When Do Grouper Eat?

Groupers are hard to catch, and it is best to see them when they run in the early mornings, so you should fish for the grouper in the morning. The mornings are when they are most active and likely to be out to try and eat. Nighttime is not normally a very active time for grouper. There are specific times of the year you can fish for grouper in most of the United States and other parts of the world. You will need to coordinate their run times to when you can legally fish for them.

When are Groupers Most Active?

Groupers like hiding in caves and crevices and come out to attack the prey, so getting the fish active enough to lure with the hook is hard. Once other fish are out and active during the dawn groupers activity level will also increase so they can eat. As the day goes along most fish tend to become less active and by nighttime most of them are sleeping. Fish do not sleep in the same way we do as humans. They will look for a place where they can remain as motionless as possible to restore themselves. Like most fish respiration will slow down for them in this state.

Which Season Is Best for Grouper Fishing?

Along with the time of the day, the season when you fish for groupers also matters to catch them. The fish is active only when the water has the appropriate temperatures for the fish, but different species of grouper, like gag grouper, may be dynamic during different seasons.

Along with the season, the weather has a huge effect on if you will be able to catch groupers, so make sure to see the weather forecast and ensure that there is no storm later in the day as the fish will sense it and not come up. Regardless, the effect of summer and winter on your success in catching this fish is here.


It is said that summer is the best time to fish for groupers, and there is a lot of pressure because most anglers are active during this time. As soon as the water starts warmer, make sure to claim your spot because it will be hard to find one.

During summer, when the temperature range is between 70 F and 77 F, the fish will be most active and might move closer to the top of the water. During summer, temperatures seem to get much higher than this in Florida, which is why early mornings are again a good time when the temperature of the top of the ocean is cooler.

When the temperature gets too hot, the fish moves to deeper water, where the temperature is warmer again. Spring is also an okay season to fish for groupers as they might come up when the water gets a little warmer. The fish is active during this season, but they stay mostly in deep waters because the water is too cold for the fish.


Winter is excellent for catching groupers like black grouper and goliath grouper. However, the goliath grouper is illegal to catch, so you can only catch it and release it, which will be a fun experience but killing the fish is unlawful because it is an endangered species. According to grouper enthusiasts, the prime months for catching fish is from November to December.

The fish are very active during this season because they spawn and reproduce. This is why the male fish is forming a harem where a lot of grouper females will give birth, which means there is a lot of activity and the fish is running around. This also means that the fish will venture closer to the shallower region.

However, most charters close from January 1st, and the fish caught during this season must be released. This Florida highly regulates the population of these fishes, and it is vital that they can spawn adequately. During this season, you are more likely to catch the goliath grouper as well, but again you will have to release it as soon as you catch it. At least you will be able to take a picture of the fish if you are quick.

Does Light Affect Activity in Groupers?

Grouper fishes are highly dependent on their sight. The fish looks out for the prey and attacks it, unlike some other fish with barbels or other features that help them hunt for fish. This is why light is essential for groupers, as the fish only goes to the water where it can see its surroundings to catch prey and stay away from predators.

This is why it is harder to find these fish on cloudy days as they stay in deeper water away from danger. Although if they see prey moving, they might come up to catch it, you have to be a professional. Moreover, during cloudy days, try using live bait to tempt the fish to come out of hiding, and you might catch the grouper.

Similarly, it is almost impossible to catch groupers at night. Some people have tried shining artificial light into the ocean to trick them, but this light cannot penetrate the ocean that deep. This is why the fish will not be active and come up when it is dark.


The grouper is much easier to catch at its normal time to eat and comes up to shallower water by itself, but that only happens during specific conditions. Therefore, it is essential to know the particular time of the year and day when it is best to catch the fish.

It is believed that early mornings are best to catch the fish when it is most active and during summer when the temperature is between 70 F and 77 F. Moreover, avoid fishing on cloudy days, at night, and when there is a hurricane or storm because the fish will sense all of this and stay hidden.

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