Call your chiropractor and get ready for a spine adjustment because we are going to give you some sweet tips on how to get the box full. There are three main ways to double over your rod on these hard pulling bottom dwellers.
1) Natural bait
Longer leaders such as 4 to 5 feet will get you more bites and bigger fish. And listen, unless you’re trying to be the little drummer boy, patient don’t bounce the lead on the bottom. This will surely keep the keepers out of your box.
Five pound boxes of Spanish Sardines and Cigar Minnows are a great way to get the ball rolling when bottom fishing for grouper. The most common live baits are pinfish, grass grunts, and squirrel fish. Hook size ranges from 4/0 to 10/0 depending on the bait and the brand of hook you choose to use. Leader material ranges from 50lbs to 100lbs depending on the depth and the size of fish that you are targeting.
When looking for new bottom to fish, keep your bottom machine on a 10ft to 15ft scale or zoom depending on the unit, or you could drive over a house on the bottom in 150ft of water without ever knowing it was there! Sometimes, smaller bottom is not fished as often and can prove to hold bigger amounts of fish. A 1 to 3ft ledge can definitely hold legal fish.
2) Butterfly Jigs and Bucktails
Over the last five years, vertical jigs have made their way to many of the top grouper anglers’ arsenals. Shimano has developed one of the most innovative systems to fish vertical jigs. In short, it is a lightweight rod that packs a big punch and has a pile of backbone when paired with a small, narrow, high speed, big drag reel. Braided line is the key component to making this system work. The good old trusty stand by Bucktail jigs can also be fished on these rod and reel combos.
When fishing braid, the leader to braid connection needs to be as strong as possible.
The PR bobbin knot is a 100% knot that is stream line and can pass through the guides with ease. We typically rig 20 to 25ft of 80lb mono or fluoro that is used for stretch, invisibility, and leader.
We can’t leave the inshore guys out. Each year when the water cools down, gag grouper come into shallower water and can be targeted by fishermen in smaller boats when trolling the edges of channels. The most common bait are the Mann’s Stretch 25’s and 30’s.
When fishing this bait, you want to let line out about 75ft and engage the reel causing the plug to dive.
If it does not bump the bottom, let out more line until it does and then reel up a few cranks and hang on. Planers with jigs, spoons, and plugs can also be highly effective. Remember, 25 to 35ft of leader from planer to lure.
4) Rod and Reels
For the Vertical Jigging, we suggest the Shimano Trevala in a 6’6″ medium heavy spinner or conventional rod paired with a Shimano Spinner 8000 series or a Shimano 16 to 20 size conventional reel. For bottom fishing and trolling, we recommend either our Dogfish Stik 15h or our Dogfish Stik #38 paired with a Shimano Tekota 700 or a Daiwa Sealine 400h. Make sure to contact us by phone or email so that we can answer any questions that you may have.