Naples Fishing Report: Gag Grouper
Naples Fishing Report, Sunday, February 4, 2018, Florida Fishing Report – Naples: Gag Grouper, Near-Offshore! Latest Algal Bloom & Water Quality / Lake Okeechobee Update and Red Tide Report. We’re mostly focused on Naples fishing the channels, grass flats, passes, oyster bars, mangroves and near shore fishing in Naples, but we also give updates on Naples deep sea fishing.
We’re big advocates of catch and release, particularly for snook, but pretty much for most species. Only take what you are going to eat, and a lot of fish are better off as sport fish, even if they are in season. Our motto is let ‘em get bigger and catch ‘em again!
The Naples-Marco Island area has terrific beaches and beach fishing! The beaches stretch along the Gulf of Mexico for about 10 miles and include Delnor-Wiggins Pass State Park, Clam Pass Beach Park, Naples Municipal Beach & Fishing Pier (Naples Pier), Vanderbilt Beach, North Gulfshore Boulevard Beach, and Lowdermilk Beach Park. Naples beaches are often ranked in the top 5-10 beaches in America!
There are also a number of both small and very large reserves in and nearby Naples-Marco Island. They include Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary, Everglades National Park, Big Cypress National Preserve, Florida Panther National Wildlife Refuge, Ten Thousand Islands National Wildlife Refuge, and Picayune Strand State Forest.
Like much of southwest Florida, Naples has barrier islands which mean great fishing! The breadth of the natural ecosystem near Naples is immense and can’t be fully described in this short post. Marco Island is the most well-known, but Marco Island spills south into the Ten Thousand Islands and unbelievably good fishing!
Other islands include Keywaydin Island, which is the longest unbridged island in southwest Florida and has a lot of natural habitats, and Kice Island and Cape Romano, which are very remote!
Image Credit: © Diane Rome Peebles
“Gag Grouper: Mycteroperca microlepis
- Color brownish-gray with dark worm-like markings on sides
- Bottom of preopercle (cheek) has strong serrated spur
- Fins are dark, with white edges on anal fin and tail
- Dark lines radiate from the eyes
Similar Species: Black grouper, M. bonaci (spur on preopercle is gently rounded, not serrated)
Size: Up to 36 inches (50 pounds); common to 25 pounds
Coastal waters near structure such as rocky bottoms, reefs and drop-off walls in water over 60 feet deep. Juveniles found in estuaries and seagrass beds
Born as females but can later become male. Gag and red grouper are the most widely distributed of the Florida groupers. Goliath and Nassau grouper are protected from harvest in Florida waters. Spawn between January and May with some of the more tropical species spawning year-round.
Feed on fishes and invertebrates.
State Record: 80 lb 6 oz, caught near Destin
Fishing Tips and Facts: Grouper fishing from a boat typically involves baits fished near the bottom, with heavy tackle and heavier to bring grouper to the surface. Live fish or dead cut or whole bait are used. Grouper are very tasty meals.’
Image Credit: © Diane Rome Peebles
“Black Grouper: Mycteroperca bonaci
- Color olive or gray with rectangular black blotches and brassy spots
- Bottom of preopercle (cheek) is gently-rounded
- Second dorsal, anal and caudal fins black on outer third part of fin
- Pale yellow or white margin on pectoral fins
Similar Species: Gag, M. microlepis (spur on preopercle is serrated); and yellowfin grouper, M. venenosa (pectoral fins trimmed in bright yellow)
Size: Up to 48 inches (180 pounds); common to 40 pounds
Coastal waters near structure. Juveniles can be found inshore. Adults are associated with rocky bottoms, reef, and drop off walls in water over 60 feet deep.
Spawn between May and August.
They are protogynous hermaphrodites, meaning that young predominantly female who transform into males as they grow larger.
Larger individuals of this species are generally found in greater depths and they feed on fish and squid.
State Record: 113 lb 6 oz, caught near the Dry Tortugas”