Besides catching big tasty fish, there’s one great thing about grouper fishing in the summer – the weather. Sure it is hot, but the summertime weather brings calm seas and a pleasant joy ride out to the deep waters that hold fish during this time.
Always be cautious of developing thunderstorms though, especially when travelling so far offshore. Weather aside though, summer is a great time to catch grouper if you have the means to get out there and burn some fuel in the process.
Where the Fish are in the Summer Months
Summertime grouper are going to be deep. As the season progresses and the water temperatures get hotter and hotter, most (adult) groupers make a migration towards the deeper and much cooler water. Depending on where you live, this migration may take the fish just a few miles out or a few dozen miles out, as the bottom profiles are incredibly different from region to region. In fact, in southeast Florida, 300 to 400 feet deep water is just a few miles away, while just north of there, along the central Florida coast, this distance increases to several dozen miles.
Catching Grouper Offshore
Most of the good-sized fish will be offshore in 100-plus feet of water, making runs offshore quite a hike in some areas (a 50 mile run to a good spot is not uncommon). When fishing offshore, target the deep natural reefs, artificial reefs, ledges, and wrecks within 100 to 300 feet of water for Gag, Red grouper, and many others. When the water’s this deep, obviously drifting is the best way to go, although a drift anchor can work very well when the tide is moving fast. It can keep you over the bottom structure longer, but you're still drifting. Drop a lively pinfish or mullet straight down, and wait for the bait to get nervous. When it does, get ready to hold on, and not let the fish take you under the structure, be it a ledge, reef, or wreck.
An Overview of Catching Grouper in the Summertime
Overall, the only method that works well when the fish are this deep is traditional bottom fishing with natural baits. Drift live pinfish or mullet over deep offshore reefs, wrecks, or ledges for consistent action.