Black, red and gags back on the menu
Grouper diggers, rejoice. It’s time again when anglers in state and federal waters of the Atlantic, including state waters of Monroe County, can box legal size shallow water grouper. May 1 marks the end of the annual, four-month seasonal closure for a list of species, which includes gag, black, red, yellowmouth and yellowfin grouper; scamp; red hind; rock hind; coney; and graysby.
Recreational anglers targeting these species in these waters may not take more than three groupers per person, per day. Within this three-fish limit, anglers may possess only one gag or black grouper (not both). The minimum length for black and gag grouper is 24 inches. For red, scamp, yellowfin and yellowmouth, minimum length is 20 inches. Also on May 1, season for the deepwater snowy grouper opens, with no minimum length limit but a 1-fish per vessel limit for that tightly restricted species.
The season for these species of grouper will remain open until Jan. 1, 2018. These species are closed annually from Jan. 1 through April 30 each year as a measure to ensure the long-term sustainability of Atlantic grouper species. State waters in the Atlantic are from shore to 3 nautical miles out. Many anglers and captains in the Keys and Southeast Florida have remarked that due to the closure, they’ve seen an increase in the size of the grouper they’ve been catching, and at the start of the season, at least, numbers of keeper fish are terrific.
So get your numbers in order and get ready.
Keep in mind that dehooking tools must be aboard commercial and recreational vessels for use as needed to remove hooks from reef fish, including Atlantic grouper.
More information about grouper bag and size limits, gear restrictions and fishing seasons, including a map of the Atlantic and Gulf grouper fishing boundaries, is available online at MyFWC.com/Fishing; select “Saltwater Fishing” then “Recreational Regulations” and “Groupers.”
For more information on Black Grouper click here
For more information on Gag Grouper click here
For more information on Red Grouper click here