An alien looking fish with a short body and big mouth, the grouper is one of the highlights of fishing in the tropical seas.View 112 listings
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Where and When?
Groupers are found in tropical coastal waters. Most species prefer rocky bottoms, coral reefs, or wrecks, of 10 to 100-150 feet in depth. Some groupers, such as Scamp Grouper, however, are found at about 300 feet below. Groupers are well distributed in the tropics of the world, but the Number 1 destination for Grouper fishing is the American Atlantic, including Florida, the Caribbean, and the Gulf of Mexico. Grouper fishing in this area is limited by season, with most Grouper species season running from April to November.
A person who has never seen a grouper would be easily convinced that it is an alien life form. Groupers have a short, tall and fat body, and a huge mouth. They are amazing in many other ways, including the fact that most species start their life circle as females, and may (or may not) metamorphose into male later on. Groupers are predatory fish, and employ different strategies to secure their prey. Some catch other fish, crabs, octopuses and such from an ambush, while others are engaged in active search. Their gill and mouth system is so powerful, that they often just suck their prey in and swallow it whole. Most species of groupers are around 30-40 pounds in average weight, with record catches reaching 75-80 pounds. The Atlantic Goliath Grouper, however, is a real monster that can weigh up to 800 pounds, and catches in the 400-500 lb range are not uncommon.
How to Catch?
Groupers usually feed on slow-moving fish and crabs, and unsurprisingly live bait is the prime method of catching this fish. Both rod and reel and hand line are appropriate methods for delivering the bait. Jigging and trolling may work well, too. In most cases, Grouper fishing is running on the lines of offshore, deep-sea, reef or wreck fishing, and especially if you’re after the giant Goliath Grouper, you’re going to need an appropriate fishing boat, not to mention ultra-strong and powerful rod, reel, lines, and hooks (Goliath Groupers are protected species, catch-and-release only, with special hooks that minimize the damage to the fish allowed. Groupers are typically bottom feeders but would sometimes rise to the surface to take the bait right in your sight. Seeing a giant, 400-500 lb. fish nearly snapping your bait out of your hand, is an experience no angler would forget.