Black Grouper

May 25
Outside the Reef: Wahoo, Sailfish and Grouper are being caught in abundance.
Inside the Reef: Everyone is catching lots of barracuda, yellow tail and grunt.
Flats: Been a good week for bonefish

Iíve seen Black Grouper caught in the 80-pound range in Belize. No fish is as tasty grilled, and I canít think of a single fish that is more satisfying to land either.
This is my specialty. Black Grouper are big. Black Grouper fight. Black Grouper taste great. They are opportunistic feeders that hunt by ambush, in and around reefs. 30 to 40 pounders are commonly caught in locally in 40 to 180 feet of water. Iíve seen Black Grouper caught in the 80-pound range in Belize. The world record is 114 pounds.

I usually start out by releasing about 30 live sardines and chum with Ĺ inch chunks of ladyfish or mullet. You know youíre in a good spot when you start catching Yellowtail. Where you catch big Yellowtail you can count on big Black Grouper lurking below. Live large mullets or ladyfish are my favorite baits when I am targeting this species. Black Grouper are aggressive; they attack and fight with pure muscle making a succession of short high torque runs. Iíve caught four and five of these monsters in a day just by being patient. Sounds easy so farÖwhatís not easy is wrestling a 60 pound black grouper to the surface. Black Grouper, when they take bait, dart for the first obstruction they can find, often before you have a chance to set the hook. This usually results in a broken leader. So when you feel that first tug, you jerk that rod as hard as you can, and start horsing in line as fast as you can, because if you donít get that fish off the bottom right away, he is going to run under a ledge and break your line. Get his head pointed to the surface and you might have half a chance of having grouper on your barbeque grill. If his head goes down right away then forget it, I guess you eat out. But you wonít see me at a restaurant if Iíve been fishing because I ALWAYS set my hook and I ALWAYS land my fish.

Black Grouper will tear up tackle faster than anything. When you fish these guys you need big hooks: #7ís, a big line, 80 pound test is not too heavy, and heavyduty rods and reels. Iíve broken enough ugly sticks to build a Palapa trying to mule these monsters up from the deep. No fish is as tasty grilled in one of my famous tour guide barbeques than a Black grouper. I canít think of a single fish that is more satisfying to land either. Just writing this article has gotton me excited. I predict that I and sideman ďCarne DulceĒ will be filling my fish coolers all week long with Black Grouper at Rocky Point. Captain Dilzon Murcia is the project manager for Island Ferry and owner operator of Dilzon Charters, a sport fishing charter business. To catch the fish featured this week, and other large fish, call Dilzon at 620-6118 or drop by the Island Ferry office and schedule your next fishing adventure.

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