The gag grouper is found in the western Atlantic
Ocean from North Carolina (US) south to the Yucatan Peninsula (Mexico). Our Clearwater deepsea fishing charter targets grouper
more than any other fish. Juveniles have been recorded as far north as Massachusetts.As There have also been records of gag
grouper occurring off the coasts of Clearwater Florida, Tampa Fl,Bermuda, Cuba, and eastern Brazil.
in brackish to marine waters, the gag grouper is found offshore the Clearwater and Tampa Bay area on rocky bottom as well
as inshore on rocky or grassy bottoms to depths of 500 feet (152 m). It is common on rocky ledges along the eastern Gulf of
Adult gag grouper school in groups of 5-50 individuals or may be found solitary. Recordings have
been made of adult gag grouper producing thumping sounds through the swim bladder by vibrations resulting from the contraction
of associated musculature. These sounds are produced during times when the fish is under duress
- The gag grouper is typical among the groupers with an oblong-shaped elongate body. The
head is long while the mouth is large with a protruding lower jaw. The bases of the dorsal and anal fins are covered with
scales and thick skin. The caudal fin is large and has a slightly concave margin. This grouper is often confused with the
black Grouper(M. bonaci), however it is has some distinguishing characteristics. These include the shape of the caudal
fin - the gag grouper has a slightly concave margin along the posterior edge of the caudal fin while the black grouper has
square-shaped caudal fin. The preopercle (a boomerang-shaped bone whose edges form the posterior and lower margins of the
cheek region; the most anterior of the bones comprising the gill cover) is angular and slightly notched with a distinct lobe.
This characteristic also helps to distinguish the gag grouper from black grouper which has a gently rounded preopercle
Age, and GrowthGag grouper reach a maximum total length of 4.75 feet (1.45 m) and a maximum weight of 80.5 lbs
(36.5 kg). Males reach maturity at approximately 8 years of age and a correlating total length of 39 inches (98 cm) while
females mature at 5-6 years of age and 26-30 inches (67-75 cm) total length. This species is believed to have a lifespan of
· Fishing Grouper
of the fish we target in this area of Florida most often is the grouper. There are a number of grouper species found in the
waters of Clearwater Florida, gag, red, scamp and goliath groupers are the most common species that we fish for. Though they'll
eat just about anything, our charter boat usually uses live pinfish to get the best action. We use circle hooks and relatively
heavy tackle while grouper fishing, this helps to keep them from grabbing your bait and heading into a ledge or rocks to cut
you off.Adult gag grouper primarily feed on fishes, crabs, shrimps. Our grouper charters in Tampa target
Grouper with mostly live bait and dead sardines in the winter.
Grouper can be caught on fresh cut bait, such as
mullet or pinfish. They will also eat squid, octopus, and crabs. Live bait is by far the best bet, which is why we use live
bait on almost every grouper charter. A live pinfish, a small gray or lane snapper, or a live cigar minnow will draw almost
as fast as the bait gets to the bottom. We also use Shimano Butterfly jigs and bucktail jigs while targeting grouper
on west Florida fishing charters.