Targeting Central Florida Grouper


I've posted enough I should edit this section
Mar 18, 2012
Florida Fisherman
Targeting Central Florida Grouper

Fishing in Florida is big; really BIG.
Per Florida's FWC well over 2 million recreational saltwater licenses are sold every year generating over $9.2 billion dollars while supporting over 88 thousand jobs.
A good deal of that $9.2 billion dollars is spent on grouper fishing. In our area grouper can be caught in bays as well as in the Gulf of Mexico from just off shore to depths over 1,000 feet.
Let's take a look at members of the grouper family that are caught in our Central Florida Central waters.
According to the 5th edition of the Fishes of the World the grouper family is divided into 5 tribes containing a total of 32 genera and 234 species.
Our grouper:
The more we know the better our chances of success. Will has been first mate on the Florida Fisherman ll for well over ten years. Will leads by example:

A little help from Captain Frank's daughter is always appreciated:

Talk about a proud daddy:

Let's take a close look at the grouper of Central Florida:
First up... Gag Grouper:
Per SCRFA, Gag Grouper can be found in the Atlantic Ocean from North Carolina, south along the U.S. , Bermuda, through the Gulf of Mexico except Cuba, and in southern Brazil from Rio de Janerio to Santa Catarina.
The world record Gag Grouper is 80. 6 pounds caught off Destin, Florida.
I took most of the following pictures from the deck of the Florida Fisherman ll:

Next up the beautiful, great eating, Red Grouper.
Red Grouper are found in the western Atlantic Ocean from Massachusetts through the Gulf of Mexico and south to Brazil.

Even a young Dylan Hubbard gets into the action:

A very proud Captain Bryon Holland:

Scamp Grouper:
Many consider Scamp Grouper to be one of the best eating fish ever to swim. Scamp are pretty small by Grouper standards. The average fish will be under 2 feet and anything over 5 pounds is a good catch.
Scamp Grouper can be found in the Western Atlantic, from North Carolina to Key West, and in the Gulf Of Mexico including the southern potions of the Caribbean Sea. Scamp can live up to thirty years. They are a deep-water species seldom found in waters under 100 feet; they can be found in waters 3 or 4 times that depth.
The world record Scamp stands at 32 pounds caught off Atlanta Beach, NC:

And now the BIG Boy... the Goliath Grouper.
Per Fishingbooker the world record Goliath Grouper is 680 pounds caught off Fernandian Beach, Florida.
per Wikipedia, The Goliath Grouper is a large saltwater fish found primarily in shallow tropical waters at depths from 16 o 164 ft. Its range includes the Florida Keys, Gulf of Mexico, the Bahamas, most of the Caribbean and Brazil. The Goliath Grouper range can include off the coasts of New England, Maine, and Massachusetts, and, in the eastern Atlantic Ocean, from Congo to Senegal.
Per Fish & Wildlife Service, Goliath Grouper are territorial near their areas of refuge such as caves, wrecks, and reef ledges. Typically a gentle giant, Goliath Grouper maintain territory dominance through passive displays of an open mouth, quivering body, accompanied by sounding a distinct boom. The booming sound is created through muscular contraction of their large swim bladder. Divers report that vibrations felt from the boom are often stronger than the actual sound:

Finally let's take a look at Deep-Drop-Grouper:
Since deep water off Central Florida is so 'deep' into the very heart of the Gulf of Mexico, few make the trip.
The deep-drop grouper are completely different from 'shallow-water' grouper.
This is what we will will be looking for:

The beautiful Snowy Grouper:
Snowy Grouper can be found at depths from 600 to 1,100 feet. The world record Snowy is 70.7 pounds caught off Norfork, VA.

The beautiful Yellowedge Grouper:
Yellowfin Grouper can be found at depths of 600-900 feet. The record Yellowedge, 42 pounds, was caught off Cypremort Point, LA.

Another deep-water Grouper, the Kitty Mitchell:
The Kitty Mitchell Grouper is also called, Speckled Hind, Calico, Strawberry. The world record Kitty Mitchel, 50.8 pounds was caught off Destin, Florida.
The boat limit for Kitty Mitchell Grouper is one per boat.
Depth usually runs from 200 to 400 feet:

'The more we know the better our chances of success'.
Another thing to 'know', with Grouper fishing the after the catch can be as exciting as the catch itself.
A fresh Grouper sandwich on Tampa's own Cuban Bread is not a 'chance' but a guarantee. It's an occasion to be remembered for a life-time.

Catch the Targeting Central Florida Grouper video.
You will be glad you did:

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