The Mighty Texas Grouper
By MasterCaptain Bill Curry
The classic bottom fish for a lot of anglers is the grouper. Whether strawberry,black,snowy,yellow edge,Warsaw, a good in the ice chest means a good day fishing for most people. In Texas, we get some good size grouper, normally found on or near bottom structure out of Freeport Texas the run isn’t deep or far, Although most larger are found diving or in very deepwater structure,holes and rigs. They prefer to be able to seek shelter and hide, and although their name implies that they stay together, they can also be very solitary fish. The larger ones become quite solitary. will chase a bait occasionally, but their preference is to ambush their prey. Their coloration and ability to change hues and shades to blend in with their surroundings gives them that ambush capability. It is this ambush ability that makes them relatively easy to hook, but difficult to land.
Anglers find that medium-heavy bottom fishing tackle is the best way to approach the grouper.
Grouper feed on other small fish, crustaceans like crabs or crawfish, and squid. They tend to sit back in their cover just under a ledge or backed into a hole in a reef and wait. When an easy opportunity swims buy they rush out, inhale their prey, and quickly return to their lair.
There are basically three approaches used when fishing for straight bottom fishing, free-lining live bait, and very slow trolling. Fishermen in the Gulf of Mexico are quite successful catching grouper. I myself perfer live or cut bait, Although I have been told lots of times my fishing technique’s are very unconventional but, I do catch fish and maybe I am successful because I do offer baits differently. One any one trip I never know what the fish might like so I normally bring 4 or 5 different kinds. Most of the we catch in Texas is warsaw or strawberry both are excellent eating and can get extremely large strawberry normally caught april-May then move alittle further out around 20-30 miles out of freeport texas. I love this area for deep water fishing and the need to not have to run deep. run out, grab a bait, and head back for cover. This habit will cause many lost fish and hung lines.Serious anglers will crank the drag down on their reel as hard as they can, often using a pair of pliers to lock it down. The idea is to stop the from taking line and returning to his structure home. This is where the "easy to hook but hard to land" quote arises.
When a strikes, anglers will lay their rod on the rail of the boat and start winding as hard as they can. The circle hook will handle hooking the fish. The battle now is one of brute strength between angler and fish. More often than not the fish wins!
When a makes it into a rock or reef, many anglers will simply break off the line and try again. The savvy angler will give the fish a loose line for as long as thirty minutes or more to allow the fish to relax and possibly swim out from under the structure. It has worked for many anglers on more than one occasion. The deep-water lurk from 300 to 900 feet down very often you will find BIG out of freeport Texas, and require some extra work to bring up and a very good back. These include the misty, snowy, speckled hind and yellowedge. And the warsaw, previously mentioned. Not many recreational care to drop a bait down that deep in the Gulf unless you use a downrigger or electrical reel I invested in a electric and I swear this will bring up a reef if you hook it especially with the steel leader/cable I have on it.. Bringing these fish to the surface is real work and is without question fatal to the fish every time, so there is no releasing your catch. Find a school of hungry gags in 20 feet of water, and you've got your hands full. It was my great luck to find a school feeding on threadfin herring about three years ago, and these were literally busting the surface like freshwater bass, hammering what must have been the year's first schools of passing baitfish. They pounced on every artificial we threw at them, both jigs and plugs, and mutilated the hooks on several Magnum Rapalas I love these buy the way, when we began trolling around them. On some days they want a live bait, or a smushed, frozen bait. Or some bait you simply don't have.But these uncertainties only makes them more sporty than snapper. And at least they don't have the long, closed seasons that torment red snapper fishermen.
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MasterCaptain Bill CurryLicense 1108123Workingman Charterswww.workingmancharters.com
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