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Do you want to catch grouper? Would you like to learn how to catch grouper? Grouper fishing can be challenging if you don’t have the knowledge, skills, and right equipment to fish for this fish. They are bottom feeders and can be found around structures like reefs, wrecks, ledges, bridges, and navigational markers. In this article, we discuss the skills, techniques, tips, and equipment needed to catch more groupers.
Table of Contents
How To Catch Grouper
There are a number of techniques that can be used to catch grouper from the boat. They are bottom fishing and trolling.
1. Bottom Fishing
Groupers are bottom feeders and when you are fishing for them in a boat, you must get your bait down to the bottom. First, you have to locate structures like coral reefs, jetties, wrecks, ledges, bridges, docks, rocks, and markers. One technique anglers use to attract groupers to the area they are in is chumming. They drop the bait into the water to get the attention of fish and they send it down their line. When fishing from a boat, set the boat up the tide of the area you will fish for grouper. When the bait is dropped, it will naturally float back to the structure and the fish.
Let your line hit the bottom of the ocean floor using a weight or sinker. Then get your bait off the ocean floor so it is suspended by cranking the reel. When the grouper bites, keep the line tight and reel in quickly. Don’t yank the rod as it will pull the bait out of the mouth of the grouper. Instead, reel quickly to drive the hook in.
Sometimes when you have the grouper hooked, it will make a run for rock, hole, or reef to break the line. Don’t break the line or let it break the line. Instead, give it a loose line for a period of time like 30 minutes to let it relax and maybe swim out from under the structure. Groupers don’t have a lot of stamina. Just be patient and give it some time with a slackline.
Trolling is another method for grouper fishing. With trolling you move the boat at a steady speed in the range of 3 to 7 knots. As you move, you can find structures that groupers are sitting in waiting to ambush baitfish like reefs, underwater cliffs, jetties, rocks, wrecks, and ledges. Drop your bait into the structures to bite. When you get bites, keep the line tight and reel in quickly.
How To Catch Grouper From Shore
When fishing for grouper from the shore, look for structures like docks, bridges, wrecks, rocks, navigational markers, etc. Groupers like structures and there is a good chance that they will be around these structures. Attach your bait to your line and try to get bites.
You can match the hatch for the shoreline and use bait that is commonly used in that area. Shrimps, pinfish, herring, squid, sardines, and mullet are some of the bait you can use. When you get a bite, don’t yank the rod. Keep the line tight and quickly reel it in.
How To Catch Grouper In The Gulf
You can fish for grouper in the gulf by using bottom fishing or trolling.
1. Bottom Fishing
With bottom fishing, you drop your bait to the bottom and then get it off the bottom so it is suspended by cranking the reel. When a fish bites the line, keep it tight and reel in quickly. Don’t yank the fishing rod the way it is done when fishing for bass. This will pull the bait out of the fish’s mouth.
You will encounter a scenario when the grouper is hooked that it will run for its favorite hole or wreck to break the line. Loosen the line and give the fish some time. Groupers don’t have a lot of stamina. After calming down and with a slack line, it might just swim from the hole or wreck.
Trolling is another method of fishing for grouper with a boat. Move the boat at a steady speed of around 3 to 7 knots. When you locate structures like coral reefs, rocks, jetties, and ledges, drop your line in or around the structures with the bait. When a fish bites, maintain a tight line and reel it in quickly. Diving plugs are often used when trolling.
Groupers grow to be very large and are hard-fighting fish when it is hooked. You need heavy tackle to pull them from the structure and turn them very early in the battle. Heavy conventional rods and reels as well as heavy spinning tackle will get the job done. Conventional rods provide more cranking power and allow you to put more pressure on it. A rod that is about 6 to 7 feet and can carry a 50-100 pound test line will work.
Best Bait For Grouper
1. Squirrel Fish
Squirrel fish or Sand perch is a good bait for grouper.
Grunts, shrimp, crab, pinfish, squid, and pilchards are all excellent baits for catching grouper. You can’t go wrong with them.
Sardines or pilchards is a very good bait for catching grouper.
Ballyhoo is a good bait for grouper and snapper.
5. Blue Runners
Blue Runner is a good bait for grouper, amberjack, and sailfish.
Threadfin and pinfish are good baits for grouper.
Shrimps, crabs, and squid are good bait anglers usually use to catch grouper.
Pinfish is one of the best baits to catch grouper.
Anglers use cut mullet as bait when fishing for grouper.
Squid is one of the popular baits used by anglers to catch fish including grouper. It is usually cut into pieces and used as bait.
Mackerel, squid, and sardines are some of the best baits used to catch grouper.
12. Cigar Minnows
Cigar minnows, pogies, and threadfin herring are bait anglers use to catch grouper.
Best Lures For Grouper
Jigs can be effective in attracting grouper, especially those designed for grouper fishing.
Plugs are used when trolling for grouper.
RIgs are also used to catch grouper.
Grouper Fishing Tips
1. Groupers are bottom feeders.
2. Look for groupers around structures like wrecks, coral reefs, ledges, bridges, docks, jetties, and markers.
3. Groupes can also be caught in the inshore waters.
4. Lures can be used to catch grouper.
5. When using circle hooks to set the hook, keep the rod tip low and wait for a steady pull then quickly reel while slowly raising the rod tip.
6. You can also catch groupers with jigs.
7. You can vertically jig butterfly jigs to catch groupers in deeper waters.
8. You can use both spinning and conventional tackle when fishing for grouper.
9. The Carolina rig is the choice of many anglers when grouper fishing.
10. A grouper is often hesitant to chase live bait in cold water.
11. Grouper can be found closer to the shore in cold water. They will move out to deeper waters in warm and very cold weather.
12. Grouper must be turned very early in the battle when it is hooked as it will dive into holes and other areas, cutting the angler off.
13. Use the lightest sinker and smallest hook that will get the job done.
14. Circle hooks are the choice of many anglers fishing for groupers.
15. Trolling can help you find structures that hold groupers.
16. When fishing for grouper in a boat, position the boat up tide of the structure you will fish for grouper. So, when the bait is lowered, it will float back to the structure and fish.
17. You can also use chumming to fish for groupers when in a boat.
18. The deeper the water, the farther up-current the boat should be positioned.
19. Most of the groupers are caught on natural bait.
20. You can use metal jigs to fish for grouper in deeper waters.
21. Go 30 to 85 miles offshore for the best groupers.
22. Grouper will swim with the current towards your bait.
23. Ask the local fishing shop folks about the best chum for groupers in that area.
24. Set the hook through the baitfish’s throat when bottom fishing for groupers.
25. Let your bait be suspended off the ocean floor by cranking the reel.
26. When a grouper bites, keep the line tight and reel in.
27. When trolling for grouper, move the boat at a steady speed like 3 to 7 knots.
28. Frozen bait, like sardines or squid, can be used to catch grouper when the water is cold.
29. Bottom fishing with a heavy rod and reel is one of the most popular ways of catching grouper.
30. A heavy-duty rod that will give you more cranking power will work for catching groupers.
The Bottom Line
Groupers are a favorite for many anglers that can be found in tropical and subtropical waters. There are many types of groupers such as the black grouper, the gag grouper, the scamp, the yellowmouth, and the Nassau grouper. Groupers grow very large and are hard fighting when hooked.
In this article, we discussed the fishing techniques and tips you can use to increase your chances of catching for groupers. If you are interested in catching other fish like surfperch, tarpon, rock hind, and halibut, then read how to catch surfperch, how to catch tarpon, how to catch rock hind, and how to catch halibut.