TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — This week’s ‘Reel Talk’ with Amanda Holly is all about targeting red grouper. Catching red grouper is one of the easier fish to target in the Tampa Bay offshore waters.
They are tasty and put up a big fight to get them to the boat. To keep them, the fish has to be 20 inches long and you can keep two per person.
To pull more of those bigger fish up, I like to go at least about 20 to 30 miles offshore. We look for hard bottoms and rock piles. Although you can anchor, we typically drift over the spots we have found over the years, to cover more ground.
Red grouper are more likely to come out of their homes to chase a fish as well compared to other groupers.
They are also not very picky with their appetite. If they are hungry, they will eat live pinfish, shrimp, as well as pretty much any frozen bait.
As you drift over areas of hard bottom and get a bite, reel immediately to prevent them from going back into the rocks. They are strong fish, even the small ones, so they will put up a good fight all the way up!
If they let go, drop your bait right back down. Red grouper will more than likely go after it again. Also, where there is one red grouper, there are usually more.
We typically will use a conventional rig with a hook tied to a couple of feet of 40-80 pound test leader. Tie the leader to a swivel and a six to eight pound lead weight on top.
My husband and I catch a lot of red grouper, more so than any other fish, we eat a lot of red grouper as well.
My favorite way to cook it is to bake it in the oven at 350 degrees. Ten to 15 minutes, depending on how thick the fillet is. I put salt, pepper, garlic and little butter on top. When it comes out white and the flakes pull apart easily, it is ready to eat! It also freezes well in vacuumed sealed freezer bags.
According to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission, red grouper found offshore is at least 6 years old. They can live to be at least 25 years old and like many grouper, will transition to a male as they get older.