the ice chest symbolizes a successful day for many people.
Where Can You Find Them?
The range of several grouper species extends from New England to southern Brazil and Texas. They may be found around nearly any type of bottom construction. They live on all of the tropical coral reefs of South Florida. They may be found in and near bottom ledges, live bottom, artificial reefs, and wrecks north of Florida. They want to hide and seek refuge, and even though their name indicates that they stick together, they can be lonely fish. The bigger ones grow rather lonesome.
What do they eat, and how do they eat it?
Although grouper will occasionally hunt bait, they prefer to ambush their meal. They can ambush because of their color and ability to alter hues and tones to blend in with their environment. Because of their ambush potential, they are generally easy to catch but tough to land. Anglers have discovered that the best approach method is to use medium heavy bottom fishing equipment. Reels in the thirty- to the fifty-pound range, along with a medium-heavy boat rod, will suffice. Other tiny fish, crustaceans like crabs or crawfish, and squid are eaten by grouper. They like to wait in their shelter, which is usually just beneath a ledge or backed into a hole in a reef. When a good chance presents itself, they dash out, inhale their victim, and dash back to their burrow.
Straight bottom fishing, free line live bait, and slow trolling are the three main methods for catching grouper. Anglers searching for grouper in the Gulf of Mexico have had a lot of success.
Let’s start with the bottom fishing technique. Almost any grouper may be caught with a decent rod and reel and fifty-pound test monofilament line. Larger lines are considered overkill since they are burdensome and, according to some, visible to the fish. A sinker, leader, and hook are positioned one of two ways in the terminal tackle. Most fishermen refer to the first method as a fish finder rig. There is a pyramid or bank sinker on the very end of the leader. A loop tied in the leader is about eighteen inches above the sinker. The circle is approximately twelve inches long, and the hook is connected to it. A longer leader with two loops and buckles is used in a variant of this rig.
Almost all bottom fishing charter boats use the fish finder rig as their primary bottom rig, and it’s ideal for fishing just beneath the ship. Even when lowered straight into the base structure, the rig seldom hangs up, which charter captains like.
Cut bait, either squid or tiny fish, and occasionally a small live bait, are the most common baits used on a fish detector. This rig can catch a wide range of fish, including grouper.
The second method, known as a live bait rig, is used by more serious grouper fishermen. On the line above the leader, there was a sliding egg sinker. The leader is rather lengthy, up to five or six feet in length. A circle hook, usually about 8/0 or 9/0 in size (an 8/0 circle hook is around the same size as a 5/0 conventional hook), is used on this rig. Monofilament leads are used on each of these bottom rigs. Fluorocarbon is the most used leading material among fishers. Although it is advertised as being nearly undetectable to fish, it appears to attract more strikes than standard monofilament.