Gag Grouper: Mycteroperca microlepis
- Brownish gray in color with dark, worm-like side markings
- Fins dark, with anal and caudal having a white margin
- Lack of brassy spots as found on black grouper
- Slightly concave tail
- Noticeable spur located on the preopercle
Adults inhabit rocky bottoms, reefs and drop-off walls in water over 60 feet deep; young occur inshore in waters around seagrass beds, mangrove forests and hard-bottom communities.
Grouper are 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. Grouper spawn between January and May with some of the more tropical species spawning year-round.
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