Tips & Tricks

Grouper Fishing in Florida: The Ultimate Guide

Studying Time: 8 minutes

Groupers are among the most sought-after species not solely alongside the coast of the Gulf of Mexico however all around the US and even Europe. Yow will discover them in Pacific and Atlantic waters, and so far as the Mediterranean Sea. Nevertheless, Grouper fishing in Florida is a really distinctive expertise. Why? 

A diver looking at a Goliath Grouper under water

Nicely, Groupers are so widespread in Florida for a lot of causes. To start with, they’re actually tasty! If you happen to’ve ever been to the Sunshine State, chances are high you’ve tried a type of Grouper sandwiches at a coastal restaurant. Secondly, Grouper are unbelievable fighters and can tire out even probably the most skilled angler. 

On this article, we’ll take an in-depth have a look at the perfect spots for Grouper fishing in Florida, speak in regards to the totally different varieties you may catch, and talk about the methods that work greatest. Let’s dive proper into it!

Kinds of Grouper in Florida

As we talked about above, you’ll discover numerous species of Grouper alongside all of Florida’s coasts. You may get your arms on something from big Goliaths and Blacks to uncommon Snowies and Yellowedge varieties. Beneath, we listing a number of of probably the most fascinating Groupers, what units them aside, and the place yow will discover them, amongst extra. However should you’re curious to be taught extra in regards to the Florida Grouper sorts, check out this text.

Black Grouper

Three happy anglers on a fishing boat offshore holding a huge Black Grouper

Have you ever ever heard of anybody who doesn’t like Black Grouper? These highly effective fish are big stars in Florida. It takes lots of effort to land one, and so they’re completely scrumptious to spice up. These monster fighters favor to stay across the edges of reefs and rocky bottoms as much as the deepest drop-offs. 

Gag Grouper

A smiling angler on a fishing boat offshore holding a Gag Grouper

Gag Grouper are nice fighters, regardless of the depth. Though they’re not as large as Black Grouper, they’ll simply tire you out. Gags – or “Gray Grouper,” “Gagger,” and “Charcoal Stomach” – are often discovered close to rocks, wrecks, and drop-offs in 60+ toes of water. In the meantime, yow will discover grownup Gags within the shallows. 

Goliath Grouper

A happy angler on a fishing boat with a large Goliath Grouper in the water

Goliath Grouper are mild creatures which are so large, it’s nearly unbelievable. Adults can attain as much as 800 kilos! They are often present in waters as much as 160 toes deep, which isn’t as deep as you’d anticipate. Fishing for Goliath has been restricted for many years, so you may solely take pleasure in these large monsters should you allow them to swim away unhurt. 

Purple Grouper

A smiling angler standing on a fishing boat offshore holding a Red Grouper

Everybody in Florida is aware of that “Reds” are extremely tasty. Similar to their Black brothers, Purple Grouper stay across the rocky backside in water as much as 1000 toes deep, so that you’ll must go offshore to seek out them. Reds are unbelievable fighters and as soon as hooked, they not often miss the chance to indicate anglers their energy. 

Snowy Grouper

Three anglers holding a large Snowy Grouper while on a fishing boat offshore

Snowy Grouper should not the commonest catch in Florida, that’s for positive. They’re fairly uncommon and might present up at depths of 800 toes and you’ll spot ’em on the 250–600 toes vary as properly. Snowies develop large, so should you’re fortunate sufficient to hook one, get able to battle 4 toes of fish!

Yellowedge Grouper

A smiling angler on a boat holding big Yellowedge Grouper

It’s nearly universally acclaimed that Yellowedge is the best-tasting Grouper with extra moisture within the meat than another Grouper. To identify one, you’ll must ebook an offshore constitution and head to deeper waters. In contrast to different Groupers within the household who hang around across the reef, wrecks, and constructions, this one prefers flat bottoms.

And Extra!

After all, Grouper fishing in Florida is a broad church that features many different family members. There are top-level predators like Nassau Grouper, deepwater Yellowfin and Misty, nice consuming Scamp, small Coney, and super-sized Warsaw varieties. You could want greater than only one season to have the ability to land not less than half of them! 

Prime Florida Grouper Fishing Spots

Whilst you’ll discover these bottom-dwellers just about anyplace alongside the Florida coast, there are some high spots price mentioning. The final rule right here is to decide on which Grouper you’d like to focus on. As we talked about above, regardless that all of them belong to the identical household, some Groupers stay on flat bottoms, whereas others keep on with rocky areas, reefs, and constructions. 

Florida Keys fishing boats in a marina with the open sea in the background

Listed below are a number of high spots for Grouper fishing in Florida:

