Gag Grouper Move In As Water Temperatures Drop

Gag Grouper in St Pete Beach

Table of Contents

As winter approaches and temperatures drop, massive migrations of Gag Grouper are heading for the warmer protection around St. Pete Beach. We are already seeing groups of them on our fishing charters as we post this. Gag Grouper are great fun to catch and easier than you think. Here are some pro tips:

Catching Gag Grouper in Florida

As the gulf’s water temperatures dip, Gag Grouper are desperate to head towards the coast and up onto the flats. Here they can find survivable temperatures and get ready to spawn. In the Gulf of Mexico, spawning happens from around January to March.

How Big Can You Catch?

Grouper are large fish, with catches usually weighing around 2lbs to 12lbs (though there are bigger ones out there!). The world record Gag Grouper catch is currently at 80 pounds, caught in 1993.

Fishing for Gag Grouper in shallow waters can be great in the fall when tides are weak and redfishing is tougher. Florida’s Gulf of Mexico laws allow 2 Gag Grouper per person which can be a four grouper aggregate.

Where to Catch Gag Grouper in St. Pete Beach?

While out on the water this November, we’ve already seen them showing within a few miles of the shoreline along with other fish such as Spanish Mackerel, Kingfish, Speckled Trout and Spinner Sharks.

They’re usually headed for shelter, so we search around structures near St. Pete Beach. Here we find decent size Gag Grouper, fast. They can also be seen around rocky ledges and patch reefs.

Another old trick can be searching for stone crab traps. If you see some crabbers’ traps, you can be sure some Gag Grouper are probably swimming nearby.

How to Catch Gag Grouper in St. Pete Beach?

Get Ready for the Fight!

Gags are a blast! They’re very aggressive and will fight you hard. Once hooked, they’re desperate to swim away and hide (or pull you in!).

Heavy gear is a must to avoid the Gags taking your line. Gags like to run into a hole to avoid being caught. Once in the hole, they will flex their gills which makes it very difficult to get them out. To fight that, you need to keep the drag tight and cranked all the way down. That way, it’s near impossible for the line to be pulled off the spool.

Lift Fast!

Keep your bait low, then reel up a crank or two so your bait is swimming just off the structure. Keep your rod low. When the Gag strikes, you can lift it fast! Turn away from the rocks, lift and reel down.

Carefully reel in the slack until your rod is low and tight to the fish. Then it’s all about using a quick, upwards stroke. We’ve learned some other tricks over the years that work too, especially when tackling a Gag that has headed to the rocks.

Gag Grouper Fishing Temperatures

Gag Grouper love water temperatures of between 66-78° F. In St Pt Beach, the winter water temperatures are around:

  • November – 74.8° F
  • December – 68.5 ° F
  • January – 66° F

Book a Gag Grouper Fishing Charter in St. Pete Beach

At YACHTFISH Fishing Charters, we know all the hotspots for catching Gag Grouper in St. Pete Beach and would love to help you get your hands on one. This fall is prime time for catching big Gag Grouper near the shore. They guarantee a great fight! Book your St Pete Beach fishing charter with YACHTFISH today!

Sharing is Caring...
Facebook
Twitter
Print
Pinterest
About the Author...
scott

scott

Related Posts...
Your St. Petersburg Fishing Charter Captain

GOOGLE REVIEWS
from our happy Guests

Had an awesome time! Highly recommend these guys, nick was the best captain we could have! He was on it from beginning to end, really made the Father’s Day special for us. Thank you guys
Kyle White Avatar
My 12 year old son and I booked our charter the night before and we had the BEST day. We were on the fish right away and the boat ride was so fun. Scott and Austin were unbelievable, and got my quiet son chatting and smiling from ear to ear... read more
Rachel Dunlap Avatar
Incredible fishing trip - Sam and Maverick got us on fish fast and kept us catching the whole day. They were always trying new things to catch different types of fish and were super helpful and informative. Made our experience great!! Will definitely use Yacht Fish again!
Zach Schopp Avatar
What a great trip this was. I have been on a lot of charters all over the country and out of the country and Sam and Patrick are two of the best captains I’ve ever had. I will definitely be coming back to fish with these guys in the future.... read more
Josh Osich Avatar
Great day on the water with Yachtfish. Captain Pat and Mate Hunter were very knowledgeable and friendly. They went out of their way to make it a great experience for everyone from the kids to the grandparents. Lots of action all day and a full fish box, can’t ask for more.
George Blanco Avatar
We booked on Saturday for Monday so I appreciate them fitting us in. We went with Captain Scott and it was amazing!!! He’s extremely professional and customer oriented. He was super patient with my partner who’s never fished before and made sure he had a great time. My balance is... read more
Kimberly Patterson Avatar
We booked a four-hour out of St. Pete Marina. One of our best trips ever. Capt. Scott was very knowledgeable and took us to several great spots. Caught fish, had fun, great value, what more could you ask? We will be back.
Mark Hansel Avatar
I had a wonderful experience with Captain Johnny and Cooper! They were polite, kind, professional, and experts. Don’t let their age full you, they are extremely skilled! I enjoyed my experience, and highly recommend them! Planning my trip for next month with them!
Marius Nan Avatar
Captain Johnny and Scott were great!! I knew going in the tides were not in favor of fishing, but they both busted their tails to put us on fish and bring home a meal. Will be rebooking with them for sure!
Dylan Lefebvre Avatar
Highly recommend Captain Scott!!
Go Lightning! Avatar