All about Grouper Fishing
Grouper fishing is one of the most popular types of fishing today. In fact, so many grouper are disappearing that in 2009 grouper fishing in Florida was regulated for the first time, with months where no grouper can be taken. Grouper live on the bottom and like to hang out near and under bottom ledges, coral reefs, and ship wrecks. They choose a place to live where they have a spot to hide but can rush out and ambush smaller fish to eat. They particularly like crustaceans--crabs, squid and crawfish.
If you want to catch grouper, you can use a normal medium-heavy rod, and a normal reel with line in the thirty to fifty pound range. There are three methods used in grouper fishing. These are to slow troll with your boat, fish down on the bottom, and to use live bait. Because grouper fishing is so popular you can find fishing boats and charters going out every day. Grouper are thrilling to catch because they are very cagey and it is a real fight to land one.
If you want to do just straight bottom fishing for grouper, you need to make what is called a fish-finder rig. You need a sinker, hook and leader. It ties with a sinker on the end of the leader. A foot and a half up from the sinker is a loop, a foot long, that is tied into the leader. The hook is attached to this loop. The most popular bait used in grouper fishing is cut bait, small fish or squid. This type of fish-finder rig rarely gets hung up on the bottom like other types of tackle.
A live bait rig is another popular choice for grouper fishing. This rig uses a leader that is very long, often as much as five or six feet. An 8/0 circle hook is the best choice. The live bait rig uses a sliding egg sinker above the leader. Because the leader is so long, the live bait has a lot of room to swim around and fool the grouper into thinking there is no line there, just a swimming fish. A fluorocarbon leader is often used because it is guaranteed to be invisible to fish.
If a fish does take your bait and run with it, the sliding egg sinker allows it to go without the grouper feeling the weight of a sinker. If you hook a grouper, he will most likely grab the bait and then head back to where he was hiding under the cover of a structure. This presents the perfect opportunity for you to lose your catch, because if the grouper makes it back underneath, you have nothing to use for leverage that is going to phase him in the least.
At this point, there are usually two options: either cut your line and let the grouper have a nice meal with the bait or wait patiently with your line loose until the grouper thinks you have given up and gone away and comes back out. Because grouper are so good to eat and so much fun to catch, the battle of wits between angler and fish can go on for some time.
The final technique used in grouper fishing is trolling. In Florida, the most often used trolling method is with a wire line, trolling weight and a trolling feather. The trolling feather is double-hooked and the bait strips are attached to the feather. A wire leader that is six feet is attached to a one pound trolling weight, and the weight is tied to ten feet on a two hundred pound test line.
The people who are grouper fishing troll around reefs till they get a strike and then the boat immediately pulls the grouper away from his safety hole so that he cannot go back underneath and the fish is reeled in. Because of the intricacies of the leader options and the heavy wire line used, sometimes it is best to just hire a charter boat and go out with anglers who know what they are doing. After you have caught a few grouper, you might feel experienced enough to head out on your own.