Gag Grouper (Mycteroperca microlepis) is a highly prized catch in the Florida Keys. They are most common in the Gulf of Mexico. However, they are not uncommon in shallow water grass bottom right out to 200 plus feet of water where they may be found frequenting ledges, reefs, and wrecks. Gags, as they are referred to, are one of the most regulated species of grouper in local waters. Far too regulated to go into in this limited space.
They range in size up to 60 or more pounds where they are referred “Copper Bellies”, a misnomer as the bellies of the larger fish is actually more of a black. The Gag is an aggressive striker and a vicious fighter. They take artificial’s readily and will head for structure at the first sign of trouble. If you are fishing with a jig and the fish comes off, free spool your line for a count to 5 seconds and then strike again. You will almost always have another strike on the drop.
The Gag Grouper is one of the best eating of the grouper family. Recipes for cooking Gag Grouper as well as other types of fish can be found on our Weekly Recipes page.
Gag Grouper Photo Gallery
Gag Grouper Fishing Locations
The Dry Tortugas is the last, great vestige of sportfishing in the northern hemisphere. This remote group of islands are surrounded by more than ten thousand square miles of fishing resources that have remained relatively untapped due to the time that it would take to cover this vast and remote area.
Gulf of Mexico
The Gulf of Mexico, for our purposes, begins at the North side of the flats, along the lower Florida Keys and includes a portion of the Florida Bay, continuing to the West and North of the Dry Tortugas, encompassing more than 5000 square miles of fishable water within range of our hi-tech, offshore boats.
Key West offers the sportfishing enthusiast the largest variety of gamefish in the world. Other locations will argue that they are the sportfishing capital of the world, or the best for this species or that particular fish. There are more “I.G.F.A. World Records” from the waters of Key West than the next closest, several locations combined.
Marquesas is a magical word that conjures thoughts of tropical breezes, emerald green water surrounding a tropical island paradise. A ring of islands surrounded by acres and acres of pristine water and shallow flats where giant Tarpon, Permit, Bonefish, Mutton Snappers, great Barracudas and monster Sharks of all kinds prowl the flats.