For anglers looking for an exciting and challenging fishing experience, targeting grouper in Florida is a great option. Grouper is a prized catch for many reasons, including their impressive size, fierce fighting ability, and delicious flavor. With several species of grouper found in Florida's waters, each with unique characteristics and behaviors, fishing for these bottom-dwellers requires specialized knowledge, equipment, and techniques.  In this article, we'll take a closer look at the types of groupers found in Florida and the styles of fishing used to catch them.

Types of Groupers

Florida is home to several species of grouper, including the most common ones such as Red Grouper, Black Grouper, Gag Grouper, and Scamp Grouper.


Red Grouper

Red Grouper

Red grouper is the most commonly targeted grouper species in Florida. They are usually found in shallow to medium-depth waters, between 30-100 feet, and are typically caught by bottom fishing and slow pitch jigging techniques. Red grouper can grow up to 50 pounds, but the average catch is around 10 pounds.


Black Grouper

Black Grouper

Black grouper is another popular species found in Florida's waters. They are usually found in deeper waters than Red Grouper, between 60-300 feet, and can grow up to 100 pounds. Black grouper are usually caught by bottom fishing techniques.


Gag Grouper

Gag Grouper

Gag grouper is a larger species of grouper, growing up to 80 pounds. They are usually found in rocky and deeper waters, between 80-300 feet, and they are caught bottom fishing and trolling. Gag groupers are best known for their aggressive strikes and strong fighting ability.


Scamp Grouper

Scamp Grouper

Scamp grouper are the smallest of the four main grouper species found in Florida. They are typically found in deeper waters, between 80-300 feet, and are usually caught using bottom fishing techniques. Scamp grouper can grow up to 30 pounds, but typically weight around 5-10 pounds.


Styles of Fishing

Fishing for grouper in Florida requires specialized techniques and equipment, including heavy-duty rods, reels, lines, and terminal tackle.  Here are some of the most popular styles of fishing used to catch grouper in Florida:

1. Bottom Fishing

Bottom fishing is the most common technique used to catch grouper in Florida. This involves dropping a baited hook and weight to the bottom and waiting for a grouper to strike. Live bait is the best, such as pinfish, blue runners, and cigar minnows, are often used to entice grouper to bite.

2. Jigging/Slow Pitch Jigging

Jigging and slow pitch jigging is another popular technique used to catch grouper in Florida. This involves dropping a heavy metal jig to the bottom and then rapidly or slowly lifting and dropping it to imitate a wounded baitfish. Grouper are attracted to the jig's movements and will often strike as it falls back down.

3. Trolling

Trolling is a technique used to cover a large area of water quickly in search of grouper. This involves dragging a lure or bait behind a moving boat at a consistent speed. Trolling is usually done at a depth of 60-150 feet and can be done with both artificial and live bait.  This technique is frequently used in the Homosassa/Crystal River area.

Jig Lure


Tips for Catching Grouper

Fishing for grouper in Florida can be a challenging and rewarding experience. Here are some tips to help increase your chances of catching these prized fish:

  1. Use the right bait: Grouper are opportunistic predators and will eat almost anything that crosses their path. But, they tend to prefer live bait such as pinfish, grunts, cigar minnows and blue runners. Make sure to use fresh bait that is local to the area you are fishing in.
  2. Use the right gear: Grouper are powerful fish that can put up a good fight, so you'll need the right gear to handle them. Make sure to use a heavy-duty rod, reel, and line. A rod with a fast action is best, as it will help you to set the hook quickly and bring in the fish. Use a braided line with a high-test strength to help you reel in the fish.
  3. Bottom fish: Grouper are bottom dwellers, so you'll need to fish close to the bottom if you want to catch them. Use a weight that is heavy enough to keep your bait on the bottom, but not so heavy that you can't feel the fish biting. A good rule of thumb is to use a weight that is about one ounce per every 10 feet of water depth.
  4. Stay patient: Grouper can be slow to bite, so you'll need to be patient. Keep your bait on the bottom and wait for the grouper to come to you. When you do get a bite, wait a few seconds before setting the hook to make sure the fish has taken the bait.
  5. Watch the weather: Grouper tend to be more active during certain times of the year and under certain weather conditions. They are more likely to be caught on cloudy days or when there is a bit of chop on the water. Make sure to check the weather before you head out and plan your trip accordingly.
  6. Know your regulations: Make sure to check the local fishing regulations before you head out. Some areas have restrictions on the size and number of grouper you can catch. Make sure to follow the rules to help preserve the grouper population.
  7. Release Grouper correctly: It is imperative to release groupers which have been caught from deep water by either descending device or venting tool.  We highly suggest a descending device.  There is no thinking, just clip the descending device to the grouper mouth and send he/she back down.  The descending device is designed to release at various depths; 50’, 100’, and 150’.

By following these tips, you can increase your chances of catching grouper and have a successful fishing trip. Remember to always be safe on the water and follow local regulations to protect our environment and their fisheries. Good luck and tight lines!

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1 comment

Mike Waters

Mike Waters

Great post! First article I have read that goes over different groupers other then red and black. Good info.

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