The third method for grouper fishing involves trolling, and there are two variations of trolling to use. In the Gulf of Mexico grouper anglers use magnum diving plugs that will go as deep as thirty feet or more. Many areas of Gulf bottom are lined with ledges and rock. Artificial reefs can be found on any good chart from as close in as five miles to as far offshore as fifty miles or more. Anglers slow troll these large artificials over and around this structure. The water in the Gulf of Mexico is comparatively shallow, and this method works well there.
- The second variation is to troll with Monel wire line using a trolling weight and trolling feather. Strip baits are cut and attached to a double hooked trolling feather. A six-foot leader is tied to a one pound trolling weight and that weight is then tied to the wire line.
- Very heavy tackle, including a rod with case hardened roller guides and roller tip is necessary when fishing with wire line. This makes the fishing outfit heavy and cumbersome at best.
- The wire line method is popular in and around south Florida in the winter when big black grouper move into the shallower reefs. Patch reefs rising off the bottom in twenty feet of water will top out about three feet below the surface. Sometimes thirty yards in diameter, they are an ideal habitat for black grouper. Anglers troll around the edges of these reefs waiting for as strike. When one occurs, the boat moves directly away from the reef to drag the fish away from its hole. The first few yards of wire line are often reeled in with the rod still in the rod holder. This is really meat fishing, with little chance for a real fish battle; but, it is different, and it does put fish in the box!
A Cooperative Fish
Grouper are normally very cooperative. If they are on a wreck when you stop to fish, they will usually bite quickly. If you fish a wreck for thirty minutes or more catching only small fish with no big bites, you probably are fishing a wreck without a grouper population. Its time to move!
Not everyone is equipped to fish for grouper on his or her own. In those cases, a local party boat or head boat that provides the bait and tackle is an ideal way to bring some home to eat. Not many fish are as good as grouper either to catch or to eat!