Fight Rating 7/10
Peak Season: November – June
Gag Groupers are the most popular type of grouper and can be found throughout this area. They are brown in color and hang out around rocks and shallower reefs. When hooked, they make a strong escape attempt and will break you off on the rocks if you aren’t paying attention.
We use fairly heavy tackle for Groupers. You really want to use a rigid line on a reel with just the right amount of drag to keep them from retreating into sharp reefs. You also have to get the location just right. In fact, the shallower the reef is the more difficult it is to get them on the boat. You really don’t want to give them any room at all to pull or they will get away from you.
After your hook is set, pull hard and fast and don’t give up until they are in open water or on the boat. Although they do pull fairly hard at first, they have low stamina, so the fight is short but sweet. That said we like to use heavy tackle with minimal drag to keep them away from getting away. Sometimes you can hook them near the surface by chumming the water, which is much easier because they are further away from the rocks.
Gag Groupers are very delicious and are considered one of the best tasting fish in this area. It is very mild and has hardly any ‘fishy’ flavor. It has a sweet flavor that resembles lobster or crab but has the texture of seabass or halibut. It’s firm and meaty, but also very lean and flaky.