Grouper is one of the most popular fish species among the fishermen, and it is not so hard to understand why if you know that they can be gigantic. Their size combined with amazing and attractive colors, and then with the fact that you’ll have to work for your every catch makes them perfect for all sports fishermen around the world. If you’re angler and love challenges, this article will help you learn the most important things to be ready for your next fishing trip and grouper meet-up.
Before we start to talk about how to catch a grouper topic, it is important to learn how to find them. Most often, groupers spend their time near the bottom structures. And this can be basically anything, from tropical coral reefs to bottom ledges, artificial reefs, or shipwrecks. Groupers love to hide so they’ll most often hang around the area that provides enough shelter. Also, you should know that if you spot a single grouper, that doesn’t necessarily mean that there is a larger group nearby, because groupers can also go solo. Using a fish finder will help.
There is also a difference during summer and winter. During the cold weather, most groupers love to go near the shallow waters, so it is possible to find them near the shoreline. This means there may be some you could catch from the dock. As the temperature rises and the water warms up, groupers tend to move back to the deep end. This doesn’t mean that it is impossible to find them in the shallows, because they are not exactly the most active fish in the sea and lean towards laziness.
Grouper Fishing Gear
Now when you know where to find groupers, all you have to do is to get your gear ready and hit the waters. With their gigantic size – 8 feet in length and 800 pounds in weight – not every rod, reel, or tackle will do, so pay special attention to this section, or else you risk losing your catch.
The Heavier The Better
Their size and strength guarantee an amazing fight from the moment they get hooked. This means that if caught off guard, you may end up without your gear. Most likely, when hooked, grouper will head towards some hole or ledge, basically, anything that could help them remove the hook or break the line. This means you’ll need a heavy tackle.
If you visit your local fishing store or check online, there are many different grouper rigs you could find. Most of them are knocker rigs, but there are also finder rigs or three-way swivel-based rigs. No matter which one you choose, make sure your leader line is at least 80-pounder. Even if there shouldn’t be any problems if you use a 60-pound fluorocarbon, going with an 80 pound one will give you additional leverage and help you finish your catch significantly lowering the chance of something going south. Combine it with a heavy mainline and the fish shouldn’t be able to escape or to damage your line.
The Stop Power
For a successful grouper fishing session, you’ll need the ability to stop on quick notice, especially if you’re dealing with large ones. It is essential to have proper equipment that will provide you with a massive drag that will overpower the fish and prevent it from running away from you. That’s why it is essential to have the best rod and reel available.
When buying a reel, make sure it is high quality, as it will provide you with maximum drag power. Then, combine your reel with a rod that is flexible, durable, and strong enough to endure all the stress. Check for those made for 30-50 pound fishing, but don’t be afraid to go even heavier, although these, combined with a quality reel and a heavy tackle will do just fine.
Chumming Is An Option
If you’ve found groupers but they are hiding in their hideouts, it is a good idea to use the chum to lure them out of their holes. This means you should use frozen or live shrimp as bait to get the attention of the smaller fish. As they start to eat, the leftovers are getting scattered, which will make the groupers leave their holes to catch food.
It is important to know when to use it because it will not always be the best option available. For instance, if you’re out on the waters and anchored, it should work really well. Contrary to that, if you’re fishing near the reef or something similar, the grouper will have more options to go to set free.
Trolling Will Work, Also
Along with the fishermen who love to deal with groupers, trolling is one of the most beloved options. This is because this way you’ll be covering a lot of ground rather fast, so the chance to catch something big will rise. It also means grouper will have to leave their hideouts if they want to eat.
Patience Is The Key
For a successful trolling it is important to stay patient and not to rush anything. Take it slow. The recommended speed is no more than two knots. This way you’ll give the fish chance to catch up with your vessel. If you go faster, there is a big chance you’ll outrun your prey.
Finding The Best Bait
For trolling purposes, both natural and artificial bait will do just fine. You could ask for those made for depths from 30 to 40 feet, as they’ll improve your odds significantly.
For ledges or shallow reefs, artificial deepwater baits will work like a charm. If you’re using natural bait, you’ll need downriggers to get it deep enough.
The Best Lines For Grouper Fishing
There are many different types of fishing lines, but some of them are better than the others for grouper fishing, and we’ll go through the best fishing lines for grouper.
Recommended Lines For Grouper Trolling
Every fisherman in the world has a favorite gear and prefers one more than the other, so the simplest answer is you should opt for something you feel comfortable with. But, it is also important to know that you’ll need a line strong enough to endure massive stress coming from a giant fish that will put up a great fight.
One of the main characteristics to look for is the ability to stretch. That makes monofilament the best option. Not only it will stretch, but it is also strong enough, so it is no overstatement to say it is the perfect choice for trolling.
Recommended Lines For Grouper Bottom Fishing
Unlike trolling, when you’re bottom fishing, you’ll need more sensitivity than the ability to stretch. This becomes essential if you plan to go deep. For instance, on a 100-feet depth mark, different types of fishing line will react differently to touch.
Being high sensitive, braided fishing line will clearly show every time something touches your bait, no matter how deep it is. One of the main downsides of the braided line is its thickness and visibility in the water, meaning the fish could easily see it and it could scare them away. To avoid that, combine braided line with a clear and between four and six feet long monofilament or fluorocarbon leader line.
Is Grouper Worth All The Effort?
It sure does look like a lot of work, so you may wonder is it really worth the effort? The answer is – yes, it is.
First of all, grouper with its size and constant fight makes it great for sport fishing, and it is an activity basically anyone could enjoy. You will not only need the best gear and bait but your nerves and patience along with the will to take on the fight.
Secondly, it provides an amazing challenge not many other fish species could meet, so it will serve as a great chance to test your fishing skills, and it will also allow you to brag about your catch once you get back home. And last but not the least, grouper are delicious.
Other Gear You’ll Need
Besides basic grouper fishing equipment, there is some other stuff regarding apparel and protection, especially for winter. Remember, the weather could change, accidents do happen, so it is better to be ready for every possible problem that could go your way.
Swim vests, life jackets, or basically any other PFD-s Coast Guard-approved are a must-have, especially if you’ll be fishing from your vessel. They serve to protect and help you stay afloat if something goes wrong and you (or anybody else onboard) ends up in the water.
Fishing means you’ll be under direct sunlight for a long period of time, so it is important to have your skin protected.
As we’ve already said, accidents do happen, so it is always a good idea to have extra clothes with you, in case you end up swimming, so you could change and continue your session. Also, bringing extra clothes is especially worth it during winter, as it will keep you warm.
Grouper fishing will require looking dip into the water, and sun reflection could cause a bit of a problem. Sunglasses will help you see well.
Globo Surf Overview
If you’d love to test your skills, there are not many better options than grouper. This article will help you start, and the rest is up to you and your own preference.