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  WHAT TO KNOW ABOUT GROUPER FISHING  
     
 

The classic bottom fish for a lot of anglers is the grouper. Whether red, gag, black, yellowfin or Warsaw, a good grouper in the ice chest means a successful day for most folks.

Some species of grouper range from New England to southern Brazil and Texas, and they are common around almost any kind of bottom structure. In southern Florida they inhabit all of the tropical coral reefs. North of Florida, they can be found in and around bottom ledges, live bottom, and artificial reefs and wrecks. They prefer to be able to seek shelter and hide, and although their name implies that they stay together, they can also be very solitary fish. The larger ones become quite solitary.

Grouperwill chase a bait occasionally, but their preference is to ambush their prey. Their coloration and ability to change hues and shades to blend in with their surroundings gives them that ambush capability. It is this ambush ability that makes them relatively easy to hook, but difficult to land.

Anglers find that medium-heavy bottom fishing tackle is the best way to approach the grouper. Conventional reels in the 30- to 50-pound class teamed with a medium-heavy boat rod will do the trick.

Grouperfeed on other small fish, crustaceans like crabs or crawfish and squid. They tend to sit back in their cover just under a ledge or backed into a hole in a reef and wait. When an easy opportunity swims buy they rush out, inhale their prey, and quickly return to their lair.

There are basically three approaches used when fishing for grouper — straight bottom fishing, free-lining live bait and slow trolling. Anglers in the Gulf of Mexico are quite successful trolling for grouper.

Bottom Fishing

Let's talk about the bottom fishing method first. A good rod and reel, with 50-pound test monofilament line can handle almost all the grouper you may encounter. Line much larger than that is overkill, cumbersome and some believe; more visible to the fish.

The terminal tackle consists of a sinker, leader and hook arranged one of two ways. The first way is called a "fish-finder rig" by most anglers. It is tied with a pyramid or bank sinker on the very end of the leader. Up about eighteen inches from the sinker is a loop tied in the leader. The loop is about twelve inches long and it is to this loop that the hook is tied. A variation of this rig has a longer leader with two loops and hooks.

The fish finder rig is the favorite bottom rig of almost all the bottom fishing charter boats. It is excellent for fishing straight down under the boat. Even when the rig is dropped right into the bottom structure, it seldom hangs up, something charter captains love.

The normal bait used on a fish finder is cut bait, either squid or small fish and occasionally a small live bait. This rig will catch a variety of species, including grouper.

 

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GrouperCharter Guides and Grouper Fishing Guides in Clearwater, Clearwater Beach Florida, Palm Harbor Florida, Tampa Bay Florida, Ozona Florida, Grouper Springs Florida, Dunedin Florida
 
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