Fishing for Grouper in Florida: Tips from a Charter Captain
Grouper season is all year long in the west-central region of Florida! With the right captain at the helm, you will be reeling in these monsters regularly, but you must pay attention to the size limit and what specific subspecies of grouper are open and closed to harvest.
This article will provide you with some tips from an experienced Florida charter captain that will help you catch more grouper than you can handle!
What is a grouper fish?
The Florida grouper is a large bottom fish that live on reef ledges, cracks, and caves and they tend to be structured oriented fish.
Some subspecies of grouper commonly found in the west-central region of Flrida are red grouper, gag grouper, scamp grouper and black grouper. The most popular grouper targeted in the central Florida region is red and gag grouper.
A grouper's diet consists of crabs, squid, octopus, and baitfish such as pinfish, threadfins, and sardines. All of these can be used to catch these delicious fish.
How do groupers catch prey?
The grouper will lie and wait to hunt for food, then ambush its prey violently by opening its mouth and sucking it in.
What to know before heading out to catch a grouper
Research the area you're going to be fishing in and make sure it's legal for grouper to be harvested before heading out!
If you have trouble catching grouper, try using frozen squid, octopus, or crab as they can't fight back and a dead stink bait is an easier option at times for ambush predators such as groupers.
Use live bait on a fish finder rig which is a 4-8oz sinker with about 3ft of 40-80lb floro carbon leader and a 6/0 to 9/0 circle hook
Lastly, don't forget your fishing license before heading out for Florida grouper fishing. Using a fishing charter for grouper fishing should already provide you with this, however.
How do you catch a Grouper?
When fishing for grouper, you can use different techniques to catch them.
The most popular technique used by fishermen is bottom fishing with a heavy rod and reel.
There are other ways that people like to fish, though! You could try trolling or free lining a live pinfish when shallow and groupers also love a vertical and or slow pitch jig.
Bottom fishing for grouper is the most popular technique used by fishermen in Florida, and all you need to do is set up your bait, wait until a Grouper arrives at the spot, then reel in quickly with a firm grip on you rod and let the upward momentum of the hook penetrate their mouth and set the hook.
After you have a grouper interested in your bait, lift your rod tip and just start reeling to set the hook and hold on!
Be careful not to yank the rod, like you would when catching bass. This technique generally will not have any effect, and usually, all it accomplishes is yanking the bait out of the grouper’s mouth the preferred technique is to just reel fast to drive the hook in.
Tips & tricks to catching grouper in Florida:
- If you have trouble catching Grouper try using frozen squid, octopus, or crab as they can't fight back.
- Don't forget your fishing license before heading out for grouper fishing! Using a Florida grouper charter should provide you with this, however.
- Bottom fishing is the most popular technique used by fishermen in Florida, and all you need to do is set up the bait, then wait until a Grouper arrives at your spot, and just reel! Remember crank don’t yank, quickly reeling when the grouper is on your bait is what sets the hook.
- Using a big live pinfish or bait fish with the fins cut off will help as they have a harder time evading the ambush of a grouper and often will make an easy meal.
Grouper is one of the most sought-after fish in Florida. With the correct charters, you can learn all the trade tricks to help snag this large fish!
If you are in the St. Petersburg area and looking for a fishing charter that has the best experience in hunting for these amazing fish, contact us! Our 8-hour fishing charters in St. Petersburg will have you catching an unforgettable trophy fish in no time!