|Common: to 25 pounds
Closed Season: None
Size Limit: 22″ pinched tail
Bag Limit: 3 per person grouper aggregrate
Florida Record: 71lbs., 3ozs.
|Brownish gray in color with dark worm-like markings on sides: strong serrated spur at bottom margin of preopercle, less noticeable in large specimens; fins dark, with anal and caudal having white margin. Often confused with black grouper; most noticeable differences are brassy spots on black grouper; tail of gag is slightly concave, black is square; gag has white margin on anal and caudal fins, black does not; under 10 pounds.Game Qualities: Gag grouper will find any piece of structure to hide in and cut you off once hooked with their brute strength. They are also known to wrap your line around underwater rocks.
Fishing Tips: The same baits that work with other grouper species will bring in the gag’s… pinfish, squid, and sardines. Gags can even be found inshore around docks and bridges as they age from juvenile to adult but you’re generally going to have to go offshore to catch any keepers.
Food Value: These fish are very tasty and are sold commercially in almost every restaurant when available.
You’ve Gotta Try Captain Jack’s Grilled Grouper: Rinse chilled fillets and place in marinade dish. Combine melted butter, vinegar, salt, pepper, garlic, and cilantro, in bowl. Brush butter mixtures over both sides of fillets and pour rest in pan and let marinate for 15 minutes. Grill over medium heat only until heated. Turn fillets over and sprinkle parmesan cheese over entire fillets. Grill only a few minutes more. Do Not Over Cook. Fillets should be easy to flake and moist not dry. Meanwhile, prepare the asparagus as directed in the note above. In a sauté pan over medium heat, warm the remaining 1/2 tablespoon (per serving) of butter or oil and brush over the fillets and squeeze on lemon or lime. Serve immediately.