A lot of the folks who buy fishing gear at Eat My Tackle usually fish for grouper, and why not, as they’re not hard to find along reefs. While grouper is fairly commonplace, they’re not going to give up easily so you need a good tackle to reel them in. Their large mouths also mean they can swallow a small bait and even snatch small fish on your hook.
What Tackle Should You Use?
As was mentioned earlier, a good sized tackle is recommended: the general rule is to use a tackle that is larger than what you would normally use with fish of a similar size. If you’re going after big grouper (50 pounds or more) or the area is surrounded by a lot of rocks, get the heaviest tackle you can handle. A braided line is also suitable because they don’t stretch, and look also for reels with good drag so you’re not lacking in power. Expert anglers have been known to pull in large grouper with a standard spinning tackle, but you will have a better chance with a heavy tackle.
What Techniques and Baits Should I Use?
You can catch grouper with a wide range of live or dead baits as well as artificial lures. Some new anglers find it easier to use jerkbaits, but really it is a matter of personal preference. You may also find it easier to fish with deep diving plugs which end up just over the reef where the grouper are located. If you’re in a shallow reef you’ll probably have a good shot of catching them with jerkbaits or artificial lures.
If fishing for grouper in deeper waters, metal jigs should work, and don’t underestimate the power of color as some types of grouper seem drawn to orange, pink and other colors. If you’re going after large grouper, live bait, preferably a large fish is your best option: assuming it’s allowed in your area, just hook up a bait fish and bring it down. If the reef is frequented by grouper you’re going to get a bite soon enough.
Where Can I Find the Big Grouper?
There is no shortage of places around the United States and the world where you can catch grouper. In the US you can find them in the waters off the Bahamas and of course, South Florida is a good place to catch grouper and a wide range of saltwater fish. The coasts of Australia and New Zealand are also home to several species of grouper, as are the waters in Panama.
The general rule is grouper love deep waters with rocky structures, and you’re going to find them in reefs, ship wrecks, debris, coral ledges and piles of rocks. Since groupers sneak up on their prey, they hide in these structures until a target comes along. Finding them here can be difficult for a beginner, but with the right lure and bait, they will be coming up to you, and you just need to pull them up.