Now here’s an inexpensive way to land a huge fish; just attach a fishing line to a tow rope, bait a Lindgren Pittmen hook, and you’re good to go! That’s at least what this fisherman did to land an enormous grouper fish from his local boat dock. The enormous fish almost got the best of him as he nearly lost his footing a couple times, but he was eventually able to wear it down.
A Little History About the Grouper Fish
There are several species of grouper fish ranging from small to incredibly big like the one at the end of this young fisherman’s line. As opposed to biting and taking chunks off, groupers swallow their prey whole, and they are actually able to create suction with their gills and mouth to suck their prey in. While some species attack their prey openly, most prefer ambush-style attacks. They also have a built-in defense mechanism as well: digging into sand with their mouths to create shelters beneath large rocks.
Popular Fishing Techniques for Catching Grouper
In the US, groupers can be found anywhere from the Gulf of Mexico all the way up to New England. They prefer places with shelter like coral reefs and other underwater formations. Popular ways to go about catching a grouper are slow trolling, straight bottom fishing, or free-lining the bait. Let’s take a closer look at these methods.
Trolling for Grouper
A common method for catching groupers is trolling over and around artificial reefs, which can be anywhere from 5 miles to 50-plus miles off the coast. In the Gulf of Mexico, you’ll usually want to get the bait down 30 feet or more, and you can do this using magnum diving plugs. Another way that’s the preferred method off of the South Florida coast in wintertime is trolling using wire-line. This method uses the following equipment and bait:
- Heavy-duty rod with case-hardened roller guides
- Monel wire-line
- 6-foot leader
- Trolling weight
- Double-hook trolling feather
- Strip baits
Bottom Fishing Techniques to Catch Grouper
Bottom fishing also requires a good, heavy-duty rod and reel. This is the typical method you would use when fishing on a charter boat. Here’s the other equipment you’ll need for this method:
- 50-pound test monofilament line
- Sinker, leader, and hook
- Squid or small fish for bait
The preferred way to set this up is to tie a bank sinker to the end of the leader, and then have a 12-inch looped leader about 18 inches up from that.
Grouper Fishing with Live Bait
The third method is free-lining live bait. This is probably the most difficult method and often ends with the grouper winning the battle. Here’s what you would need for this technique:
- Heavy-duty rod and reel
- Sliding-egg sinker
- 5- or 6-foot long monofilament or fluorocarbon leader
- 8/0 or 9/0 circle hook
Of course, there’s another method, and it’s the hand-lining method used by this eager fisherman. It’s incredibly easy, and this guy does it with a 600-pound monofilament line, tow rope, and crevalle jack bait on a 18/0 Lindgren Pittmen circle hook. Gloves are, of course, essential in order to handle the line, and you need to be careful to not step on the tow line and not wrap the line around your wrists or fingers. With a big grouper, you’re in for quite a struggle, as you’ll see below.
How much do you think this grouper weighs? My best guess would be maybe 150 or possibly even 200 pounds. As huge as that is, the record for the biggest grouper ever caught was a staggering 680-pounder caught off the coast of Florida in 1961. The particular species of grouper that set the record back then is an endangered and protected species today.