Gag Grouper

The gag grouper (Mycteroperca microlepis) is a drab, mottled gray fish lacking the distinguishing features of other groupers. It has a pattern of markings which resemble the box-shaped spots of the black grouper. It lacks the streamer-points on the tail fin that scamp (Mycteroperca phenax) and yellowmouth grouper (M. interstitialis) have and lacks yellow coloration around the mouth.

Ten- to twenty-pound (5 to 10 kg) fish are common. The world record is 80 lb 6 oz (36.45 kg). The gag grouper is a bottomfeeder and is often caught by fishermen seeking bottom-dwelling species such as snappers. It has flaky white meat that is considered quite delicious. 

They are found in areas of hard or consolidated substrate, and use structural features such as ledges, rocks, and coral reefs ( as well as artificial reefs like wrecks and sunken barges) as their habitat.

The distribution of gag grouper extends in the western Atlantic from North Carolina, USA (with juveniles occurring as far north as Massachusetts) to the Yucatan Peninsula, Mexico; it is rare in Bermuda and absent from the Caribbean and Bahamas. Gags are the most common grouper on rocky ledges in the eastern Gulf of Mexico. Juvenile gags reside in estuaries and seagrass beds while adults are usually found offshore on hard substrate in water 60 – 250 feet deep (rarely to 152 m) and occasionally inshore on rocky or grassy bottom. Adults are either solitary or found in groups of 5 to 50 individuals.

Spawning aggregations of gags in the Middle Grounds of the Gulf of Mexico from January through March. Young gags are predominantly female, transforming into males, as they grow larger

Bottom fishing is the most effective method of catching gag. Anglers commonly use depth recorders to locate rocky outcrops and irregular bottom where gags congregate, anchoring when a likely area is located. Wrecks and oil rigs in shallow shelf waters of the Gulf also attract many gags. They are an excellent light-tackle target for those fishing relatively shallow waters.


Species Information

Scientific Name:Mycteroperca microlepis
Environment:Nearshore, Offshore
Ideal Temp:60-82ºF (16-28ºC)
Technique:Bottom Fishing
Lure Type:Bottom Rig, Jigs
World Record:36.46 kg (80 lb 6 oz) Destin, Florida ,USA
Other Names:gag, gag grouper,, charcoal belly,una aguaj, badejo-da-areia, gags

Latest Gag Grouper Fishing Reports and Spots

Dunedin Causeway - 9/20/2021 1:10:38 AM

Good Snook fishing here, especially in the fall. You can catch small Gag Grouper around the rocks.Speckled Trout, Spanish Mackerel, Bluefish, (View)

Labor Day Weekend Gags... - 9/4/2021 1:00:00 AM

Great action for today's morning trip with the Platz team. I fish this great family every year around this time and we've been going strong for (View)

Nice Groupers.... - 8/25/2021 1:00:00 AM

A nice day out of Crystal River with Chuck and Tim and these guys had a fine day. We pulled our bait traps and went to grouper digging. The gag (View)

Quality Gags.... - 8/19/2021 1:00:00 AM

Some quality gags for Mark and Craig and these guys did awesome. We dropped on a couple different ledges and right out of the gate it was on. W (View)

7/17/21 18HR ARS - 7/17/2021 2:08:00 PM

The weather on this trip was awesome it was actually too calm at times. We caught a variety of fish on this trip including grunts vermillions ye (View)

Good Groupers.... - 8/12/2021 1:00:00 AM

A hot grouper bite for the Millennium Metals team from the East coast and they sure did well. The bait traps were loaded today and we had an aw (View)

Birthday Grouper.... - 8/14/2021 1:00:00 AM

A great trip with Sabrina and Eric and this was Eric's birthday present to catch some Crystal River grouper. Well I didn't disappoint him and t (View)

Crystal River Gags.... - 8/10/2021 1:00:00 AM

Well vacation's over and it's back to work time. I'm easing my way back into trips and today Dan Lauren and Big Fish Bob were up first. We had (View)

Crystal River Groupers.... - 8/11/2021 3:49:14 PM

Another hot one but a good one with Terry and Jamie on board. These guys were ready to go and did awesome. We turned four really nice gags for (View)

18HR ARS 7/17/21 - 7/17/2021 10:33:00 AM

The weather on this trip was awesome it was actually too calm at times. We caught a variety of fish on this trip including grunts vermillions ye (View)