With gag grouper and American red snapper now in season, Capt. Keith Colburn of the Wizard and I headed offshore to catch his first grouper. He is quite an accomplished fisherman, but bottom fishing for gag grouper can leave even the best angler with an empty hook.
Gag grouper live on the ocean bottom with lots of rocky coverage. Once they are hooked, they will head directly back into the rocks to break your line.
When deep water fishing for gag grouper, live pinfish and terminal tackle is a must. I use 100 pounds mainline and leader and at least a 8 aught circle hook. You can use the same tackle for American red snapper, and the best bait is half a diagonal-cut sardine.