Grouper are one of the most sought after and targeted fish in Florida, both on the Atlantic Ocean side as well as the Gulf of Mexico, because their flesh is tender, sweet and delicious.
Anglers worldwide know that they are one of the best-tasting fish in the sea and a true treat. You have not lived until you have tried a grilled blackened Grouper sandwich, preferably on the beach with a refreshing cocktail or beer to chase it down.
Their bodies can be massive, and they have extra-large mouths with many sharp teeth. They are very aggressive fish, fighting and eating anything that moves near them. They are bottom feeders and vary in color and size, although usually very large. Like many other bottom-dwelling fish like Snapper and Sea Bass, they are highly sought after and delicious fish. They are a treat for any seafood lover with tender and sweet flesh, and you haven’t lived until you eat a grilled or blackened Grouper sandwich.
Where to Find Grouper
Gulf of Mexico
Destin has some of the best Grouper fishing in Florida and one of the largest fleets in all of Florida to take you out to catch them. Located at the eastern end of the Florida Panhandle, many different species, including Black, Red, Scamp, Gag and Goliath Grouper, are found in the waters off the coast.
One of the beautiful things about fishing in Destin is that the deep waters are not a long drive out and back. Now the deep water is close and it is full of all of the fish you want to catch including large sized Groupers.
With one of the most active artificial reefs that house thousands of fish, including Grouper, Destin is one of the best places for fishing for Grouper and every other sport fish you would want to catch. Along with the incredible fishing on the artificial reefs there is also excellent Grouper fishing at the wrecks that dot the shore as well as some fertile natural reefs.
Some of the more popular spots for Destin fishing charters are the Miss Louise, a sunken tugboat home to Gag Grouper and a host of other fish, the sunken Destin bridge and an array of army tanks about two miles offshore Grouper prefer warmer waters which is why the Florida’s Gulf Coast and Destin are an ideal habitat.
When you come to Destin prepare for a day of action. With many species of Grouper but also a whole slew of other fish you will be sure to bring a full cooler home with you full of tasty Black, Red, Scamp and Gag Grouper (Goliath are not able to be brought home, or even into the boat)
Crystal River is unique as it is most known for its shallow Gag Grouper fishing. While most places in the state need to go at least 30-60 ft. deep in Crystal River, you can catch decent-sized Gag Grouper in less than 20 feet of water. The best time to come to Crystal River is October to December, but you can catch them year-round in these shallow waters.
Tampa, Clearwater, St. Petersburg
The Florida Keys
One of the best places to catch Grouper in Florida is the Florida Keys. The Florida Keys are actually around 1,700 islands that border both the Gulf of Mexico and the Atlantic Ocean. This gives them the added bonus of being able to fish on both sides of the state. So, you can find all 19 different species of Grouper in Florida in and around the waters of the Keys.
There are so many places to fish for Grouper in the Florida Keys. Still, a few of the most popular are Key West, Islamorada and Marathon. Each has its charm and attracts many fish species, including the many groupers found in the Gulf and Atlantic. Key West is the southernmost point in the U.S., just 100 miles from Cuba. Marathon is halfway between Key Largo at the beginning of the Keys and Key West, and Islamorada is halfway between Marathon and Key Largo. You will not be disappointed no matter where you decide to go for your Grouper fishing trip.
The “Magic City” can be magical for anglers who desire Grouper of all sizes and species. Miami offers many drop-offs and ledges, wrecks and reefs, and other underwater structures attract giant Groupers and other bottom feeders. Here you can find the three main Grouper; Red, Black and Gag, but also Scamp, Goliath, Warsaw and rarer breeds like Speckled, Rock and Red Hinds, Snowy, and Yellow Edge Grouper.
Fort Lauderdale is an excellent place for an action-filled Grouper action because it has so many places for them to hide and hunt. You can enjoy deep-sea fishing off the coasts of Deerfield, Pompano Beach, Hillsboro and Dania Beach. All of these spots have rocky structures, reefs and wrecks galore. Fort Lauderdale fishing charters can target hundreds of incredible hotspots for great Grouper fishing.