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Getting grouper off of structure.

Old 07-24-2020, 02:48 PM
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Default Getting grouper off of structure.

the last four days we have been having issues getting grouper out of the reefs.

After hook up we mange to get them up about 10 feet, then right into structure.

We are using heavy gear, and just cannot manage..

60 pound leader and 50 pound braid.

We have been yanking the cobia up fine, but the groupers have been kicking our ass.


We can get the 20-24 inchers up, but these other fish are either huge or incredibly smart...

Any pointers would be greatly appreciated


Thanks

~Michael
Old 07-24-2020, 03:29 PM
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We've had them get "rocked up", where you just could get them to budge. A pro told me that the grouper presses his nose against a rock and keeps swimming. You can't pull him away.

Best thing to do at that point is let your line go slack and hopes he swims away from the structure. Then you tighten up and lay the pressure on him. I've seen it work a bunch of times, but sometimes you're going to break them off regardless.
Old 07-24-2020, 03:34 PM
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Having a really stiff rod will help. When your rod flexes down several feet even if you have heavy drag groupers can rock you up.
Old 07-24-2020, 04:00 PM
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Twanging the line by strumming like a guitar sometimes helps. I think you are mighty light on your tackle. I would use at least 80 pound braid and 100 pound flourocarbon leader.
Only other suggestion is trying to lure them away from the structure before they bite.

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Old 07-24-2020, 04:18 PM
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Your tackle has to be stout enough and you have to be not afraid to use it to the max until 20ft of line is back on the reel. Then you can ease up some on the pressure so as not to pull too many hooks.

Is your tackle heavy enough? Easiest way I know to explain it is like this:
Stand in the boat in your yard on trailer.........tie one gallon water jug (weighs just over 8lbs) to line and lower to ground by hand.
If you can take rod and lift jug off the ground without it pulling the drag out and going right back down, you are using heavy enough tackle.

Note that just measuring at least 8lb of drag off the reel with a scale is not what I'm talking about.
If it won't dead lift 8lbs without feeling like it's going to explode.......most gags over 20lbs and some under are going to work you around ledges all day long.

Of course lighter tackle takes fish jigging, drifting, etc. I'm talking bait fishing on bottom right on top of the hangs from a dead boat.
Old 07-25-2020, 03:31 AM
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When you get rocked, go into freespool. They will eventually swim out. Might take a little while, but it works.
Old 07-25-2020, 03:39 AM
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I have used the free spool method a couple times even to the point I will free spool stick it in the rod holder and start fishing another rod and let the grouper relax and think he is good and he will turn and then you can winch him up and out. But sometimes you just break off have lost some nice fish.

The Rod set up is key as well, so when they hit like I explained to my wife who loves fishing reel your ass off and drag his ass away from the structure then you can get him up at normal pace but still be quick about it or the Tax collector might take half of him lol.

Believe me it is frustrating when you know you got a big one on and he gets rocked up.
Old 07-25-2020, 04:12 AM
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If you don't get him coming up in the first few seconds you're probably not going to. They rock up that quick. Rarely I've had them swim free off whatever they're rocked up on. I'll drop a live bait down to about 6-8' off the bottom on a 9/0 circle hook fished off a broomstick with a 4/0 locked down in a rod holder. With 135 lb braid and a 8' 80 lb leader. When the rod bends just crank. Works well for me.
Old 07-25-2020, 05:08 AM
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Simple answer, your tackle is way to light. 120lb leader and 100lb braid.
Old 07-25-2020, 05:10 AM
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2 cents worth here .... keep rod tip at water level and if you have a good reel w a high retrieve , you’re better off cranking than trying to snatch him off the bottom. You can get upwards of 80” on a couple cranks vs 3 ft from a hard pull upwards
Old 07-25-2020, 05:31 AM
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Originally Posted by llord View Post
Simple answer, your tackle is way to light. 120lb leader and 100lb braid.
Think I read that somewhere else in this thread....
I also think the mandate of circle hooks contributes. Not being able to strike as fast because you have to give a little extra time for the circle hook to work. That is why getting away from the structure (suspended) helps too. By the time the fish gets back to its lair, the rod is loaded and the hook is set.
Old 07-25-2020, 05:40 AM
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Originally Posted by Bandit125 View Post

We are using heavy gear, and just cannot manage..

60 pound leader and 50 pound braid.


Thanks

~Michael
Maybe for mangroves
Old 07-25-2020, 06:29 AM
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My 2c. Its an unfair fight, all over in the first 5 seconds - problem is, the grouper has a 3 second lead.
Old 07-25-2020, 08:40 AM
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PM those number that your having this problem and I’ll see if I can’t maybe fix it!!!! 😁
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bigjohnnc, jcfishhouse, Lemonbayboating, Lunchmoney, Scubacouple2, SEARAT36, ZWilsey and 2 others liked this post. (Show less...)
Old 07-25-2020, 11:27 AM
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I use 65lb braid on a saltiga 35. 80-100lb flouro from the Carolina rig to the circle hook snelled. Drop it in low gear, drag locked down, rod tip as low as you can, reel down on him and lift until he’s off the bottom. So far 15-25lb gags haven’t been able to rock me up. The bycatch of 30-50lb jacks though usually mean it’s time to move out and to a new spot. Hard to get passed those guys.
Old 07-25-2020, 12:59 PM
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I have caught many groupers and seen many caught by some grouper specialist.. I use to use 130 leader. Got broke off many times on ledges and wrecks.
I know how to get them off the bottom fast. But if they hit you right they can chaffe you off in a heartbeat. I now use 200 plus flurocarbon. Works so much better. If they break that off then I just say good for them.

Never heard of leaving the line slack that much or free spooling.

Generally if they get hung in the rock. Just let a touch a slack out. Enough with a little tension. The grouper sometimes will swim out with just that touch of slack. But he can't swim any deeper. You can feel him shake his head and start moving. Then try getting him out. Worked many times for me on the Headboat.

Got my buddies 35 pound gag out that way.
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Old 07-26-2020, 03:37 AM
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As others have said, your gear is much too light. Lock down your drag and have 130# leader with 4x hooks. Below is what I use
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Old 07-26-2020, 04:25 AM
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Chum Bucket nice set up run similar do you have a lot of issues with the 2ft leader with the hook tangling on the main leader line?
Old 07-26-2020, 07:45 AM
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Thanks for the advice guys.
I am more used to fishing for grouper where there is not tons of bottom relief.

We fished four days this past week.. Caught cobia, African pompano, huge Cuda, big ass porgies and grunts. Managed to get one short grouper on the boat. I myself lost 6 big grouper. I would get them 10 to 20 feet up and then they would rock me. So frustrating, as I know some of the fish were over 30 pounds, based off of grouper I have landed in Florida.

Also hooked a wahoo, while anchored, on a 3000 sustain while pulling up a bottom jig, that did not last long, lol...

I guess it is time to upgrade some line.......


Also caught a 7 foot bull shark, got some cool video of that guy.
Old 07-26-2020, 07:51 AM
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where are you fishing to get hung up 10 to 20 feet up? usually if you get 3 or 4 cranks on them you good to go. Good stiff rod and keep it up until they off the bottom.

Last edited by captain28570; 07-26-2020 at 08:00 AM.

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