The fishing gear for grouper
Each type of fishing has its own characteristics.
Grouper fishing involves putting the bait near the ocean floor to
get it in front of the fish. Grouper are ambush predators so they
will come out from a hole or behind a rock, snatch the bait and
run back to cover.
The challenge of grouper fishing is....
to keep the fish out of the rocks!
This dictates the type of hardware (tackle) needed for success.
Let's go over each item and look at some examples.
A good basic rod can cost in the $60 to $80 range. One example of a basic rod is the Ugly StickBWB116066. This is a widely available, durable rod at a reasonable price.
My favorite rod is the Star PGJ59XH Stellar Lite Jigging Rod.
This rod is extremely light, very sensitive (to better feel bites) and only 5'9" for easy storage.
However, this rod will set you back $180+. It took me a while to work up to buying the first one.
The things to look for when shopping for a rod are:
If you have a chance to go to a local tackle shop or a super store (Bass Pro) there will be plenty of rods to check out and knowledgeable sales people to help you choose.
A reel is something you may want to spend a little more money on. They are more subject to the corrosive effects of salt water. Paying a little more could make the difference between a 6 month throw-away and a multi-year prized fishing companion.
Penn has been making very dependable reels for a long time. The pricing is reasonable, parts are readily available and they can be serviced at most fishing stores.
A good choice is the 330GTi. At slightly more than $100 it is a good value.
My favorite reel is the Daiwa STTLW40HA. The reel is very smooth, has a beefy drag and is well constructed. It is a level-wind reel which means you don't have to even the line out on the spool as you reel in. It also has a higher gear ratio for getting line in from the deep faster. Shimano makes a similar reel (TEK600).
You pay about $170-$200 for this level of quality (click arrow to start video)
Grouper are typically found in deeper water in our region. You will routinely be fishing in 80-120' depths. As mentioned above, grouper will head for structure (rocks, holes, reefs, etc,) after taking the bait. Because of this, the fishing line you will need must have two main features: high breaking strength and low stretch.
The reason for high breaking strength is that you will be using a fully tightened drag. It's you or the fish and you want to be able to stop the fish from moving to cover.
The reason for using low stretch line is two fold: you want to be able to feel the fish as soon as it takes the bait and you don't want to overcome line stretch while trying to prevent the fish from heading for cover. Monofilament has a line stretch of about 25%. Imagine fishing at 100' and having a grouper take another 25' from stretch before you can bring it to a stand still!
I am making the case for using braided line. It has almost no stretch and is a fraction of the diameter of monofilament at the same breaking strength. This combination of features allows you to spool up with a much higher breaking strength line and still get a few hundred yards before filling up.
You will be amazed at the sensitivity of braid. You will be able to feel every bump of the bait and soon get the ability to know exactly when you get a bite.
Braided line technology is constantly evolving. Power Pro is one of the originals and still not a bad choice. You can't go wrong with most brands. I suggest a breaking strength of 50 - 80 lbs unless you are going for moby dick. Spools of 150 to 300 yards are plenty.
One drawback of the strength of braid it the difficulty of breaking it if you hook the bottom! I bent a hook once before pulling it free. The other thing to watch out for is braid's ability to cut. NEVER wrap braid around your hand or finger unless you have an extra.
We're at the end of the line and that means leader. An abrasion resistant line is needed near the hook to prevent chafing or other abrasive actions from fraying the fishing line.
Braid is very strong but also very sensitive to abrasion. For this reason a heaver monofilament line is attached to the end of the braided line. There is not much difference between leader materials with the possible exception of fluorocarbon.
Fluorocarbon has an index of refraction very close to water so it becomes almost invisible. It is debatable whether this is needed for most grouper fishing but the little advantage it brings won't hurt.
For grouper fishing I recommend using 80-150 lb test monofilament or fluorocarbon leaders.
NEXT: RIGGING UP