Inshore Grouper on Light Tackle

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Grouper love jigs. The only problem is presenting them properly.

Wait a sec – don’t you need a pool-cue rod, 80-pound test, and six ounces of lead to catch grouper!? Heck no. Sure, you’ll have to make some adjustments and take some additional factors into consideration, but when the cards fall in the right direction it’s possible to catch grouper on the light stuff – and it’s a heck of a lot of fun.

grouper fishing

Grouper love jigs. The only problem is presenting them properly.

  • Plan your tactics according to the conditions. While grouper will smash a four- or five-inch plastic jig any day of the week, it can be very challenging to get those little jigs in front of the fish if there’s a ripping current or a fast drift. Going after these fish with the light stuff is best done during calm days and relatively low current periods of the tide.
  • Anglers on boats with Spot-Lock have an advantage; in a moderate current they can cast upstream and bounce the jig along bottom until it passes back beyond the boat. It’s doable at anchor, but you need to be careful to avoid snagging the anchor line and adjusting the boat’s position takes one heck of a lot more effort.
  • Though you may only be using 15- or 20-pound braid, you still need to upsize the leader and 40-pound-test should be considered bare minimum. You need the extra diameter to avoid chaffing on the structure those grouper are hiding around.
  • Use lures that swim on the fall. Paddletails, twisters, and the like are all good choices, but stick with slim profiles that sink quickly. Expect strikes to come as the lure is falling, usually just before it hits bottom.
  • Set your drag too tight, test it until the line breaks, back off a bit, then test it again. You need to find that happy place where you can apply every bit of drag possible without breaking off, because you’ll need to move the fish away from cover asap to keep it from swimming into structure and breaking you off.

Why not just get the pool cue and heavy line, and catch grouper the old-fashioned way? Heck, truth be told, it’s more effective. But to many anglers, it’s also not nearly as much fun.




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