Offshore Information, Adventures and Conditions

Friday, September 4, 2009

Time for Shallow Water Grouper Fishing

This is my most favorite time of the year. The grouper have started moving in closer as the weather cools. It is always nice to be able to run out 8 miles and catch my 2 grouper instead of running 80 miles. Save a lot of time and gas money.

In my area there are two of natures signs that tells me when the grouper begin to move in to the shallow water. The first is the cooler nights and the passing of the first cold front. You would not really know it but that just happened. The second is the deer go in to pre-rut and you will start to see many does hanging around the roads. When you start to see the deer, it time to start grouper fishing.

Many people have different definition of shallow water grouper fishing. Some may think 20-25 ft or 15-20 ft. Think shallower, I have many rocks in 6-8ft water where we tend to catch decent size fish (25-30 inch) in Sept, Oct and Nov.

For those who may not be aware of the recent changes in the grouper regulations.
New federal regulations for shallow-water grouper species in the Gulf of Mexico took effect May 18, 2009.

Current Recreational Regulations
- Gag, Black, Red Grouper -
(State and Federal Waters)

State and Federal Waters of the Gulf of Mexico (Except Monroe County) *




Minimum Size Limit

22" TL

22" TL

20" TL

Bag Limit

up to 2 Gag within the 4 grouper aggregate

up to 4 Black within the 4 grouper aggregate

up to 2 Red within the 4 grouper aggregate

Closed Season**

Feb and March

Feb and March

Feb and March


charter captain/crew - zero bag limit

Good Luck, Stay Legal and Safe

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Friday, June 19, 2009

Shallow Water Grouper Report

Report 06/19/2009.

The latest shallow water grouper report came from two friends that spent last week fishing everyday. They fished in 12-14 ft of water and limited out everyday. Most keepers where 25 - 27 in while the biggest was 32 in. They also caught many shorts (but fewer than the offshore reports) as well as a few short red grouper. Which I believe is a strong indication that the red grouper are making a very healthy recovery.

Off of Hernando/Citrus counties there is a large flat area that starts in 10ft out to 13ft. This large area of grass flats is about 4 -6 miles wide and it has many low profile rocks. Most of these rocks are very hard to find on a depth recorder, unless you go directly over it. Over the years I have found many, but I know there are many many more out there. The way I found most of them is in the fall drifting trout. Sometimes you will hook grouper other times you can see them busting the top of the water chasing bait. Yes grouper will hit surface baits. The largest shallow water grouper I have caught was 24lbs while trolling a skip baits. When something like this happens make sure you mark the area. If the water is murky, you may not be able to find the rock. If you mark the location, you can always come back when the water is clear.

Typically by this time of year, all the larger grouper have moved to deeper water and will return in late September. This is another good sign that the grouper population should continue build over the next 7-10 years, unless gas prices stay high. Then I could see the grouper stock returning to their maximum potential levels.

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Thursday, May 7, 2009

Shallow Water Grouper

Shallow water grouper report. I ran in to a friend this afternoon and got the report on the recent grouper catches. Last Saturday, they ran out to 30-35 ft and could not get a bite. On the way in they decided to stop in 9 ft and limited out in about 45 minutes.

The key to shallow water grouper fishing is do not get too close to the rock. The grouper can feel the pressure of the boat and will either move away from or under the rock. Also for those who are fortunate to have such prized locations, it's a good idea to dive the rocks over the warm summer months and take note of which way the rock lays, if and where holes are located and the hole's orientation. Then in the spring and fall you will be ready to limit out and get back to the dock in a few hours.

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