Offshore, Reef, Wreck, Deep Water
24 - 30 pounds
30" - 38"
Snowy grouper, also known as Golden Grouper or Brownie, belongs to ray-finned fish, part of the Serranidae family. Snowy Grouper has a large mouth and wide eyes. The wide tail fin is almost transparent to rusty in tone. The adult body color is coppery dark brown with geometrical white spots. The black margin on the spiny part of the dorsal fin is also a prominent identifying feature.
The average Snowy Grouper is 30 pounds 3 feet, although it can reach 70 pounds and 4 feet.
Snowy Groupers are a deep-sea fish species. Adults are commonly found in water 300-600 feet deep with rocky bottoms. The young prefer shallow water near the coast. They are mainly a saltwater species but can also be found in freshwater or brackish areas.
Snowy Groupers spawn on the outer continental shelf. Females lay 2 million or more eggs during the spawning season from April to July. You will usually find a group of females and one male.
Snowy groupers are highly territorial and can be cannibalistic. And although they will eat any fish up to their own size, they prefer deep water crabs and butterfish.
They capture their prey after ambushing it.
Snowy grouper can live for 17 years.
They grow very quickly; over a foot in a few months.
Mackerel, bonito, squid, and octopus make excellent baits for the Snowy Grouper.
These deep drop fish get very eager to bite and strike but finding them and pulling them to the surface is the hard part. There are a few methods from which to choose:
Deep-dropping to target these fish is a good method. For that, 50-pound electric reels, rig with an 80-pound leader, and braid works well. As some object to electric reels, be aware these are deep-dwelling fish and manual cranking can be long and arm tiring.
Trolling, bait casting, and jigging are also used to catch the Snowy Grouper. If you use chicken rigs for deep dropping, a 30-pound test and 5-pound lead will do the trick. Bonito stripes or whole squid are good options for bait with this.
Because the Snowy Grouper lives very deep in water, fly fishing is not recommended.
Snowy Grouper can be found along the United States' eastern coast from Virginia to the Gulf of Mexico. They are in Bermuda to the Bahamas and into the Caribbean Sea.
A 70 pound 7-ounce snowy grouper holds the all-tackle world record. It was caught by Roger Burnley while fishing Norfolk Canyon, Virginia.
Season - Open from May 1 through August 31.
Bag Limit - A single fish per vessel per day.
Size Limit - None.