Bahamas Gag Grouper
The popular Grouper is named for the word “garoupa”, meaning fish in Portuguese. There are over 450 species of Groupers, including those commonly found in the Bahamas, the Black, Nassau, Tiger and Strawberry varieties. This fish of the Serranidae family, has a stout body and long mouth. They come in a wide array of colors, from gray, to tawny, to red, depending on the species. Groupers can also have a variety of patterns, stripes, spots, and bars. The size of a grouper is linked to its species. While Nassau Groupers are commonly between one and ten pounds, maxing out at around fifty pounds, Black Groupers generally exceed fifty pounds. Goliaths can tip the scales at 800 pounds! All groupers are born female and some will change to male when they reach breeding age. Groupers tend to gather in large masses at night to spawn during mating season.
Gag Groupers are native to the Western Atlantic Ocean and can be found near Bermuda, Florida, and the Bahamas. They are bottom dwellers, occupying holes and ledges near coral reefs and wreckage sites. With their large, powerful mouth, some species can dig in the sand a to build a shelter for itself under large rocks. When threatened, the fish can extend its gill muscles, locking its body in a cave. Preferring shallow waters, these fish can be found as close as ten to fifteen miles offshore in waters twenty to 120 feet deep.
These solitary hunters of the Bahamas, ambush their prey during daylight hours. Gag Groupers use a powerful sucking system made with their mouth and gills to inhale their meal. Prey of choice for this fish include other fish, octopuses, and crustaceans, like crabs, lobsters, and shrimp. Using their tails, groupers can pound on the sand, digging out their prey. Its color and patterns allow it to hide from its prey until the target swims by for the attack.
Since large sized groupers can be fished successfully in the Bahamas, they make an excellent choice for the sport or vacationing fisherman. These fish can be easily tempted with live bait in shallow waters. Although harvest fishing of groupers is banned during spawning season, offshore fishing for groupers can be accomplished with heavy tackle, jigs, and slow-trolled lures. The battle with a large specimen can be rather exhausting, yet satisfying when the catch is finally made. Another option when fishing for grouper is light tackle fishing Bahamas. Without the need for harnesses or fighting chairs, light tackle fishing can be for anyone, even the novice fisherman. Aimed at catching these fish in its shallow, reef environment, light tackle fishing Bahamas marries the proper tackle with the fish you are after. The bait size, rod, reel, and line are all selected for the particular target fish and size. This method increases your likelihood of a successful catch. Being able to cast and reel in a trophy fish with your own hands is a very rewarding benefit of light tackle fishing.