These fish are strong predators who prefer to wait and lie down rather than chase after their prey. They are also opportunistic, scavengers who won’t miss an easy meal. A grouper’s large mouth and powerful, piercing gills create a vacuum that draws prey into its mouth. Catching grouper is best done by bottom fishing or, in some cases, deep dropping. Bottom fishing with natural baits is more effective, while artificial lures or baits may work for this fish. Food sources for grouper include crustaceans and fish. Squid is also sometimes eaten.
Where Do Groupers Live?
Most grouper species inhabiting the Western Atlantic live in waters with moderate temperatures all year round. This area typically extends from North Carolina to the Gulf of Mexico, the Caribbean Ocean, and southwards. Some species of grouper can be found down in Brazil.
Reefs between 50 and 300 feet deep are the ideal habitat for grouper species. These predators hide in the bottom structure, such as rock piles and wrecks. The optimal depth depends on the grouper species being targeted. Yellow edge grouper, tilefish, and other deep-dwelling species can be found in canyons and drop-offs offshore that reach depths of over 600 feet. Inshore, the gag grouper is often found near mangroves and grass beds.
Florida Goliath Grouper Season
For the first time in 32 years, Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission reopened goliath-grouper fishing. Anglers must enter a lottery to obtain a permit or tag. There are 200 permits and each one allows the harvesting of one goliath. The maximum slot size for goliath groups is between 24 to 36 inches. The new season will run from March 1 to May 31, 2023. Florida is the only State that allows harvesting of Goliath Grouper.
The article was written by a professional charter captain at Salty Knots Fishing Charters with 15+ years of experience in the Gulf of Mexico. Salty Knots Fishing Charters is a local fishing charter service based out of St. Pete Beach, Florida. “We know what it takes to catch a giant trophy fish!” Salty Knots Is the best when it comes to St Petersburg Fishing Charters.