Black Grouper

Saltwater Fishing - Helping you catch that fish of a lifetime

Black Grouper

by Geoffrey English

Black Grouper (Mycteroperca Bonaci)
The Black Grouper (Mycteroperca Bonaci), nicknamed the marbled rockfish, is part of a large group known as the “perciform fish“.  They can change skin color slightly, but most of the time has a rectangular pattern across their bodies consisting of dark grey blotches.  Their fins fade from the dark grey blotches to dark black.  They have anal, dorsal and caudal fins, all of which follow the same color pattern.  The top and bottom of the fish are also darker than the center, fading similarly to the fins.

The Black Grouper, mostly found in the choppy waters of the Atlantic Ocean, have been known to swim as far north as to Massachusetts and as far south as to Brazil.  Most Black Groupers live in between the Gulf of Mexico and the Florida Keys, all the way down to Bahamas in the Caribbean. 

Black Grouper are sought after for their taste and rarity, they are not endangered, so fishing for them is still permissible.  They aren’t extremely abundant, but they aren‘t too hard to find.  They can be found in waters from 6 to 33 meters in depth, and live in these shallow areas because they prefer higher temperatures of the sun-warmed waters.

Use the right equipment, the right bait and get them out of the rocks, and this may be you holding this monster Black Grouper
They are solitary fish, living most of their lives alone. They are prodigious hermaphrodites, meaning that most Black Groupers are born female and later change into a male.  This helps the survival of the species so there is no shortage of either sex.  Reproduction usually happens between May and August in open water.  This is a good time to catch Black Grouper because their numbers are more concentrated in one area.

The adult Black Groupers tend to eat squid and small fish, while the younger members of the species feed on small crustaceans. The young especially favor the taste of shrimp. Their diet is usually specific to the area and what is available at that time.  They don’t feed far from their homes, because they prefer the security of shelter.

Both natural and artificial baits work to catch a Black Grouper.  Once hooked, they need to be reeled in quickly, as they tend to retreat back into the structure in which they hide, trying to cut the line and release them.  They are incredibly skittish and quick responding, so an angler needs to have good reflexes. This is the main reason why landing a Black Grouper is so rare, because catching them requires perfect timing and a good bit of angling experience. The second the line shows signs of a fish, the angler needs to respond quickly, otherwise kissing his hopes of a successful catch goodbye.


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