Grunt

Grunt is a generic name for a large number of small to medium sized saltwater fish that make a typical piglike noise by grinding their throat teeth.
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Where and When?

The coastal waters off Florida, the Gulf of Mexico and the Caribbean Sea out to and including Bermuda, contain most of the “hot spots” for fishing for the various grunt species. Grunts of some sort can usually be found in most depths of water and several species can often be found together. Most species seem to prefer shallower water, but some, mostly the larger ones, may stray far from shore. Grunts typically prefer rocky substrates and aggregate around solid structure or cover, but a few species can be found in the water column or far from structure. In the warm waters round Florida and elsewhere, grunts may be caught throughout the year, but, while they may be caught after dark, most grunt fishing is carried out in daytime, with morning and evening being best.

About Grunt

There are over 150 “grunting” fish of the Haemulidae family found throughout most of the warm water areas of the world’s oceans. In many areas they are referred to as “grunters”. Off the USA eastern seaboard, there are over 20 species of “grunts”. Many of these are localised in distribution and too small to be of particular interest to sport anglers. Of the species popular among anglers the pork fish (Haemulon virginicus) and tomtate (H. virginicus) rarely exceed 25,4 cm (10 inches) in length. French grunts (H. flavolineatum), pig fish (Orthopristis chrysoptera) and white grunts (H. plumieri) grow slightly larger with the biggest being the margate grunt (H. album), black margate (Anisotremus surinamensis) and the bluestripe grunt (H. Sciurus) that has been recorded at 8,6 kg (19 lbs). Grunts come in many different colours, shapes and sizes but are generally similar to snappers but lack large canine teeth. As already mentioned, they get their name from the characteristic sound that they produce by grinding their pharynx (throat) teeth. All are predators, mostly on small fish and invertebrates and while some, like the margate, may be found down to 150 m (492 ft.), others, such as the pigfish, frequent shallow and often murky waters. Many grunt species form loose associations with other members of the same species, or other species, while others form dense ‘same species’ shoals. There are often several different grunt species that inhabit almost all habitats from close inshore to well offshore, but no large-scale migrations are currently known.

How to Catch?

Grunt fishing can be great fun and even exciting, but light, or very light, tackle should be used to ensure the greatest experience. Shore fishing can be easy, fun, productive and exciting in suitable areas. Most grunt fishing, however, is carried out from small boats or larger charter boats. Some fly-fishing enthusiasts do target various grunt species but by far the most common practice is to use spinning equipment and live, natural or artificial baits. Small boats, kayaks or even surf-boards can be used to get you above the spot where the grunts may be feeding and then it is a matter of