  • Florida Keys. Due to the Gulf of Mexico and the Atlantic, the Keys are an incredible place to fish for Grouper relating to each numbers and dimension. Blacks, Gags, Reds, and Goliaths can be found close to the wrecks and reefs off Marathon, and should you go to Key West, you may add Scamp Grouper to the listing. 
  • Miami. “The Magic Metropolis” Is arguably the perfect place to fish for Grouper in South Florida. There are a whole bunch of wrecks and reefs accessible for Grouper fishing, particularly should you’re after uncommon ones like Snowies and Scamps. After all, the common Purple, Black, Gag, and Goliath Grouper are additionally accessible.
  • Key Biscayne. If you happen to go simply a few miles offshore, you’ll have Liberty Ship Reef at your disposal, the place you may get fairly spectacular Grouper catches. Bache Shoal Reef is one other widespread vacation spot for Grouper lovers close by. 
  • Pensacola. Pensacola’s reef assortment is the place yow will discover your bottom-dwellers – Purple, Gag, Scamp, and Black Grouper. If you happen to really feel just a little adventurous, head out to the gorgeous Oriskany Memorial Reef. It’s the world’s largest synthetic reef, which is usually referred to as “Nice Service Reef” by the locals. Think about what number of Grouper yow will discover there!
  • Fort Lauderdale. It’s no secret that the waters are crammed with construction right here, so, naturally, there are lots of Grouper round. What’s on the menu? The same old – Black, Gag, and Reds, which could be discovered within the reefs. 
  • Destin. There are such a lot of fish species you may catch in “the Sportfishing Capital of the World,” and Grouper are not any exception. There are Scamps and Reds, Goliath and Blacks. In reality, the state document Gag Grouper was caught out of Destin!
  • Crystal River. The waters of Crystal River make up for an incredible habitat for Gag Grouper. The perfect factor is, you may goal these predators in shallow waters fairly near shore right here, which makes Crystal River Grouper fishing so particular. 
  • Tampa. For Gag and Purple Grouper, head to Tampa Bay’s waterways and channels. If you happen to’re within the temper for some Scamp and Goliath Grouper fishing, Clearwater is the perfect spot. 

Prime Florida Grouper Fishing Strategies

It’s time to learn the way precisely you may land a tasty and feisty Grouper. What methods work greatest? What sort out must you use to get a giant one as much as the boat? Let’s dive deeper, beginning with the obvious methodology to catch Florida Grouper. 

Backside Fishing 

Fishing rods on a boat

Since Grouper stay on the ocean mattress, it’s pure for anglers to go for backside fishing – the go-to method for fishing in deep waters. All it is advisable to have is your rod, a reel with a really lengthy line, lures, or a weighted hook, in addition to stay or lifeless bait. After all, deeper waters require heavier sinkers. 

Backside fishing for Florida Grouper works nice in each nearshore and offshore waters round wrecks and reefs. You’ll usually both anchor the boat to reap the benefits of a productive spot or drift to cowl bigger areas of the construction. Backside fishing is a productive method to catch any sort of Grouper, nevertheless, you’ll use a unique time period – deep dropping – when fishing for Grouper that stay within the severely deeper waters. You’ll learn extra on this later within the part. 


Trolling for Grouper is a well-liked method if you wish to fish anyplace the place there’s minimal cowl. This methodology works in waters as shallow as 6 toes and as deep as 600 toes. Anglers usually use shallow diving plugs, strip combos, or feathers, slowly working over a construction. Some boats are geared up with downriggers, with strains stretched out rigged with bait. 

If you would like some enjoyable, throw out some chum to lure Grouper to the floor, particularly should you fish within the shallow grass. Once they present up, you may sight or fly fish. Make these lazy baggage transfer from time to time!


A spearfisher pointing their speargun under water

Spearfishing for Grouper may make you are feeling like an actual hunter. It’s a really rewarding expertise that can give you a worthy reward on the finish of a tough day. That’s, after all, should you take all the mandatory security precautions. Decide a shorter speargun, because you’ll be searching via rocky areas, and a bigger shaft – your targets are large, in any case! 

The perfect half about it’s you could select nearly anywhere in Florida – from Destin and Miami to Pensacola, Panama Metropolis, Miami, and the Florida Keys – to go spearfishing for Grouper. Your journey will likely be extra fruitful and thrilling should you dive with an skilled skilled.

Word that some Grouper, corresponding to Goliath and Nassau, are forbidden to spearfish. Check out Florida’s spearfishing laws here

Deep Dropping

Deep dropping is basically what you name backside fishing in waters from 400 all the best way as much as 1,200 toes deep. That is the place you’ll discover giant Warsaw, Yellowedge, and Snowy Grouper. To get right down to the rocky backside the place these monsters stay, you’ll need electrical reels, though some anglers catch them manually, too.

Stay bait, corresponding to squid, white octopus, sardines, and bonito strips often produce good bites. Since Grouper are large and powerful, go for a heavy line and larger hooks. Add the stress of the water to the equation, and also you’ll get your self a heavy exercise! 

Guidelines and Rules

Florida Grouper regulations

All Grouper species are regulated in a different way all through Florida, though one factor’s for positive – you gained’t want a separate allow or tag, so long as you have got your Florida Saltwater Fishing License. All saltwater constitution operators cowl the license for his or her anglers, although. Yow will discover out extra right here. 

Guidelines differ relying on whether or not you’re fishing within the Gulf or the Atlantic, and in state or federal waters. There’s a minimal dimension restrict and season ruled by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Fee, which you’ll be able to be taught extra about on their website

Grouper Fishing in Florida – Appears to be like Don’t Matter!

Florida Grouper fishing may be very enjoyable and in no way straightforward. Though not everybody agrees that Grouper are fairly, they’re undoubtedly very tasty. They will by no means be neglected because it’s arduous to call a extra widespread – and extra widespread – sport fish of this dimension in all of Florida. They’re heavy fighters and actual trophies that any angler is proud to catch. So why not strive it out your self?

Have you ever ever fished for Grouper in Florida? What’s your favourite sort to catch? Which one is probably the most scrumptious? Share your expertise with us within the feedback beneath!

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