May 21, 2019
Team members here at FishAnywhere.com are excited about next month’s Gag Grouper season! We’ve already booked our offshore trips with our favorite Gulf Coast fishing charters, and the smack talk has begun. Who’s going to land the biggest Gag? Who can reel a Gag in the quickest? It’s all in good fun… and we’re getting the gear ready for a great day of Gag Fishing!
Everything You Need to Know About Fishing for Gag Grouper:
Let’s start with WHEN to fish for Gags: Because Gag Grouper is one of the most popular saltwater fish species targeted, authorities have regulations on when and how many you can harvest. NOAA Fisheries and the FWC (Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission) announced that Gag Grouper season in Federal waters in the Gulf of Mexico are effective June 1, 2019 until December 31, 2019. There is a two fish daily bag limit per person; and minimum size limit for Gag is 24 inches total fish length. To ensure you’re staying within regulations, we recommend fishing with a FishAnywhere Professional Fishing Charter Captain as they are up-to-date on all regulations.
Next, we’ll discuss WHERE to fish for Gag Grouper: Adult and juvenile Gag Groupers can be found both inshore and offshore the Gulf Coast; Specifically, anywhere from 3 miles to 100 miles off the coast (really anything that’s over 60 feet deep). They particularly like to hide in holes, ledges and underwater structures such as sunken ships, oil or gas rigs, and man-made reefs. So, with your Gulf of Mexico Professional Captain’s GPS and Fishfinder electronics, start looking for the hiding places and you should find the fish.
Now the good stuff: HOW to catch Gags. Offshore fishing for Gag Grouper starts with the bait: We’ve found that live baitfish is the best option; though many anglers have caught Gags on spinning and plug tackle. Try Pilchards, Sand Perch, Pinfish, or Grunts. Dead small fish or large cut bait also work well (for cut bait try squid, octopus, or crabs).
When bottom fishing for Gag, use sturdy rods with heavy lines (usually 50- and 80- pound test lines). The Gags are fighters and will be aggressive in their strikes. Once hooked they tend to run back to their holes and you’ll need heavy gear so you don’t lose your line.
Trolling for Gag Grouper usually involve large deep-diving plugs that attract the Gag Grouper. We recommend trolling with the tide, as running against it usually pulls the lure over the Gags head and they don’t have time to see it. Again, once they’re hooked keep the drag tight so they don’t run with your line.
Your Professional Charter Captain or Fishing Guide will have tips and techniques for catching your limit. Deep sea fishing for Gag Grouper is a great experience and you’ll learn so much from their expertise. Don’t be afraid to get your hands dirty, ask questions, and be sure to bring your camera for when you reel in the trophy catch!
WHY is fishing for Gag Grouper such a draw for anglers? Gags are aggressive fighters and a worthy prize! It’s offshore fishing in the Gulf of Mexico at its finest. Whether you’re bottom fishing or trolling, catching a Gag Grouper is a thrill for any angler! Also, Gag Groupers can be a HUGE catch! Some reach up to 50 pounds, with the World record at 80 pounds! And let’s not forget: Gag Grouper is very tasty and makes for a delicious fish dinner.
Before you head out: Remember all safety precautions when fishing for Gag Grouper. Follow the Captain’s boat rules, make sure you wear appropriate clothing, and definitely wear sunscreen, polarized sunglasses, and a hat. Also be sure to hydrate; being on the Gulf of Mexico for several hours can be intense without these preventative measures.
Not sure where to start your Gag Grouper fishing charter experience?
Wherever you’re staying on the Gulf Coast, FishAnywhere has Professional Captains and Fishing Guides available. Whether it’s Pensacola, Destin, Panama City, St. Petersburg, Tampa, Fort Myers, or Naples – start your Gag Grouper fishing trip with a FishAnywhere search. Then we’ll get you hooked up with the best fishing guide in your area! You can be part of our FishAnywhere team smack talk! What’cha think? Can you reel in the biggest Gag Grouper this season?!
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