St. Petersburg Times
Gulf & Bay

Boats and Marine

Guides, Charters, Bait & Tackle

Real Estate, Financial

Other

tampabay.com

Grabbing Grouper

Art by Mike Sudal • Text by Terry Tomalin
© St. Petersburg Times
published January 3, 2003

BOAT POSITIONING
This is critical. Grouper don't stray far from structure, especially in the winter when cooler water temperatures slow down the metabolism of these bottom dwellers. Locate the structure with a bottom recorder, then mark the wreck or reef with a small buoy and a 4-pound weight. Make sure the line is taut before you tie it off or else the buoy will drift off your spot.

photo

STRUCTURE
Most of the limestone outcroppings that fishermen refer to as "hard bottom" are the remnants of old coastlines when sea levels were much lower. Ledges generally run parallel to the coast, but scattered patches of hard bottom can be found throughout near-shore waters.

photo

photo

Gulf temperature
Surface and bottom temperatures may vary as much as 20 degrees. And just as temperature varies, so may water clarity. The surface may look clear, but down 60 feet, the visibility may only be a few feet. If this is the case, use a "stink" or dead bait to help attract the fish.
  photo

TERMINAL TACKLE
Use a minimum of 40-pound test with at least 2 feet of 50-pound leader. Resist the temptation to use heavier line. The lighter your leader, the greater chance of a hook-up. A 6/0 "J" hook is the standard, but some fishermen swear by circle hooks. A 4-ounce swivel or sliding sinker will get your bait to the bottom quickly. To tie your tackle together, use a uni-knot.

photo

THE FISH
Black and gag grouper must be 22 inches long in the Gulf of Mexico and 24 inches in the Atlantic Ocean and Monroe County. Red grouper, scamp, yellowfin and yellowmouth grouper must be 20 inches. Anglers may keep five fish (aggregate or all species) per day. Gray (mangrove) snapper must be 10 inches long and anglers may keep five per day.

photo

photo This graphic was compiled with the help of Capt. Dave Zalewski. Zalewski has run 200 or more fishing charters a year for 20 years, but he says it is his recreational scuba diving adventures that have given him the greatest insight into the habits of reef fish.

ALSO: Download this graphic
as a PDF file
photo

*You will need the free Acrobat Reader from Adobe for viewing.

Back to Sports

Motorsports
  • Home team advantage
  • Another Andretti at Indy

  • NFL
  • Middleton not ready to let it go

  • College football
  • Leavitt is 'ecstatic' over Bradenton CB

  • NHL
  • Detroit can't get it past Roy

  • College basketball
  • Free-throw record falls
  • Virginia's 16-0 run stuns Terps
  • Season on the bubble: Salukis watch

  • NBA
  • Lakers edge Knicks, finally get over .500

  • Tennis
  • Tampa's Blake wants to be like Ashe -- off the court

  • Tennis
  • U.S. puts Fish on line with his Davis Cup singles debut

  • Surfin' the Net
  • Bucs' Jackson won't bid, but he wants ring back

  • TV/Radio
  • If it includes Bucs, it must be a winner

  • Golf
  • Pebble Beach plays trick on field

  • Preps
  • Bucs go from 4th to 1st
  • Bulls, Cowboys use penalty kicks to advance
  • FHSAA reinstates Warhawk
  • Packers guard picks N.C. State
  • Panthers come roaring back to stay perfect
  • Cougars' keeper gets 13th shutout of season
  • Berkeley Prep dumps Terps
  • An unusual Tornado win
  • King knocks off Plant for crown
  • Durant handles Armwood
  • Keswick gives Barons fits
  • 18 years later, streak ends

  • Outdoors
  • Know your limits
  • Built with one thing in mind . . . Go Fish
  • February forecast
  • Freshwater Forecast
  • Shrimp tales
  • North Suncoast fishing forecast

  • Rays
  • Rays add defense with signing of first baseman Travis Lee

  • Bucs
  • Young Gruden knows pressure

  • Lightning
  • Lightning lets it slip by
  • Andreychuk honored, but he's not finished
  • John Romano: Spark for slumping goalie
  • Back to Top

    © 2006 • All Rights Reserved • Tampa Bay Times
    490 First Avenue South • St. Petersburg, FL 33701 • 727-893-8111