Tuesday, March 11, 2008, 10:13 PM - GrouperGroupers are one of many prized fish that we can catch along all coasts of Florida and the Bahamas. Hard fighting and good eating bottom fish, The Southeastern US particularly Florida Keys groupers provide the best grouper fishing in the world. Groupers are a firm, white meat fish that makes a spectacular onion-garlic sauté for your dinner table. Enough recipe chats!! Let's catch fish.
Posted by Administrator
Posted by Administrator
Classic method of grouper fishing entails bottom fishing with heavy tackle. Grouper are aggressive strikers, so right when they inhale the bait, they will normally go right into the rocks or structure that is surrounding them.
Another favorite method for grouper fishing is trolling. This method works in water from 15 to 25 feet in depth and works wherever grouper are found.
If you are fishing in shallow water 4 to 12 feet, another popular way to Grouper fish is called flat lining. Most of the time if there are grouper on the structure where you are, you will have a hook up fairly quickly.
NOTE: Goliath Grouper, formerly known as Jewfish, are totally protected from harvest in Florida waters. Also, Red Grouper, gag grouper, and Nassau grouper (spawn in April and May) prefer water temperatures between 66 and 77 degrees F.
I. Bait for Grouper
Just remember, big bait, big fish, small bait, small fish. From gag grouper in at little as ten to twelve feet of water to the mighty Warsaw grouper in several hundred feet of water, all grouper tend to like the same types of baits and presentations whether they are on the bottom or by trolling.
II. Bottom fishing with live baits
The bottom structure that you're near tends to pull them in closer, housing a variety of species of fish, including tons of bait. Pinfish and large grunts would be your best bait. What you want to do is see which way the tide is moving and go to the side where your bait will go away from the pier, find a good rock pile and just keep letting line out until you know your bait is right in front of your grouper.
You will find that most baits that live primarily on the bottom will not be suitable for trolling, but will be good for bottom fishing or even mid-water fishing if the boat is at anchor or drifting slowly. The best bait for these fish is cut squid which is provided onboard. Sand perch are also good bait when filleted or steaked and used as chunks. Sardines and live pinfish are good grouper bait and can be purchased on the dock before sailing each morning.
Keep an eye out for birds sitting in the water because they're on top of the bait, and all you have to do is wait a few minutes for Mr. Grouper.
III. Fishing Tackle
- A rod with a lot of backbone, a reel with the ability to crank down an extra hard drag, and 60 to 80 pound test line are the usual equipment on a bottom fishing trip for grouper. One of the most common rigs for grouper fishing is called the sliding or egg sinker (aka knocker) rig. If you're bottom fishing with live baits such as pin fish and large grunts, use a 3 to 8 ounce egg sinker, 2 to 3 foot of 50 to 100 pound leader and a 5 to 10/0 hook, depending on the size of bait.
IV. Trolling, Bottom fishing- Flat lining for groupers
- Classic grouper fishing involves bottom fishing with relatively heavy tackle. Grouper are aggressive strikers, so right when they inhale the bait, they will normally go right into the rocks or structure that is surrounding them. Trolling
- Another favorite method for grouper fishing is trolling. This method works in water from 15 to 25 feet in depth and works wherever grouper are found. In the winter and early spring, black grouper and red grouper make their way up from deeper water to the relative shallows of near shore patch reefs to spawn. Some patches climb almost vertically, and all have holes and caves serving as home to a variety of fish, including our groupers. The feather lures or lures with a ballyhoo combo & running about 12 to 15 feet deep attract the groupers to run out of their holes as the bait goes by.
- The method we use during this time is to slow troll feathers with strip bait, such as mullet on deep troll downriggers, between, next to, and sometimes over the patch reefs. The wire line is necessary to (1) get the bait deep enough, and (2) provide a no stretch line to insure the fish is moved away from the reef. The feather will run about 12 to 15 feet deep and the grouper will run out of his hole as the bait goes by.
V. Flat Lining
If you are fishing in shallow water 4 to 12 feet, another popular way to Grouper fish is called flat lining. What you want to do is see which way the tide is moving and go to the side where your bait will go away from the pier or boat, find a good rock pile, and just keep letting line out until you know your bait is right in front of our groupers' dinner table.
The majority of the time if there are grouper on the structure where you are, you will have a hook up fairly quickly. This is why heavy leader is required. You can bet on one thing; if you want to catch a few grouper, you are going to go through some tackle.
Watch the water for fish next time you head out; be aware of what is going on in the water. Bait fish attract predator fish, and there is no reason for not fishing the area around a big baitfish school.
So trolling their dinner behind the boat will be our way of catching & hooking up these fish. If the fish don't strike your bait while you're trolling fast, slow down, and let the bait sink a little.
When a fish hits, Let go of the line, count to five, snap the bail closed, and start cranking.
When you've hooked your fish, work on him so he gets tired. You don't want to get a 40 lb fish back to the boat until he's quieted down a bit.
Tight Lines & enjoy your fishing,
By: Marilyn Davis
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