Fishing the bottom of the Gulf of Mexico offers up its fair share of heartache and reward. There are so many species that can be targeted, but grouper fishing is something that can be had year-round and a species that always offers up a fun time. But be warned, grouper fishing is filled with surprises where special techniques are required to bring home the bacon—bacon wrapped grouper that is.
Just beyond the shores of Naples, Florida lies a vast sea with several different types of bottom contour that are just perfect for those grouper hangouts. These contours consist of ship wrecks, rock piles, ledges and drop-offs, and even artificial reefs. These are all great hangouts for grouper—of all varieties. But one thing is for certain, regardless of which species of grouper you manage to hook in to, you’re looking at one heck of a fight!
Hooking into a grouper is pretty recognizable. The sudden, sharp downward thrust of the rod that feels more like a mack truck than a fish lets you know immediately that you’re in for a fight. Since most species of grouper reach sizes of 30lb. or more, there’s a good chance you have a brute on the end of your line. And as soon as that grouper takes the bait, it immediately retreats to its home in which it came—often times resulting in a cut line. So you need to be ready for a real struggle to keep that from happening.
That’s where your gear comes into play. A heavy action rod is ideal when hoisting up large grouper paired with a beefy, low geared conventional reel wrapped with heavy pound test. This will aid in getting that fish off the bottom in a hurry, but also efficiently. This allows you to keep on the action without tiring out too quickly. A large weight is needed depending on depth and current to get your bait to the bottom and hold it there. Live bait always works best when enticing grouper from their holes for what they thick is a quick and easy meal. Baits such as live pinfish, croakers or finger mullet work well. Jigging a soft plastic that mimics these baits or even a spoon can work wonders as well.
Your best bet in finding and successfully landing grouper is to hire a guide. Guides have the knowledge and expertise needed when it comes to targeting large grouper. Here at Naples Fishing Boat, Captain Hunter Robertson has just what you need for an enjoyable time out on the water here in Naples, Florida. So what are you waiting for? Book a trip today and you’ll be enjoying fresh grouper after a long day of hauling them in in no time!