Shallow Water Groupers On The Troll

As a fishing guide I try to make things as easy as possible for my clients and switch it up a bit to throw a bit of a surprise to even my most advanced anglers. I try not to get stuck on one thing to long but trolling for groupers in the shallows this year has been lots of fun and the looks on my anglers faces after they hook one is pretty cool.

Key West has been blessed this Christmas season with an outstanding reef bite over the holiday that few have seen in years. The red grouper are not only here in numbers but also in size. Going out to your favorite patch reef in Hawks channel will yield not only nice reds but also Muttons and yellowtails with the occasional black or gag grouper.

To cover some ground trolling a lipped plug with a stout rod that can handle some heat. Working in the 15 – 30 ft range seems to be the trick. The problem does not seem to be when or where as much as what to do with the extras after the limit of nice groupers has been met.

Neat thing is that these fish are not in super deep water so releasing them is a piece of cake. Feelling guilty fishing on after limit is not nessasary as fish caught in less than 50 ft have a huge chance of survival after release.

Along the way for some extra entertainment i also have a jig or spoon ready for some serious spanish and cero mackerel action to entertain all the anglers on the boat. Have these items rigged with a light trace of wire preferably no swivel.

An added bonus is the mutton snappers, yellowtails and mangrove snappers that will take a plug being pulled that is almost as big as they are.. very fun and adds to the color of an already great box of fish.

For more information about trolling for groupers and snapper out of Key West feel free to contact me at I will tell you all about it and maybe we can get out there and crush em before its too late and grouper season in the Atlantic closes.

About Capt. Steven Lamp
Dr Catcher Is - Capt. Steven Lamp - Owner of Dream Catcher Charters is a veteran Key West fishing guide for flats fishing, deep sea fishing, wrecks and reef fishing, and fly fishing. An expert waterman and licensed captain since 1986. A Veteran of the United States Coast Guard Heavy Weather Search and Rescue, I.G.F.A. Certified Captain and Standing regional board member of The Florida Fishing Guides Association