In Florida, fishing for Grouper is one of the most popular activities for nearshore and offshore fisherman. At the same time, some inshore fisheries are fortunate enough to have access as well. These are hard fighting fish that vary in size (some can be huge) and, for those legal to keep, are some of the best-tasting fish the ocean offers.

Types Of Grouper In Florida

It is reported that there are 159 species of grouper globally. Florida is home to several types of grouper species, but we will focus on the ones regulated by FWC.

These are:

  • Goliath Grouper
  • Nassau Grouper
  • Black Grouper
  • Gag Grouper
  • Red Grouper
  • Scamp Grouper
  • Yellowfin Grouper
  • Yellowmouth Grouper
  • Rock Hind Grouper
  • Coney Grouper
  • Misty Grouper
  • Warsaw Grouper
  • Snowy Grouper

Diet

Since we have so many grouper on the list, we will focus on broad baits that will work in nearly any circumstance.

They eat several types of fish. This includes baitfish and much larger fish (depending on the grouper species. For example, a Goliath grouper can swallow a mid-sized shark). That said, the main diet consists of:

  • Fish
  • Octopus
  • Crustaceans

Size

Since we have so many grouper on the list, there is quite a broad range of sizes- we will go over a few.

Gag Grouper: These can grow over 3 feet and weigh in at 50lbs or more.

Goliath Grouper: These can reach over 8 feet and weigh in at over 800lbs.

Warsaw Grouper: These can reach over 8 feet and weigh in at over 600lbs.

Snowy Grouper: These can grow over 4 feet and weigh in at 50lbs.

Physical Characteristics

Since we have so many grouper on the list, there is quite a broad range of characteristics- we will go over some main ones.

Grouper generally have a strong body with a large mouth. They are not built for distance or speed, but they are powerhouses around wrecks and reefs. This is where most anglers lose the fish since they dive back into structure and often cut the line.

They are not very toothy, they generally swallow prey whole. For crustaceans, or prey putting up a bit of a fight, they have a heavy crushing tooth plate in the back of their throats.

Regulations

Grouper have many regulations in both state and federal waters that vary by species and location. It is essential to study this page on the FWC site for complete details: FWC Grouper

To note:

Harvest is fully prohibited for Goliath and Nassauer Grouper.

Also, from FWC:

“In the Atlantic reef fish fishery, gear rules require dehooking tools, and as of Jan. 1, 2021, non-stainless steel hooks in all state waters, and non-offset circle hooks N. of 28 ° N. latitude.”