Typically, fishing for grouper in July is purely an offshore event. Due to the more restrictive regulations over the last few years, populations of keeper grouper inside of 10 miles appear to be on the rise however. Fish to thirty inches have been caught in the last few weeks. As these grouper are not really concentrated in these depths at this time of year, patience is the key to landing fish big enough to take home for dinner. Starting out with baits that are oily and create a lot of “small fish activity” is a good approach. Baits such as squid or frozen sardines are perfect examples of this.
Oftentimes, small fish, such as Key West Grunts, are the first to come to the boat but, eventually, if fishing the right area, grouper will follow. Once grouper start to be caught, the action usually picks up for a short while and, in many cases, the fish size progresses from smaller to larger fish during this increase in action…then the bite slows again. It’s time to leave at this point and start the process over at another location. Both gag and red grouper are available in 35 to forty foot depths. These near shore fish will likely be slowly fished out as the summer progresses. Replacements for these fish will start to arrive in September and October when local waters begin to cool. At this point, look for the best near shore grouper action of the year, with limit fishing a realistic expectation within 10 miles of shore.
Captain Stewart Ames
Gone Fishing Charters