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Tactics and Tricks for Fishing Grouper

Grouper fishing is a popular sport that may take some time to perfect, but once a fisherman does, he will be fully satisfied.  The reason groupers are called this is because they do tend to form a large pack.  Groupers tend to come in a variety of sizes and colors, but what makes them a grouper is the fact that they have large eyes, a stout body,  and a large mouth.  Inside they mouth, they have very few teeth on the jaw, but within the pharynx, they have heavy tooth plates.  They can get large in size, such as the Yellowfin grouper, which can weigh over 40 pounds.   Typically, they weigh anywhere from 30 pounds to 300 pounds.   They are commonly found in the United States in the Southeast, but have also been found in Texas.  They can be fished for any time of the year, but when it is cooler out, they will move towards the shoreline to be warmer.    Kinds of grouper fish include the Black Grouper and the Giant Grouper.

Many fishers know that  groupers are  a very stubborn fish, and may take some patience to catch, but the reward is well worth the wait!  Here are some tactics and tricks for fishing grouper.

Be on the lookout for grouper homes

Groupers tend to set up camp in reefs, wreckages, rock piles, and debris.  When  they are scared, they will often hide in holes or caves where they can tuck themselves in to flare their gills, so they will not be able to be removed.  Should they see prey moving by, they will quickly remove themselves from their home, grab their prey, and return back to their hiding spot.  They have excellent eyesight, which aids them in finding prey quickly.

Live Bait

Fishing Grouper with live bait

While each fisherman will have their own preference to which kind of bait to use, most will tell you that live bait is the best when fishing grouper.   Great baits to test out for grouper fishing include sardines, scads, grunts, and pinfish (which can be kept alive for days in a livewell when caught in advance).  Larger live bait seems to work the best for grouper fishing, as grouper fish tend to be on the lazy side and will want a decent meal with little work.  Cut bait can also work for some grouper fish.  Fisherman have had luck with shrimp and crabs as bait.  There are some that also make their own chum to toss into the waters.  Chum is ground up fish which can be placed in a mess bag to attract grouper.   Many have said that if the prey is smaller then them, and moves, a grouper fish will eat it.  Some of the larger groupers have been known to eat a whole small shark. 

When baiting a line, remember to wash hands of all sunscreen, as this will deter fish if they smell the sunscreen.

Groupers tend to have the ability to change their hues when they want to ambush their prey.  This will make them somewhat easy to hook, but beware that this also makes it hard to land them.

Items Needed For Grouper Fishing

Besides a boat, someone on the boat will need to have extensive knowledge of the area you are fishing in to find where the fish tend to hang out.  As groupers are very strong, a heavy line will also be needed for your fishing rig.  Please note that you do not want a line that will be visible to the grouper, as this will deter them from biting.   If you are fishing in really deep waters, you will want your tackle to be very strong.  It is advised to have a 6 to 7 foot rod that is heavy duty that has a 30 to 50 pound class reel.  You will also to have either braided line or a monofilament line.  Each fisherman has their own preference on lines, but braided lines are typically stronger and move better through waters.  Monofilament lines stretch as well, so many fisherman do not care for this type of line. 

A heavy rod will also be needed when fishing grouper. The line should be on top of the rod, not below it.  This will create more pressure when fishing, as well as giving you more cranking power.

The spinning reel you need will have to hold at least 50 to 100 pounds of test line.  This is essential as you do not want the grouper to break the line if you are bottom fishing.  Low gear ratio reels are available, which make cranking the reel easier.

Bottom Fishing

When you go offshore with your boat, you can bottom fish.  Plan on going out 30 to 85 miles to get the best grouper.  The fish will swim with the current, which will make it easier for you to catch them.  It is best to drop the anchor upstream in a slight way. 

When fishing grouper, you will want to drop the line so it goes to the bottom of the waters.  You will need a sinker or weight of some sort to assist in dragging the bait across the bottom to get the grouper's attention.  Once the bait is at the bottom, lift the rod slightly and adjust the crank so the bait is just sitting on the bottom of the floor.

Once you feel a bite or tug, raise the rod after cranking the reel hard, reeling in your catch.

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  • Guest - Van T.

    I am very interested in catching grouper. I have never been fishing for them myself, but it really tickles my fancy to do it one day. I want to know if there are limits to how many you can catch per day? Or is each area different?

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  • Guest - Andrea Smith

    Nice post up there about Grouper fish. It is really amazing that some larger grouper fishes can swallow little sharks, but here in South Africa, the best method is to use a large fish bait or sometimes meat as the case may be. The bigger ones are more like monsters with swa theeth and big eyes. They can be very funny to stare at.:D

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