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...
About the Author...


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

from our happy Guests

Took a trip with Capt. Nick. He put us on the fish quick. What a great day. Awesome boat, crew, and gear. Would definitely recommend YachtFish to anyone. Thanks again guys !!!
Brad Stoller Avatar
Unbelievable trips! Family did an offshore and inshore charter during our over 2 days and on both trips we killed lt. The Captain and Mate got us on fish instantly. Offshore hauls were Gag Grouper, Red Snapper, Wahoo and Tuna. Inshore was Snook, Red Fish, Trout and a Flounder. Captain... read more
John Douglas Avatar
We fished with Captain John aboard a 27ft Avenger. The boat was very clean, room enough for five, and the equipment was very good. Captain put us on fish early with a good variety too. We caught mackerel, mangrove snapper and several other species. Even the lady fish were fun... read more
Susan Steed Avatar
Coordination and booking was a breeze for, and our client had an amazing time on their private charters!
Katrina Bowman Avatar
The fishing excursion with YACHTFISH was fantastic and totally worth the cost. Sam and Captain Patrick put in endless hours to get us hooked on fish. It was fun reeling in all the fish that we were able to hook onto. In St. Petersburg, I would never even consider utilizing... read more
Joey Field Avatar
Awesome trip
J Birnbrich Avatar
YACHTFISH Fishing Charters was absolutely amazing! I took my two sons out on a fishing trip and we had the best time ever. Captain Nick and Ethan were awesome and they did such a great job teaching the kids how to fish while still making sure we caught some impressive... read more
Brandi Miller Avatar
The fishing trip with YACHTFISH was seriously epic and totally worth every penny. Captain Patrick and Sam were like machines, working hard to get us hooked onto some big fish. And let me tell you, we caught tons of them! It was an absolute blast reeling in all those fish.... read more
Carmen Rogers Avatar
We had a great time off-shore fishing with Yacht Fish and our captain Nick Diaz. He was very personable and knowledgeable. I appreciated how he worked with each person in our group to get them on the fish. The highlight of the day was when my wife and teenage son... read more
Nicole Toliver Avatar
Looking for the Best fishing charter in St Petersburg look no further Yachtfish Fishing Charters is the best! We caught the biggest shark ever! Can't wait to go back!
Shane Evanson Avatar