December 9th 2017 – Winter is finally here today with a massive polar express cold front that reached from Havana to Nova Scotia and beat us up a little today. Sure to drop our water temps like a rock tomorrow with our highs being only in the 60s. Thats heavy coat weather to us Key West peeps. Cooler water also means some great grouper fishing to finish off the reef fishing season for grouper in 2017. The Key West fishing report will be a chilly one..
I love to fish the patch reefs for grouper with my charters. Jigging is my favorite because I love the look on my peoples faces when they get hit on the drop and pulled to the gunnel. Its alway a surprise for them the first three times. Trolling for grouper is another one of my past times. Nice lipped plugs like the Rapala X Raps. I find edges that are 19 – 30 ft deep and troll along them. Its amazing to me how far a grouper will leave his house to come smash a bait.
During the cooler weather the grouper will push shallower with the bait and the snappers. Its not uncommon here off of Key West to catch a sizable gag grouper or a big mutton snapper in less than 15 ft of water. The water does not have to be crystal clear but it should not be too banged up so that they can see the presentation. Lots of folks ask me which of these methods are most productive. I shrug my shoulders and say – the one you enjoy doing the most.. If you want some real fun throw the lures from a casting rod and fight that hit from there. Then you are in for a real fight.
I was out yesterday before the front with some folks that wanted some meat in the box. We did really well using jigs and some live bait to make it a little easier. With wind and tide headed same way it was tough to stay on spots but we still did really well. I Spoke to other boats as well and everyone was able to get their people some nice grouper.
We have so many areas we can catch grouper and so many ways to do it to make it more fun either on our 36ft Yellowfin center console or our 24ft Yellowfin bay boats. Its really about the budget and the weather that day. But, all that said, the end of grouper season is January 1st. So, if you going to target them, lets get after it.
Check Out Island Genns Fried Grouper Recipe.
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Here are some of my favorite Tools For Grouper fishing in Key West