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, charcoal belly, gag grouper,cuna aguaj&, , bad&, #232, che baillou, badejo-da-areia, gags

Latest Gag Grouper Fishing Reports and Spots

Bad Weather moving in! - 3/24/2014 7:05:06 AM

With the weather deteriorating all day only one boat made it out and they came home early and empty handed. The week ahead looks cold and windy (View)

PORT STEPHENS UPDATE - 10/12/2012 11:12:30 PM

The fish are still biting here in Port Stephens.   Out today for 3 days with George Glenn and Paul Campbell from Cairns with the weather due to (View)

The Bite is on! - 8/18/2012 8:29:28 PM

Congratulation to all the winners fishing the 29th Annual Pirate's Cove Billfish Tournament! 392 billfish were caught this year. The sailfish b (View)

Crystal River Groupers and Snook... - 4/16/2021 1:00:00 AM

A super fun day with Mishel and Earl and we did something a bit different. We did some trolling and checked on the grouper population for the s (View)

Not much to say.. - 12/10/2017 9:46:21 PM

Not much to say about the fishing y'all.. the weather has been less than desirable keeping us to the docks. However there have been reports of (View)

Sunny day = Fishing.... - 11/2/2017 7:01:06 PM

  The rain and wind cleared up and finally gave us a sunny day to fish in.Three boats left the docks today Our Offshore  boat had good day with (View)

SS Yamba - 4/16/2017 4:06:38 PM

The Yamba was a 104-ton  iron-hulled, steam-powered tug built by Altas Engineering in 1920 for J. Fenwick and Co. an old Balmain-based tugb (View)

San Francisco Fishing report 07/07/16 - 7/7/2016 10:01:23 AM

Hey Fishermen Fishing is going good. The sharks are biting and all you need is a half day. The halibut and bass require a little more work. The (View)

FISHING THROUGH FEB 15th.... - 2/17/2016 12:35:56 AM

AND THEN THE WIND STARTED...... Phil Horner with a beaut rooster. The Shaffer group came in Feb 8th to fish 9th through the 11th. The wind had (View)

FISHING THROUGH FEBRUARY 4th - 2/2/2015 9:56:09 AM

SHINKLE/LONSDALE GROUP 48 RELEASES Sumner Charles Brian Shinkle with Tim and Terrance Lonsdale January 22-23-24-25 it was great to welcome back (View)