First, choose the bait (pinfish, mullet, or other big ones like squid, sardine, white crab, chub mackerel, and octopus pieces). Then, select the right place to fish. Gather your gear with an adequate weight capacity. Follow the current and fish with your expertise.
When you want to catch grouper off a dock, the best time to set your bait is from October to the end of December, but due to their size, groupers can be challenging to catch unless you know the tricks. Groupers can be extremely heavy to catch and tackle if you don’t have any prior experience. However, when standing off a dock with hope, these steps can get you a grouper or multiple!
First, Choose the Bait
Choosing the right bait for your grouper fishing is necessary, although these fish are not picky. You can use small fish like pinfish and mullet or bigger ones like squid, sardine, white crab, chub mackerel, and octopuses’ pieces.
Pick The Right Place
You cannot avoid waves or an airy atmosphere because groupers are saltwater fish. But at least look for a place where the wind is not too strong, and the water is calmer than usual.
Pro-tip: the best dock to extend the possibility of catching a grouper is the one with mussels and barnacles surrounding the pilings. These creatures indicate the presence of groupers in that area.
Prepare your gear
The best rods to catch groupers are the ones that can hold a 50–100-pound test line. The rod length needs to be 6 1/2 feet to 7 feet with a 30-40 or 3/0 to 4/0 series reel.
Follow The Flow of The Current
You must ensure that you use the water current to your advantage. Thus, you can use the down-current side or swim the bait parallelly to the dock. But do not go against the current, as the fishing gear can be hard to manage.
Move Around and Fish As You Like To
Groupers are fun and adventurous to fish for. They are very aggressive, so you will need to spend energy fighting to pull the fish up. That’s why good angling is needed with a reel with enough weight capacity.
Different Types of Groupers That You Can Target
These black groupers are usually available in the Atlantic Ocean and the Gulf of Mexico. During their mating period, they stay in the shallow water, but otherwise, they swim down to 60 to 250 feet of deep water.
- Red Grouper
These fish are reddish with white speckles. You can find red groupers mainly in Florida. They usually swim in the offshore waters, 1,000 feet under the surface. They are very aggressive, so you must be an expert angler to catch one.
- Gag grouper
These are also known as grey groupers, and they are very common to catch. You can find these in Florida and the Bahamas. They usually swim around shallow water, so catching them from your dock is easier.
- Snowy Grouper
Snowy grouper is the tastiest grouper among all of them. They are found in 350 feet or greater water depth.
- Goliath Grouper
These groupers are very big and can weigh over 800 pounds. So they are not easy to catch. However, they also tend to swim around in the shallow water of coastal areas.
- White Grouper
These groupers are popularly known as Nassau Groupers. They are commonly found in the Bahamas and rarely in the Florida Keys.
- Scamp Groupers
Here comes another delicious small grouper you can find within 100 feet of water. They weigh about five pounds, and the taste is mouthwatering!
Which Type of Grouper Is The Best?
If you mean the taste, we must say that snowy and scamp groupers are among the best tasting. Otherwise, if available, you might want to go for red grouper. They are also tasty and a preferred choice for U.S. chefs.
Some Further Tips on Grouper Fishing
- Check The Surroundings
Setting your gears in the right area can increase the possibility of grouper fishing. So you can check for calmer water and less windy areas to give you flexibility while fishing. You can mostly find the groupers in Florida and the Gulf of Mexico.
- Target Residential Docks During Cold weather
Gag groupers tend to swim close to the shore during colder weather. So, you can take a chance and target them. You have to tighten up your drag on the dock and hold on tight and patiently.
- Target Offshore Waters During Hot Weather
As soon as the weather starts to get hot, the groupers tend to swim toward the offshore waters. So, using the knowledge while picking up the fishing area can be beneficial.
- Don’t Forget Your Rod’s Weight Capacity
Groupers can fight back a lot. So, even when your grouper is hooked, you might lose your catch if the grouper goes back into its ledges and holes. In that case, a tight and expert dragged is needed. And the dragging can be ensured by a rod with at least a 50-100 pound weight capacity.
Find a near-deep water dock
To fish for grouper off a dock, you will need to find a dock that is close to an underwater drop-off or deep water. This will give the fish shelter from the current because they can swim behind the structure and rest there until they are ready to feed again. The second thing you want to look for is structures such as rocks, ledges, and pilings that are in deeper water than the dock.
Any type of structure will work, but if it’s shallow enough to see it from the boat, you won’t be able to reach it with your rod when fishing from shore because it gets too difficult for even experienced anglers using spinning rods in this situation. You’ll also want baitfish near where you’re going since these are what grouper like most out of all other types of prey items. However, ensure none have been used recently because any scent from dead baitfish will scare them away!
Learning how to fish for grouper off a dock is no big deal if you are already an expert angler. However, it might be tough if you are a beginner, as the groupers can be very aggressive and may give you a hard time while trying to drag.
So, if you keep the tips and steps in mind, you can enjoy a good grouper fishing experience off your dock. Our advice would be to be very wise with the location, which can be an upside to your possible victory.