Gray Grouper, Grass Grouper, Copper Belly, Black Grouper.
Found throughout Florida and Bahamas.
Both juveniles and adults frequent inshore holes and ledges, often on
deeper grass flats. From there they can be found around structure at
virtually any fishable offshore depth.
Gray or light brown with wavy markings on the side that generally do not
form boxes or circles. Edges of fins are bluish. Color deepens to dark
brown shortly after removal from water.
Can reach 50 pounds on deep offshore wrecks and ledges, and has been
recorded to 80 pounds, but 20-30 is the usual maximum range, and most
catches now fall between 2 and 12 pounds. Many juveniles are caught from
inshore grass flats. World record 80 pounds, 6 ounces.
FLORIDA RECORD: 71 pounds, 3
Excellent; firm white flesh; little red.
An aggressive striker and hard fighter at all depths.
TACKLE AND BAITS:
Just about anything goes. Offshore bottom fishermen tend toward stout
rods with 50- and 80-pound-test lines, but such "grouper digging" rigs
are strictly necessary only in very deep water. Up to about 50 feet,
lines in the 20-30-pound range are adequate and allow much more sport.
Many anglers catch lots of Gags on spinning and plug tackle. This is
also the best of the Groupers for fly fishermen, since they are
frequently found in fairly shallow water and will eagerly take a large
streamer fly. Hard-lure casters use lead head jigs, mostly, while
Trollers rely on large deep-diving plugs. Live baitfish of various sorts
are the best natural offerings-try Pilchards, Pinfish, Grunts or Sand
Perch (Squirrelfish). Dead small fish and large cut baits also work
FISHING TECHNIQUES: Drifting;
Still Fishing; Trolling.