Grouper is a popular fish to catch. They are delicious and can be quite large. Here are nine tips to help you fish for grouper in Florida.
1. Fish Inshore and Nearshore during Winter
Many fish that live in deeper waters will move inshore or closer to shore when the water is colder. This is a great way to save gas while still catching quality fish.
2. You can use the Residential Docks during winter
When the weather is colder, gag groupers travel very close to shore. Sometimes they even go as far as deep channels or residential canals. They are easy targets. You can pitch live mullet and sardines along the dock’s edges. Make sure to tighten your drag and hang on.
3. Summer is the best time to fish for Grouper in Florida
The groupers who had lived in shallow water start to migrate offshore as the water warms up. However, some grouper species can still be caught in shallower waters.
4. Try trolling
Many people are successful when trolling for grouper. There are many reasons for this. You can cover a lot of ground so you have a greater chance of finding large groupers. Fish will bite trolling lures by getting out of their holes and ledges. It makes it much more difficult for them to return there. When trolling for grouper, one thing you need to remember is to slow down. Go at 2 knots. For trolling grouper, planars or downriggers are excellent options.
Trolling for Grouper
When trolling for grouper, paying attention to the speed and depth of your lures is essential. Slow and steady trolling at 2-3 knots is recommended for most grouper species. However, this can vary depending on the conditions and the lures used. Adjust the depth of your bait based on the water you are fishing in, keeping them close to the bottom where grouper are known to dwell.
Another effective technique when trolling for grouper is to use a downrigger. This technique allows you to accurately control the depth of your lures, keeping them at the perfect level to attract grouper. Monitoring your line for any changes or bumps is essential, as this could indicate a grouper bite. Once you feel the fish bite, setting the hook quickly and reeling it in steadily is vital.
One important thing to remember when trolling for grouper is to use heavy tackle. Grouper are known for their strength and ability to pull hard, so using a solid line, and hook is essential to avoid losing your catch. Additionally, it’s crucial to handle grouper with care and release any undersized or protected species to preserve their population and ensure sustainable fishing practices.
Experts in fishing for grouper prefer frozen sardines or squid as their bait. Grunt and smaller grouper species will eat this bait, and then throw the rest into the water. This will attract larger grouper species, and make them more likely to eat the bait. This is when you should follow up with your chum by dropping a live grunt, or pinfish to get your larger groupers to bite. When bottom-fishing is a viable option, chum can help increase your catch rate. It is a way to keep your grouper from getting into holes. If you get good bites close to a reef, it’s likely that your fish will go back to the holes.
Selecting the Ideal Bait
Big grouper are known to be attracted to large, live baits that provide enticing scent and movement. Optimal bait choices include:
- Menhaden: These baitfish are highly effective in enticing big grouper due to their size and oily nature.
- Pinfish: Offering a lively presentation, pinfish can entice the predatory instincts of large grouper.
- Sardines: Known for their strong scent and availability, sardines make an excellent choice to attract big grouper.
6. When you troll, use natural or artificial lures
Trolling is a great tactic in which you can use natural or artificial bait. You can still trolling for grouper with either bait. If you slow troll with a lure designed for deep diving, it will produce lots of fish. These lures can dive from 30-40 feet depending on how fast the troll is. These lures are great for trolling on shallow reefs or ledges. If you’re using natural baits, planars and downriggers are great tools to get your bait down.
7. Use Your Heavy Tackle
Many people lose their grouper because they love to run back into the holes and ledges after being hooked. You can overcome this problem by using heavy tackle with a 80-100 pound mainline. This will help you tighten your drag and get your fish to your boat before it’s too late.
8. When trolling, use your monofilament line
This line is ideal for trolling, as it can stretch. You should grouper troll in water between 30 and 60 feet deep. Even though the water is so deep, you won’t have any trouble setting your hook. Stretch will give your fish some breathing room whenever it strikes your moving lure.
9. Use your braided line when bottom fishing
This is especially true if you are in deep water. A braided line can help with your sensitivity. Once you feel the grouper bite, it’s easy to pull. Because the line is stretched, there won’t be any bite when you fish at depths below 160 feet. To ensure that your fish don’t get scared by your leader, you should use one that is at least 4 to 6 feet long. Monofilament or fluorocarbon are both good choices.
These are some tips to help fish for grouper in Florida. These tips will make you successful, and you might even bring home a trophy.
10. Select the Right Bait and Rigging Techniques
In addition to frozen sardines and squid, other effective baits for grouper include live pinfish, grunts, and mullet. Experiment with different bait options to see what works best in your fishing location. Regarding rigging techniques, using a fishfinder rig or a knocker rig with a heavy sinker can help keep your bait near the bottom where grouper are often found.
11. Consider Deep Drop Fishing
For those targeting larger grouper species in deep waters, deep drop fishing can be a rewarding technique. This method involves using specialized electric reels to lower bait to depths of several hundred feet. It requires specialized equipment and knowledge, so consider booking a deep sea fishing charter to maximize your chances of success.
12. Be Mindful of Grouper Conservation
Grouper populations are susceptible to overfishing, and some species have specific conservation measures in place. It’s important to release any undersized or protected grouper species carefully. Proper handling techniques, such as minimizing air exposure and using de-hooking tools, can increase the chances of survival upon release.
Do you have more questions about saltwater fishing?
Salty Knots Fishing Charters has extensive experience in the fishing industry, particularly in Southwest Florida. You can find more information on the website or call today. You can count on Salty Knots Fishing Charters to make your Florida fishing experience as enjoyable and memorable as possible. Ready to fish for grouper in Florida? Call today to book a Fishing Charter Trip In Florida!
If you’re new to grouper fishing or want to enhance your chances of a successful trip, hiring a professional fishing charter can be a wise choice. Experienced captains and guides have extensive knowledge of the local waters, techniques, and best fishing spots. They can provide valuable guidance, equipment, and a memorable fishing experience.