Mycteroperca Phenax

Serranidae

Perciformes

Nearshore, Offshore, Reef

-13 - 32 pounds

12" - 42"

Scamp Grouper Game Fish Quality Decent
Scamp Grouper Meal Quality Excellent
Scamp Grouper Fly Fishing Quality Poor

Scamp Grouper

Scamp Grouper
Also Known As: Brow Grouper, Abadejo

Scamp Grouper (Mycteroperca phenax) Fish Description

The scamp grouper (Mycteroperca phenax), also known as brow grouper, abadejo, or broom tail, is a saltwater fish mostly found in the Gulf of Mexico and southern Atlantic waters. It may look a little like its other grouper cousins because of its shape.; but can easily be identified though its elongated rays protruding from its tail fin, its deep tan to chocolate brown color, and the darker reddish to brown blotches that run along the sides of its body.  

Even though this grouper eats anything that it can fit into its mouth, it mainly eats other smaller fish as well as crustaceans and octopus. Spawning season starts in February and usually ends around mid-May, peaking at around early March. And although it usually spends most of its life in the deeper parts of the water, it will head for shallower waters once spawning season starts.  

 

Interesting Facts About Scamp Grouper

  • The largest Scamp Grouper caught weighs 32 pounds and measures 3.5 feet long.
  • They are slow but strong swimmers.
  • They are born female and transform into a male as they grow.
  • They are said to be the best tasting fish in the grouper family.
  • They are sometimes called “The Captain’s Meat” as they’re often served to the captain of boats.
  • Their meat contains large amounts of protein, vitamins, and minerals.
  • They are best for losing weight as the meat is known to have low calories.
  • They can live up to fifty years.

 

Scamp Grouper Average Speed and Size

Though Scamp Groupers are slow swimmers, they are known to be strong. So if you happen to hook one, expect a long and tiring battle with the fish as even experienced anglers have had problems pulling it in. Also, Scamp Groupers are not that big as their relatives as average sizes only measures less than three feet and weighs four to six pounds. 

 

Where to Find Them

Scamp Groupers can be found hiding under structure such as rocks, ledges, wrecks, or reefs where it usually ambushes unknowing victims. They also live near the bottom of the water at around 75 to 300 feet deep; but, as already mentioned, they would be found in shallower waters during spawning seasons.

The scamp grouper is mainly found in the southern Atlantic waters as well in the Gulf of Mexico where it is most abundant and some of the huge ones have been sighted. However, smaller ones have also been sighted in Florida and northward along the East Coast to North Carolina, and as far north as Massachusetts.

 

Scamp Grouper Fishing Tips

Thinking about Scamp Grouper fishing soon? Here are some tips that would help you catch this prized fish: 

  1. Tackle – a six and a half foot to seven foot medium to heavy conventional rod, along with a thirty to forty series reel is good enough to handle a medium to large sized Scamp Grouper. Because most of these fish lives far below the water, casting is not required but you would have to have fishing weights to be able to get your bait to the bottom. If you’re fishing in shallower waters, you may find that lighter spinning tackle allows for a more natural presentation, especially for groupers that’s a little bit skittish in such environment. You may also want to choose the much durable braided line option as you may need it for the aforementioned battle you’re going to have while you try to reel in that tough fish.
  2. Bait – as with other fishing targets, live baits are the best choice. Pin fish, sardines, scads, cigar minnows, spots, croakers, grunts, threadfins are just some of the best options for Scam Grouper fishing.
  3. Location – finding the right location is key to catching this tasty fish. Check out coastal waters, reefs, shoals, jetties, breakwaters, mangroves, docks, piers, and wrecks as these are where Scamp Groupers are typically caught.