Get Ready For Gag Grouper Season, 2019 Folks!
Yes gag grouper season is open and smoking hot and here’s a few things to get you started. You’ve got to be a bit flexible this year. That ol’ one two punch we had last year with the red tide and hurricane really mixed things up a bit. I still feel it’s a bit off center still for most of our fishing but they are out there. Both red and gag grouper can be caught on a wide variety of baits including trolled lipped plugs and natural bait like live pinfish, squirrel fish, squid, Spanish sardines or any cut bait that you can get down to them. I like to fish for these bottom dwelling brawlers with one of the simplest rigs there are and that’s the traditional style bottom rig. This is achieved with a few simple items. First is a swivel, not too fancy here just something that will prevent that lead weight from sliding all the way down to the hook. Ok, you’ve got your swivel and now you need a lead weight, I like 3-4 oz egg sinkers, not too heavy and yet heavy enough. Take that lead and feed it on the working end of your line and secure the line to that swivel with a clench or fisherman’s knot. You can also place a small bead between the lead and the swivel as to preserve the integrity of the knot. Next cut about 3 feet of 50 lb fluorocarbon, secure one end to the empty eye of that swivel, so one eye has the sinker and the other has the fluorocarbon. Next to finish out the rig you’ll need a man sized hook to tie on. For this I’d recommend a 7\0 circle hook. Circle hooks are a must when fishing for reef fish like snapper and grouper. Use those bait choices I mentioned earlier and you’ll be screaming for Ethel to get the net! Oh and one last bit of advice, when you drop (to prevent tangles) try to flip that bait and sinker a short distance away from you to create a bit of an angle so when that sinker and bait rockets towards the bottom that cut bait is less likely to spin around your line and twist you up. Well, I guess I can tell you one more trick, with that circle hook, don’t set it. The best piece of advice I can give you is just start reeling like crazy until you feel him pulling back and then lift. If you set the hook, you’ll be reeling up to re-bait. While you’re out there to take a peek for bonito because they are in big numbers out off the beaches and offer a great opportunity to bend a rod.
For this upcoming week I’m gonna have to say the fishing that has remained constant is the offshore bite. One in particular will wow the crowd every time and that’s the mackerel bite. There’s nothing like hearing that smoker king grab that bait and make a blistering run for…well, wherever he’s pointed really.
We’ve added a degree of difficulty on my boat lately. I’ve been fishing with my inshore rods and boy that’s some exciting fishing. Now I wouldn’t recommend doing this with just any 3000 series reels mind you. I have been thoroughly impressed with my Penn Conflict 3000 and we’ve boated some fish that undoubtedly shouldn’t have made it. So here’s what ya do, get yourself some threadfins and get offshore a few miles and watch for signs of activity, birds diving bait schools being swatted at ect. Now rigging will differ but what I have found to be successful is using the smallest wire I can get away with and all you’ll need is 3 or 4 inches after you get your entire ensemble of leader and hooks secured. Hook that live thread just past the center mark towards the tail and send him on out.
So that’s where you’ll see me for the most part. I really love the action of grouper, snapper and whatever else swims by and decides to gobble up that bait dangling from your hook. You never know what you will pull up next, could be a grouper, could be a scamp and could be a shark even.
If you’re ready to get out and see how Kelly and I do it, give us a jingle or find us on Facebook, Instagram or our web page. Well folks, you know the deal...gotta get on out and get my FIX on!
Tight lines & y’all stay safe!!
Capt Jesse McDowall