Gag Grouper

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 grouper, charcoal belly,una aguaj, badejo-da-areia

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.


Latest Gag Grouper Fishing Reports and Spots

Fishing for Gag Grouper in Crystal River: September - 9/5/2022 1:13:58 PM

Gag grouper are a popular game fish in the Florida panhandle. They can be caught in many places but the Crystal River area is especially well-kn (View)

What’s in Season September 2022 - 4/16/2017 6:39:59 PM

Greater Amberjack Triggerfish Scamp Gag Grouper Red Grouper Amberines Vermilion Snapper King Mackerel Wahoo Spanish Mackerel Almaco Jacks White (View)

What’s in Season August 2022 - 4/16/2017 6:39:59 PM

Triggerfish Red Snapper Scamp Gag Grouper Red Grouper Amberines Vermilion Snapper King Mackerel Wahoo Spanish Mackerel Almaco Jacks White Snapp (View)

TW’s Daily Fishing Report - 7/1/2022 4:56:09 PM

Friday July 1 2022 The fishing and the weather are as good as you could ask for here on the Outer Banks and the forecast for the weekend looks b (View)

What’s in Season July 2022 - 4/16/2017 6:39:59 PM

Red Snapper Scamp Gag Grouper Red Grouper Amberines Vermilion Snapper King Mackerel Wahoo Spanish Mackerel Almaco Jacks White Snapper Black Sna (View)

2022 Gag Grouper Season Open - 6/1/2022 11:22:31 AM

The popular Gag Grouper season is currently open in Federal waters off Destin Florida along side the Red Snapper summer season (which runs thro (View)

Stellar Salty Reports - 6/11/2022 8:07:43 AM

The just-commenced gag grouper season has drawn mixed reactions from offshore anglers. Some of the more successful have said they located fish (View)

June 2022. The 30 fathom American Red Snapper and Grouper Trips have begun! - 6/10/2022 8:02:54 PM

Come join us on a 36 hr trip for Red Snapper Gag Groupers  Red and Scamp Grouper and Amberjack in 30 fathoms. At night for we fish for Mangrove (View)

June Fishing Report - 6/10/2022 12:22:47 PM

June Grouper Bite Homosassa Florida The Gag Grouper is biting this June and what better way to spend your time than out on the shallow water re (View)

Shallow Water Grouper Fishing Kicks Off For 2022 - 6/7/2022 9:00:28 AM

June 1st is the highly anticipated kick-off to grouper season for anglers fishing out of Crystal River Florida. Gag grouper (Mycteroperca microl (View)